9 years ago, on my 20th birthday, I ordered half a cantaloupe as an appetizer. I was in Paris with my dad, brother and sister, and we were out for dinner, experiencing the city in all of its glory. When I ordered this cantaloupe, I didn’t expect big things; after all, I was presented with an unadulterated half-melon on a plate. But then I took a bite, and it was, and still continues to be, the best cantaloupe of my life.
It may have been the atmosphere, the city, the country, the continent, the birthday buzz, but I’ve yet to experience such juicy, floral delight from any melon since. (Yes, I love produce that much.) Though this breakfast cantaloupe “bowl” I have here, punctuated with my foolproof coconut oil granola recipe, this particular variation including both sesame seeds and tahini (sesame seed butter), comes oh so close.
In another month, I’ll be 29, and I’ll eat this bowl, quite literally, for breakfast. The same as I’ll always have Paris, I’ll retain those memories of the first time I “discovered” that produce could be the star of the show, nearly a decade ago now, in an unassuming bistro, in a beautiful country, on my 20th birthday.
(And how I loved the light dancing over the melon in the photo below! It’s the little things these days.)
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups large flake rolled oats
- ⅔ cup raw white sesame seeds
- 1 cantaloupe, chilled, halved crosswise and seeded
- 1 cup fresh berries
- ½ cup plain yogurt (I used full-fat Greek yogurt)
- 1 tablespoon mint flowers or chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
- For the granola, preheat oven to 300ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, tahini, vanilla and salt. Stir in oats and seeds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and lightly press into a single layer. Bake for 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely (do not stir). Once cool, break granola into chunks and store airtight at room temperature up to 1 month.
- For the bowls, on the bottom of each cantaloupe halve, cut a small slice off the base (not all the way through) to make it sit without wobbling. Place on a plate with the hollowed side up. Fill hole with yogurt, top with granola, berries and mint flowers or mint, if using. Serve immediately.