Prosciutto and melon, or prosciutto e melone, is a classic Italian combination of sweet and salty. This beautiful melon ball salad with bits of prociutto and basil was inspired by our travels in Bologna and makes a fantastic appetizer. 

A melon and prosciutto salad made with canteloupe balls and fresh basil.

Prosciutto and melon are most commonly served simply with slices of cantaloupe draped with thinly sliced salty prosciutto. For a party, I love to serve it as a salad.

One of my favorite meals I have ever had was in  Bologna, Italy. It wasn’t in one of the fancy restaurants we dined in, it was just a few things thrown together for a picnic. While my hubby (actually we were not married yet) was in conferences, I spent three days wandering the town with my guide book, determined to hit all the best shops, gelatrie and cafes in town.

After a solo glass of Prosecco in Piazza Maggiore, I stopped into Tamburini, the best trattoria/deli in Bologna. I picked up some paper thin prosciutto,  pasta salad and some just-baked crusty bread. On my way back to our hotel I stopped at a fruit stand a bought a cantaloupe that had been picked that day. It was heavy, warm from sun, and more fragrant than any melon I had ever held. Back at the hotel for lunch, we cut the melon into wedges and couldn’t believe how sweet and wonderful it was with the salty prosciutto.

This salad is proof that the best “recipes” are ones using few and simple ingredients that are at their peak. I was never a big melon fan. Or I thought I wasn’t. The truth was that I had never had a really good melon before. 

How to Make Prosciutto & Melon

Cantaloupe is halved and seeds scooped out to make melon and prosciutto salad.

Get yourself a good Tuscan cantaloupe, preferably in the summertime. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. To serve traditionally, cut into wedges, arrange on a platter and drape slices of prosciutto over them. 

How to Make Prosciutto and Melon Salad

Beautiful melon and prosciutto recipe with basil.

I used a melon baller this time, but don’t think I would in the future. A rustic chop is more my style. To make a vegetarian version, substitute fresh mini mozzarella balls. Either way, this is the perfect summer salad. Choose the heaviest and most fragrant cantaloupe you can find. I like Tuscan cantaloupes.

Another delicious option is to skip the cantaloupe boat and toss 5 oz. of arugula with a little olive oil and balsamic, then top with the melon balls, prosciutto, and basil. 

More Authentic Italian Recipes we Learned to Make in Italy

Yield: Serves 4

Melon and Prosciutto Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Prosciutto and melon, or prosciutto e melone, is a classic Italian combination of sweet and salty. It's usually made simply by draping slices of salty prosciutto over slices of cantaloupe, but in this fun update, we've turned it into a salad.

Melon and Prosciutto Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cantaloupe, balled or cubed, rind reserved
  • 1 handful fresh basil, torn or sliced
  • 1 oz prosciutto, sliced
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients together and place in serving dish or in one of the reserved cantaloupe rinds.

Notes

Another delicious option is to skip the cantaloupe boat and toss 5 oz. of arugula with a little olive oil and balsamic, then top with the melon balls, prosciutto, and basil.ย 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 213mg Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 11g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.