Light, refreshing prosciutto melon skewers are elevated in extra flavor from pesto, balsamic glaze and mozzarella - it's the prefect healthy appetizer!
There is something so satisfying and prosciutto and melon together on it's own, but add mozzarella, pesto, and balsamic and its like an explosion of flavor in your mouth.
Each ingredient compliments each other perfectly, the cantaloupe and mozzarella adding freshness, the prosciutto the saltiness, the balsamic glaze just the right level of acidity and the pesto and pepper give the whole thing complexity. It's divine.
The ingredients are quite simple here, but with simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients really makes or breaks the end results. Use the good stuff and you'll end up with perfect results.
Here's what you need:
- Cantaloupe - just make sure it's a good, ripe melon for the best results. I have a helpful guide on how to pick a cantaloupe down below.
- Prosciutto - make sure to get a 4 ounce package or two 2 ounce packages. Quality counts here but you're using a very small amount on each skewer so it isn't the dominant flavor.
- Mozzarella - either pearl mozzarella balls or the cherry sized ciliegine with each one cut into 6 pieces
- Pesto - I used a store bought traditional basil pesto but you can use whatever kind you want. For some ideas, check out the make your own pesto section.
- Balsamic glaze - I get the Whole Foods brand glaze since it comes in a squirt bottle and doesn't have any food coloring or other weird ingredients.
- Fresh cracked pepper - automatic pepper grinders are my one true love. Fresh cracked makes all the difference and doing this in seconds without any effort makes it easy to do that.
- Last but not lease, toothpicks, and lots of them (88-100)
How to make prosciutto melon skewers
This is an easy peasy recipe, even if there are a few steps needed to do it. Putting the skewers together is a bit time consuming since they're individual but its so easy, I even had a kid (tween) helping me through this photoshoot!
You start by doing all of the prep work (pulling out ingredients, cutting the cantaloupe, and tearing up the prosciutto). Then from there you start the assembly.
These process steps show how each skewer comes together but in reality, since the sharp end of the toothpick is actually at the bottom, you do this in reverse (mozzarella first, then prosciutto, then cantaloupe).
From here, you add a dab of pesto, a touch of balsamic glaze and then a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
These prosciutto melon appetizers are pretty easy to do perfectly so these tips are pretty basic. Nonetheless, here's what you need to know to make sure yours turn out as lovely as mine did:
- Use good balsamic vinegar if you're making your own glaze.
- Make sure to use a ripe, tasty cantaloupe (for tips on picking one, read the next section).
- Don't put the skewers too close together on the serving plate or it will be hard to spoon the balsamic glaze and pesto onto them without getting some on the other toothpicks.
- If you do use balsamic glaze, getting a glaze that comes in a squirt bottle isn't necessary but makes it so easy to add a few drops to each skewer.
How to pick a cantaloupe
There are just a few things to look for in picking a good cantaloupe. Here's how I do it:
- Look for a brownish spot. This shows the cantaloupe has been sitting in the sun for long enough to ripen. Also, if the skin of the melon or stem area is overly green it is probably not ripe.
- Smell the end where it was pulled off of the stem. It should smell sweet but not overly sweet or alcoholic. Yes, you might get some weird looks smelling the melon but it's worth it.
- Feel the melon. It should feel heavy and the stem side should give a little when pressed with your finger, but barely. If it gives too much it is overly ripe.
- Listen to the sound it makes when you knock on it while holding it to your ear. Unlike watermelon, you don't want cantaloupe to sound hollow. It should sound solid and make a low pitched sound.
Making your own balsamic glaze
I use and recommend using store bought glaze, but if your inner Martha is dying to make your own or if you're just too lazy to make a trip to the store for it, its easy to make.
To make your own balsamic glaze:
- Heat 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 3 Tbsp. sugar (white, brown or coconut) in a small pan over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar.
- Bring to a low simmer and then reduce heat to low.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally until vinegar has reduced by about half and the glaze is sticky and thick enough to coat a spoon dipped into it without immediately running off.
- Remove glaze from stove, let sit for 1-2 minutes, then spoon over prepared skewers. Don't let it sit too long or it may become too thick!
Making your own pesto
I used store bought pesto from the refrigerated section of the grocery store to make this recipe easier to prepare. You can totally make your own though! Or if you're on the budget, the bottled pesto in the pasta aisle will work too.
What to serve with prosciutto melon skewers
Pretty much anything! Prosciutto melon skewers are a fun appetizer for casual cook outs and fancy cocktail parties and everything in between.
And since the skewers can be assembled several hours before and just sauced right before serving, they're perfect for having guests over.
Here's a sample menu:
- Serve prosciutto melon skewers as the appetizer
- Serve this delicious dill salmon as the main.
- Throw some lemon parmesan asparagus in the oven with the salmon as a veggie.
- And make this dill lemon brown rice as a side.
This is an easy meal combination that is special enough for guests but easy enough for a simple meal at home too. You may want to cut the number of skewers in half though if you're only cooking for your family. Or don't. Yolo.
Other healthy appetizers
If you're looking for some other phenomenal healthy appetizer recipes, here are some ideas:
- This zucchini tomato dip isn't much to look at but it's always a crowd favorite and is so so easy to make
- This lightened up layered bean dip has all the flavor of the less healthy recipes we all know and love
- This baked feta gets topped with vegetables that roast right along with it creating a delicious, creamy, caramelized dip
- I'd be remiss not to throw a classic hummus recipe to the list since it's one of my go-to healthy appetizers to add to a snack spread
- For something more unique, this endive appetizer is filled with toasted pecans, tangy grapefruit, creamy feta, and herbs all served in individual endive leaves
- And another favorite, these zucchini pizzas are equally loved by kids and adults
Prosciutto Melon Skewers
- 3 cups cantaloupe, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 4 oz. prosciutto, each slice torn into 12 pieces
- 8 oz. pearl mozzarella, drained*
- 1/4 cup pesto
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic glaze*
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Skewer a toothpick with mozzarella, then prosciutto, then cantaloupe.
- Repeat, placing each skewer on a serving plate as you go. It will fill 2 plates or a large platter, depending on how much you space them out.
- Once all skewers are complete, spoon a small amount of pesto onto each skewer.
- Top with a small amount of balsamic glaze (the squirt bottle on store bought glaze makes this really easy but a spoon can be used as well).
- Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper and salt over the top of the skewers and serve immediately.
- You can sub pearl mozzarella with ciliegine mozzarella, cutting each into 6 pieces.
- To make your own balsamic glaze: Heat 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 3 Tbsp. sugar (white, brown or coconut) in a small pan over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar while bringing to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until vinegar has reduced by about half. Remove glaze from stove, let sit for 1-2 minutes, then spoon over prepared skewers.
- Skewers can be made up to two hours ahead of time and topped with pesto and balsamic glaze, salt, and pepper right before serving. Put them standing up in a sealing container and refrigerate until ready to serve.