(Note: this post was originally published on July 28, 2019. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
One of my favorite summer foods is stone fruit. To me, those beautiful yellow, orange, pink, and purple fruits are so sweet and juicy, perfect for salads and outdoor eating. Peaches! Plums! Apricots! Cherries! This time of year, I want them all.
Stone fruit took on a new meaning to me when I went down to North Carolina to meet Dave's family for the first time. I had thought we got perfectly fine peaches in Vermont (even a few intrepid local ones). But then I learned- a true southern peach, consumed close to the orchard where it was grown, is unlike anything that has ever arrived in Vermont on a truck.
I vividly remember my first North Carolina peach. It was about the size of my head and came from a roadside stand. It was so juicy that juice ran down my arm and made a huge sticky mess in the rental car (eventually, Dave made me hold it out the window). I think my first trip down there was about eight years ago, and the peaches still excite me every time we go.
This salad celebrates stone fruit in all its glory. You can use whatever you have on-hand, or go crazy and use it all, like I've shown here. I love grilled peaches and apricots, and prefer plums raw, but do what works for you. If you do decide to grill some or all of your fruit, use a very hot grill, a very short time (just enough to get a bit of char), and remember to oil the grill generously. But if you don't want to deal with the grill, no worries; this salad is equally as delightful (and faster!) with everything raw.
In order to make the stone fruit the start of the show, the rest of this salad is simple. Delicate Boston or Butter lettuce provides a frilly backdrop, goat cheese lends some creaminess and tang, and pistachios provide a delightful crunch. Because of all the juicy fruits, this salad doesn't need much in the way of dressing; I like to use just a really simple mixture of olive oil, champagne vinegar, and honey. Sometimes simple is best!
An added benefit of these simple ingredients is that this salad comes together in a pinch! It's great for throwing together to go alongside a summer meal, or maybe even for a special lunch when stone fruits are at their peak. While I'm usually a huge fan of kale, the butter lettuce hear requires virtually no prep other than a quick wash, and I adore its frilly texture.
Are you a fan of grilled stone fruit? I think it's pure summer magic! If you love it too, then definitely check out this Grilled Peach and Farro Salad; it's a little bit more substantial and can serve as a light dinner for warm summer evenings.
This salad is super forgiving and can be customized in a lot of ways. Can't find butter lettuce? Use Boston lettuce or anything else light and frilly. Love feta? Use it in place of goat cheese, since they both have a similar fresh, salty taste. Don't have all the stone fruits on-hand? No worries! This will work great with whatever you have and whatever you love most.
You also have a lot of options with how you present this salad. As you can see from the photos, I like to plate it on a big serving board. It's just so beautiful and I love to display all that gorgeous fruit!
If you want to make a vegan version of this salad, you just need to make two simple swaps. First, instead of the goat cheese, use either vegan feta (delightfully creamy and salty!) or avocado. The latter is my personal preference, but use what you have available. Then, instead of honey in the dressing, use maple syrup. The end result has the same summery flavors and same wonderful textures.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
This salad is really all of my summer dreams come true. It's light and whimsical, yet also decadent. It has such a wonderful array of juicy, creamy, and crunchy textures. The colors are photo-worthy; lay it out on a big serving board for a work of salad art. Having a mix of grilled and raw stone fruits really makes it interesting and surprising.
We'll be eating this salad all summer long out on our deck. I hope you will be too!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
A delightfully summery mix of frilly lettuce, juicy grilled and raw stone fruit, crunchy pistachios, and creamy goat cheese, this simple salad is a stunner. Veganize it with avocado instead of goat cheese!