If you could serve up “backyard in the summertime” on a plate, it would taste exactly like this Grilled Peach Salad. Fresh greens, aromatic herbs, and cool cucumber are the perfect foil for sweet, tangy grilled peaches. Looks like your barbecue dinner might have a new best friend. Plus, it ticks almost every box: gluten free, grain free, vegetarian, vegan friendly, practically paleo, and definitely delicious!
I’m calling for a national backyard mandate: we need to start grilling more fruit. Because the magic that happens when you upend a plump, juicy peach at the peak of ripeness onto a sizzling hot grill should not be a “one-fruit-only” type of event.
Next time you’re firing up for burgers, slap on a slab of melon, get some grapefruit on that grate, skewer up some starfruit and see what happens! Because no-sugar-added caramelization is a beautiful thing.
Don’t get me wrong. This is no cloying dessert salad (google Watergate “Salad” sometime <shudder>). This is the type of dish that converts people who just aren’t that into mixing sweet and savory together. Why? Because you simply cannot argue with the joys of mashing fresh produce from all ends of the spectrum, and this salad packs them in from veggies to herbs to fruit, and sprinkle of nuts for good measure.
How to Make this Grilled Peach Salad
A simple swipe of olive oil and a grill transform one of summer’s simplest pleasures into a downright magical culinary treat. Grilled peaches are transformative on their own, but do yourself a favor and give them center stage in a peach salad. Once cooled, the skins will easily slip from the charred flesh. Simply dice and toss with mild greens, fresh herbs, toasted almonds, and honey balsamic dressing. This salad doesn’t keep, so only make as much as you’ll eat in a single sitting.
- Slice the peaches in half, remove the pits, then brush both sides with olive oil.
- Grill cut side down over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, then flip and grill skin side down for another 4-5 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to touch.
- Once the peaches have cooled, the skins should easily slip off. Dice them into bite sized peaches.
A few tips for grilling peaches:
- Don’t grill peaches over a high flame – the fruit is too delicate for so much heat. If you have a gas grill or are using a grill pan, set it to medium. If you have a charcoal grill, use indirect heat.
- Make sure the grates are clean, and brush the grates with a bit of olive oil as well to prevent the peaches from sticking.
Prep the rest of the salad ingredients while the peaches cool. It’s prettiest as a composed, instead of a tossed, salad since the grilled peaches are delicate.
- Make the honey balsamic dressing.
- Toss baby spinach and arugula (or all of one or the other) with chopped mint and basil, and half of the dressing.
- Thinly sliced half an english cucumber.
- Toast slivered almonds in a skillet or in the oven.
Compose your salad:
- Divide the greens between four plates.
- Sprinkle the cucumbers over the greens, then top with the diced grilled peaches.
- Garnish with toasted almonds and more mint or basil leaves.
- Add more dressing to taste.
- How to select the perfect peach for grilling
How to Select the Perfect Peach for Grilling
Peaches hit their peak stride in July and August so now is the perfect time to introduce this salad into your rotation. Be forewarned: the super-soft, drippy peaches we love to bite into while dangling feet off a porch are NOT what you’re looking for here. Focus on:
- Color: Don’t be fooled by the red hues on your peach. The shade of yellow is the dealbreaker; only deep golden, not pale and buttery (or anything with the remotest hint of green), will do. Note that white peaches are sweeter and don’t have that signature tanginess of their yellow counterparts.
- Feel: Because you’re grilling your peaches, they need to be ripe but firm. You only want some give when testing them out. If your fingers sink in at all, those are the ones best left for eating whole. Overripe peaches will burn quickly because of the higher sugar content and structurally won’t withstand the heat.
- Smell: A perfectly ripe peach will smell like a peach. No scent often means no taste because they’re not ripe enough yet.
Tips for Making a Perfect Peach Salad
- Let the peaches cool slightly after coming off the grill. The skills will easily slip off once cooled to the touch.
- Want grill marks? Us too. Be sure your grates are clean, and give them a swipe of oil along with the peaches to prevent them from sticking.
- Clean your greens. The leafy greens and herbs you’re using are delicate so soak them in water and transfer by hand to a colander or paper towel to dry. Young, tender greens with thinner stems are best for eating raw.
- Toast your nuts. Raw almond slices can sometimes be too pliable and you definitely want that crunchy texture for balance. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 350°F for around 10 minutes until they’re golden brown.
- Mason not metal. Vinaigrettes are so tasty and easy, but mixing in an aluminum bowl can leave a metallic taste. Make your dressing in a mason jar to avoid any contamination and just shake the ingredients together to emulsify quickly. Added bonus: built-in storage.
More Summer Salad Recipes
- Stone Fruit Salad with Tomato and Burrata
- Cantaloupe Salad
- Tomato Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
- Peach Panzanella
- Strawberry Cucumber Salad
Did you make this Grilled Peach Salad? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 4 peaches
- 2 c baby arugula
- 2 c baby spinach
- ½ c loosely packed basil leaves
- ¼ c loosely packed mint leaves
- ½ english cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
- ½ c sliced almonds, toasted
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- Halve the peaches, remove the pits, and rub with a bit of olive oil all over.
- Grill over medium heat, 4-5 minutes per side, until charred and slightly soft.
- Allow the peaches to cool slightly. Remove the skin (it should easily slip off in a single piece), then dice.
- Toss the arugula, spinach, basil, and mint in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle the cucumbers over the greens, then arrange the peaches on top. Drizzle with dressing, then garnish with sliced almonds. Serve immediately.
- Select slightly firmer peaches that don’t full give under gentle pressure. Very ripe peaches have too much sugar and will burn.
- Don’t use too much heat. If using a gas grill or grill pan, grill over medium heat. If using a charcoal grill, grill over indirect heat.
- How to toast almonds:
- In a dry skillet over medium heat – stir occasionally until golden brown and very aromatic, about 5 minutes.
- In a 350°F oven for 10 minutes; spread evenly oven a baking sheet.