Yes, this grilled peach, basil, and walnut salad is vegan but it isn’t just for vegans. Beginner vegetarians, those on a budget, and people with little time will appreciate this recipe. A salad with caramelized peaches, basil, and fragrant, toasted walnuts appeals to everyone who adores something different for a starter.
There’s something beautiful about hot, caramelized peaches placed over fragrant basil that makes this more than just a salad.–Katy Beskow
Grilled Peach, Basil, and Walnut Salad FAQs
What can I substitute for mâche?
Mâche, also known as lamb’s lettuce or corn salad, is a cold-weather salad green. If you need a substitute, red leaf lettuce or buttery Boston lettuce will do.
How do I know if my peaches are ripe?
Ripe peaches are brightly colored, fragrant, and will yield slightly when gently squeezed. Avoid fruit that is bruised, has soft spots, or is extremely firm. For more information, check out this article on How to Tell if a Peach is Perfectly Ripe.
What’s the best way to cut a peach?
Use a sharp knife to cut around the equator (that line that runs from the stem to the bottom of the peach) and cut all the way to the pit. Grab each half and twist in opposite directions. One side should come loose and the pit can be pried out with the tip of a knife from the other half. If the pit doesn’t come loose when twisting, use the knife to help coax it out.
Grilled Peach, Basil, and Walnut Salad
- 4 medium (21 oz) ripe peaches halved and stones removed
- 2 generous handfuls of watercress
- 2 handfuls of mâche lamb’s lettuce
- 1 ounce fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons walnut pieces
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon (optional)
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat.
- Place the peaches, cut-side down, and cook until caramelized with grill marks, 4 to 5 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: If your peaches are very large or very firm, they may need a few extra minutes on the grill.
- While the peaches are grilling, divvy the watercress, mâche/lamb’s lettuce, and basil between four plates.
- Arrange the hot peaches on top of the leaves.
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, or using the same grill pan you used for the peaches, toast the walnuts until fragrant, 30 to 90 seconds. Sprinkle them over the salad.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired, season with black pepper and serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Place this lovely salad in your peach season recipe file. Its ease and simplicity make this a keeper. The in-season grilled peaches are absolutely fantastic, especially paired with the fresh basil. Add any toasted nut to this recipe, we used pecans due to a walnut allergy, for the requisite crunch.
We particularly loved the simple drizzle of olive oil rather than a dressing as it really allowed the featured ingredients to shine through. And for those that don’t prefer grilled fruit, toss them in as fresh. This grilled peach, basil, and walnut salad is a salad to satisfy!
As the recipe says, “there’s something beautiful about hot, caramelized peaches” and that’s totally true. I thought the peach halves would be too big, but the brief grill made them soft and warm throughout with a delicious caramel top. The end result was a filling—almost decadent—salad that was definitely more of a summer meal than a side dish.
My only additions would be a little lemon juice in the dressing for a hint of acid to balance the sweet peaches and some extra walnuts for maximum texture and crunch. This salad is peachy perfection.
This grilled peach salad is a perfect combination of ingredients, for a fresh, sweet, bitter, nutty salad, ideal as a summer meal. Use very ripe peaches, and if you want to add other ingredients, for an enriched meal, it goes so well with burrata or fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, vinaigrette sauce with honey, or just some balsamic vinegar.
Originally published May 28, 2021