A refreshing combination of melon and shrimp with a light creamy dressing.

easy melon summer salad with shrimp

This is a perfect summer salad for a warm night, a fork in one hand and a huge glass of chardonnay in the other. The melon is sweet and the shrimp savory. The cucumber has just the right crispy bite too. My wife and I had lunch at a local place recently, Ellie’s here in Long Beach and she ordered a version of this salad which had fresh mint and a slightly different dressing and it was really good, so good I had to try and recreate a similar version!

Check out these tips for making a really great summer salad.

What kind shrimp should I use?

I’m a fan of huge shrimp usually but this dish really only needs small peeled shrimp. You could use already cooked shrimp but I always feel that once defrosted they taste chewy. By cooking your own they’re much juicer and fresher, because you cooked them! Just season them with a little salt and black pepper and quickly sauté before cooling and adding to the salad.

Does it matter what melon I use for this summer salad?

I’d definitely say it does. A perfectly ripe cantaloupe tastes sweet and that’s what we need to balance the buttermilk dressing and savory flavors from the shrimp. Watermelon would turn to mush and honeydew doesn’t get as sweet as cantaloupe in my opinion.

How do I tell if my melon is ripe?

Your melon should smell sweet and aromatic, not musty. Also it’s best to check the side that wasn’t connected to the stem when growing and if it feels soft when pushed with your thumb at the center point then it’s probably ripe.

shrimp, melon, cucumber and tarragon in a bowl

How far ahead can I make this easy summer salad?

You can have all the ingredients (there’s only four of them) ready and prepped but don’t add the dressing until right before you plan to serve it. I’d also recommend only using the salad the same day as it doesn’t keep well until the next day.

Is this summer salad best served as an appetizer?

It could be a main course but I’d probably add some extra greens to bulk it up a bit, this would make an amazing green salad.

Should my salad be served at room temperature or chilled?

I recommend serving the summer salad chilled.

cantaloupe summer salad on a plate
shrimp and melon summer salad in a bowl

Check out some of my other favorite salads that I think you’ll love!

Cantaloupe and Shrimp Summer Salad

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: foodnessgracious
A refreshing and delicious summer salad made with fresh cantaloupe, shrimp, cucumber, tarragon and dressed in a light buttermilk sauce.
Print Recipe


  • 1/2 of a cantaloupe melon, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1 pound small shrimp, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and black pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds


  • Place the diced melon into a large bowl.
  • In a non stick pan heat the olive oil until hot and add the shrimp with the salt and pepper. Sauté until fully cooked and let cool.
  • Slice the cucumber in half length ways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
  • Slice the cucumber into half moon shapes and add to the melon.
  • Once the shrimp are cool add them to the melon along with the chopped tarragon.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, vinegar and poppy seeds.
  • Mix all of the ingredients in the melon bowl together and add some of the dressing just before you plan on serving the salad. Add more dressing if desired.
  • Garnish with some sprigs of fresh tarragon and a pinch more black pepper.