August means stone fruits. And stone fruits are delicious. Peaches are probably my favorite of the bunch. And sometimes summer is hot and you don’t want to cook anything. Salads are a great way to not have to cook, but many people think salads are boring or gasp….gross. I’m here with a recipe to change your mind.
This salad pairs my favorite summer fruit with those healthy greens you’re supposed to be eating but aren’t. You can use a variety of lettuce types, but my suggestion would be to stick to bitter ones to add a little contrast to the sweetness of the peaches and dressing. Arugula, escarole, and mixed baby greens would be good picks. Tonight, I made this with a bag of the baby greens and herb salad mixes.
I like to roughly chop my greens so that they come in little pieces instead of large leaves. I think it gives more opportunity for all the ingredients to show up on the fork at the same time instead of having to choose either big leaf or juicy peach. When eating particularly bitter greens, I will often finely chop them like herbs, so that they almost become a garnish to the sweeter notes in a salad.
Now…back to those peaches. Chop 2-3 peaches for a large serving bowl of salad. This made a meal for three tonight, and I used 1 bag of greens and 2 peaches. You may need more or less if choosing this as a side dish, or to feed more people. Keep the peaches in large bite-sized pieces. You don’t want to lose too much juice to dicing, and think about a piece of peach as being the centerpiece on your fork with salad greens dancing around it.
Add some crunch. I picked shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) tonight, but pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds would also be a nice addition.
Add some cucumbers because it is a salad after all, and if this is your entree, why not bulk it up a bit more? Plus, cucumbers are filling, won’t compete with the other flavors and are in season. It’s good to eat what’s in season.
Add goat cheese, because it’s delicious with peaches and the dressing you’re about to create. Flavor people. We’re going for a party in your mouth kind of dinner.
If you are a meat eater and a meal isn’t a meal without meat (like my husband), add some sliced sausage like we did tonight. We went with a garlic chicken sausage. Don’t pick anything with too strong a flavor. Crumbled turkey burger could also be really good here.
Finally, make a dressing that blends all these flavors and textures into a sublime experience. I highly recommend sourcing a local, boutique vinegar and/or olive oil to make amazing vinaigrettes. I used one by local vendor Olive & Marlowe,
who does ship! Any of their sweet vinegars would probably work, here. I have Honeydew Cucumber Balsamic at home and it was pretty perfect. I simply drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the greens and tossed. No separate recipe for dressing needed! Find a delicious fruity balsamic near you along with a respectable olive oil and call it a meal.
I will probably be making salads until mid-September, so stay tuned for some more delicious and healthy creations!
Now, just to recap, this is everything I put in my bowl tonight (measurements approximate) to fill a large serving bowl:
- 1 bag of greens and herbs salad mix (from Trader Joe’s)
- 2 ripe peaches
- half large cucumber, sliced
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- half of a goat cheese log (4 oz, or so)
- 2 sliced garlic chicken sausage links, heated in pan
- generous drizzle of olive oil and vinegar