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A summer side dish to share

By Sheridan Lane, director, culinary program and operations, Lincoln Land Community College

Summer is the time to soak up the sunshine, the smell of fresh cut grass or my preferred summer scent, corn pollen. It is also baseball, boating, backyard barbeques or pool parties, and, of course, fresh produce from your favorite stand or market. I am fortunate enough to have Hodgson’s Produce in Kilbourne as our local place to pick up seasonal specialties, and the cantaloupe that I enjoyed last week was extra tasty. With all of the summer fun to have, I like recipes that are easy to make and that don’t require tons of last-minute time on task. For me, an added bonus on hot summer days with events away from home are recipes that also don’t require lots of refrigeration. This simple recipe uses a few moments of advanced preparation, then packing the parts separately, and then finally can be thrown together at the last minute. It is a flavorful combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and packs a citrus punch. If you are not a fan of cantaloupe, this recipe works well with honeydew as well. This dish is great as an appetizer or would also be great tossed with fresh greens and/or arugula in a salad. Enjoy a safe and happy summer.       

Fresh cantaloupe with bacon crumbles, sweet & spicy cashews, dried cranberries & fresh goat cheese


Lay (½ lb) thick cut bacon flat in a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake bacon until fully rendered and crispy – about 15-20 minutes (less for thin sliced). Once cool, finely chop or crumble.

Honey hot cashews

  • 2 cups unsalted cashews
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. sriracha
  • 3 tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In a small bowl whisk all ingredients together except cashews. Once thoroughly combined, coat the cashews and place on baking sheet. Roast for approximately 5-7 minutes; stirring nuts halfway through cooking. Allow to cool; then chop.

Final preparation

Peel and seed a medium cantaloupe. Slice into 1/4th inch sliced and arrange on a platter. Squeeze ½ of a lime and 2 tbsp. honey into a small dish or coffee cup and place in microwave for 15 seconds so that honey and lime can be whisked together. Drizzle liquid over cantaloupe and then top with crumbled bacon, spicy cashews, 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries, 4-6 oz of fresh goat cheese crumbled, and garnish with a few leaves of chiffonade Thai basil.


Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management and Baking/Pastry, and non-credit cooking and food classes through LLCC Community Education.

Cooking or food questions? Email