It’s that time of year when really delicious peaches are starting to appear in markets and stores and I can’t help but use them in every way possible. This easy Summer Peach Salad features really fresh, ripe summer peaches and other than that the rest is all about restraint. You need some crunchy veggies and a tangy dressing, but the peaches should be the star. And they are!
To kick this salad up a notch, I also passed on the store-bought dressings and shook up some homemade lemon dressing with rice vinegar and a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Using a good store-bought vinaigrette would be fine as well though!
My Inspiration for Salads
This is what I refer to as a Flavor Bible salad which is something that happens frequently at the Macheesmo household. Usually, it means that I have one ingredient that I want to throw in a salad… say… beautifully ripe summer peaches. I flip open my Flavor Bible to the peach section and pick four or five other things that go with it.
That’s how I ended up pairing peaches with red onions, cucumber, arugula, and just a crumble of feta cheese.
Need more salad inspiration? Check out my Big Ass Salad series!
How to pick good peaches?
Good peaches are one of the more delicate fruits. If they are perfectly ripe, just touching them too much can bruise them and they should basically be eaten immediately, probably over the sink!
For salads like this, it’s okay to pick a peach that is not quite perfectly ripe, meaning that it gives a bit to slight pressure with a thumb, but isn’t completely soft.
If anything, I would argue to pick peaches that are slightly unripe as you can always let them sit in a paper bag for a day or two and they will ripen quickly.
Can I use frozen peaches for this salad?
Generally, I’m okay with substituting frozen fruits and vegetables in cooked recipes, but I don’t recommend it in salads like this. Frozen peaches end up being a bit water-logged and as they thaw, the water will kill the salad and the peaches just don’t have the same texture.
So, use fresh, ripe summer peaches for this salad!
The veggies for this salad are nothing exotic, but all the flavors work really well together. So just go with it.
The hardest thing to dice up is actually the peach. I’ve seen people absolutely mutilate peaches when trying to get the pit out. Assuming you are working with a ripe peach, it’s a fairly straightforward operation though.
Start by finding the small crease in the top of the peach next to where the peach was connected to the tree. This crease shows you the direction that the pit is facing. If you don’t cut along the crease you’ll have a hard time getting the pit out.
Just follow the crease and run your knife all around the peach.
Then just as if you were cutting an avocado, lightly twist the two peach halves and they should easily pop apart. Once half will be ready to dice up and one half will have the pesky pit in it still.
You could use your knife to pry the pit out of the peach half, but honestly, I find it easiest just to grab the edge of it where it meets the peach skin and lightly pry it out of the peach. If your peach is ripe, it should pop right out!
Then you can just dice up the peaches. For this recipe, I recommend leaving the skin on so don’t worry about peeling them.
For the onions and cucumbers, just slice them up pretty thinly.
Add all the veggies and peaches to a large bowl or on a serving platter with the crumbled feta and greens.
This is a very colorful and pretty salad.
As a final touch, chop up some fresh basil and sprinkle it on top of the salad. Don’t skimp on the basil either. It’s an awesome flavor when paired with the peaches.
I used to make a tarragon vinegar dressing for this salad, but tarragon vinegar has been a bit tricky to find recently so I switched it up with a lemon dressing with rice vinegar. If you can find tarragon vinegar, you can try this dressing recipe, which is a favorite at House Macheesmo.
The lemon dressing works well though and you can whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. You will have more dressing than you need for this salad, so drizzle on what you need and store the rest in a jar for later. It’ll keep for a few weeks in the fridge.
When serving this salad up just make sure to get a bit of everything in each bowl and I recommend letting people dress their own salads.
For a salad with only a few ingredients, this summer peach salad has a lot of flavor and you can really taste summer in it. The peaches are obviously the star, but they have a pretty awesome supporting cast also.
Substitutions for this summer peach salad
My recipe below is a good start for a summertime salad, but here are a few ideas for changes!
- Add grilled chicken to the salad for a more complete meal.
- Top with toasted almonds or pecans for a nice nutty crunch.
- Substitute goat cheese instead of the feta for a slightly creamier texture.
Summer Peach Salad
- 1 large peach, pitted and diced
- ¼ red onion, sliced thinly
- ½ cucumber, seeded and sliced thin
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Arugula or a mix of greens
- Handful of fresh basil
- ⅓ Cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ Cup rice vinegar
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- Take your time dicing up the veggies. Slice the red onions thinly, Seed the cucumber and slice it thin. Pit the peach and roughly chop it.
- Add greens to a large bowl and add crumbled feta. Then top with veggies and peaches. Dice basil and add to top of salad.
- Whisk or shake dressing ingredients together.
- Let people dress their own salad.