Grilling fruit is one of my favorite things about summer. This Summer Grilled Peach Salad is one of my most beloved summer salads. Grilling peaches brings our their natural sweetness and it’s absolutely delicious!
I love the sweet grilled peaches with blackberries, blueberries, feta crumbles, homemade candied pecans, and mixed greens…all tossed with an easy balsamic dressing.
It’s the perfect summer salad!
Summer is basically peach season, and I’m loving it. Farmer’s markets abound with sweet, ripe peaches and that’s basically what I look forward to every summer.
If you love seasonal cooking, you won’t want to miss out on this amazing grilled peach salad! Grilling peaches intensifies their natural sweetness, and also adds smokiness and beautiful grill marks.
I serve them with blackberries, blueberries, feta cheese, candied pecans, and mixed greens plus a delicious honey balsamic dressing.
You will love this refreshing grilled peach salad. It’s basically summer on a plate!
Why I Love This Recipe
- Grilling peaches brings out their natural sweetness and intensified their flavors. It makes them perfectly tender and so pretty!
- This salad has lots of great texture – tender and juicy fruit, crunchy candied pecans, and fresh greens and delicious feta.
- It’s the perfect balance between sweet and savory.
Tips for Grilling Fruit Perfectly
This recipe is all about grilling peaches! Here are my best tips and tricks for grilling fruit perfectly:
- Choose the right fruit: Choose fruits that hold their shape well over high heat. Try peaches, pineapple, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.
- Make sure it’s ripe but firm: They need to be firm so they don’t get mushy, but also ripe for sweetness.
- Size matters: Bigger pieces of fruit work better.
- Use HIGH heat: This minimizes sticking to the grill.
- Let them be: The less you touch them, the more defined the grill marks will be. Check after 2-3 minutes.
This grilled peach salad is made with lots of great seasonal summer ingredients! That’s my favorite part about it. Great texture, freshness, and color.
There are basically 3 parts to it: the fruits and greens, the candied pecans, and the honey balsamic dressing. Below is a quick snapshot of the ingredients you will need to build this amazing salad.
For the salad:
- Fresh peaches: They should be ripe but firm. They need to be ripe for their natural sweetness to come out, but also relatively firm so that they don’t fall apart on the grill. The larger the peaches, the better.
- Blueberries and blackberries: Use fresh berries for best results. You can also use strawberries and raspberries.
- Mixed greens: The fresher the crisper.
- Feta crumbles: Adds fresh savory flavors. Goat cheese, gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, or burrata work too.
For the balsamic dressing:
- Balsamic vinegar: For acidity and flavor.
- Olive oil: Use good extra virgin olive oil for better taste.
- Minced garlic: For flavor.
- Honey: To add sweetness and balance out the acidity.
- Dijon mustard: To help the vinegar and oil emulsify.
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Candied Pecans
- Brown sugar: For sweetness. I use light brown sugar.
- Water: To help the brown sugar melt and to thin it out.
- Pecan halves: You can also use walnuts, if you prefer.
- A pinch of salt: helps balance out the sweetness.
Here’s a snapshot of how to make this delicious grilled peach salad. All ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card down below, as always.
There are basically 4 easy parts to making this grilled peach salad: 1) making the candied pecans, 2) making the dressing, 3) prepping and grilling the peaches, and 4) assembling the salad.
1. Make the candied pecans
- On a small skillet, melt the brown sugar with the water over medium-low heat.
- Add the pecan halves plus a pinch of salt. Stir to coat for about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Want to spice them up? Add a little bit of ground cinnamon or cayenne pepper.
2. Make the balsamic dressing
- In a mason jar, combine all the balsamic dressing ingredients. Seal the mason jar and shake vigorously until emulsified (evenly combined). If you have a salad dressing shaker, you can use that too.
The key to making great salad dressing is shaking the ingredients vigorously to let the oil and liquid emulsify and combine evenly. Emulsification consists of combining liquids that don’t normally mix (oil and vinegar) together.
3. Prep and grill the peaches
- Cut the peaches into thick wedges, making sure they are about the same size. Check out this tutorial on how to cut and slice fresh peaches!
- Get your grill HOT. Brush the peaches with oil on both sides to prevent them from sticking.
- Grill on each side for 2-3 minutes, undisturbed, until they develop grill marks. Using a thin spatula, flip the peaches and grill the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
How to prevent peaches from sticking to the grill? Make sure the grill is HOT, brush peaches with olive oil, and let them grill undisturbed. Use a thin spatula to lift and release the peaches. Don’t use tongs, otherwise the grill marks may stick to the grill.
For grilling, choose peaches that are ripe but firm. Don’t use peaches that feel too soft. Likewise, don’t use peaches that feel too underripe.
4. Assemble the salad
- Arrange a bed of mixed greens on a large platter. Top with blueberries, blackberries, the prepared candied pecans, feta crumbles, grilled peaches.
- Drizzle with the prepared balsamic dressing to taste. Enjoy!
A great cook needs the right tools to make the perfect dish. These are the kitchen equipment and tools that I recommend to make this recipe successfully.
- Outdoor grill, stovetop grill pan, or indoor electric grill: I prefer cast iron, but if you’re worried about the fruit sticking to the grill, you can use a nonstick.
- A thin spatula: It’s best to use a thin spatula to lift the peaches from underneath. Using tongs to flip peaches on the grill can sometimes rip the grill marks apart.
- A small mason jar to make the dressing. You can also use a salad dressing shaker.
- A small skillet to make the candied pecans.
Prep Ahead Tips
I wouldn’t recommend making the entire grilled peach salad in advance, but you can certainly prep a few components ahead:
- Make the candied pecans the day before and let them cool on the counter overnight. You can keep them in a container or in a covered bowl.
- Make the balsamic dressing up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate. Before using, let it sit at room temp and shake it vigorously again before using.
I wouldn’t recommend cutting the peaches until ready to grill. They will release lots of juices, and turn soft and brown overnight.
Substitutions and Variations
If you want to change certain ingredients, or simply don’t have one of the ingredients in this recipe, you can substitute them. Below are a few ideas:
- Greens: I use a simple blend of mixed greens. You can also use baby spinach, arugula, or lettuce.
- Pecans: You can use walnuts too. If you’d rather leave the sugar out, you can simple use toasted nuts.
- Peaches: If you can’t find peaches, nectarines will work.
- Berries: You can use strawberries or raspberries.
- Cheese: Try goat cheese, gorgonzola, blue cheese, mozzarella, burrata.
- Dressing: My favorite dressing for this peach salad is balsamic. Other great dressings are raspberry vinaigrette and basil vinaigrette.
Other favorite add-ons: Avocado, fresh grilled corn, prosciutto, or pickled red onions.
There are so many ways to creatively customize this salad! Be sure to leave a comment below with your ideas.
Pairings and Serving Ideas
Serve this grilled peach salad with grilled chicken breast to make it a whole meal! My favorite is my lemon marinated grilled chicken. You can also cook chicken breast on the stovetop.
You can also try steak, seared scallops, grilled shrimp, or prosciutto.
Great main dish recipes that would pair great with this grilled peach salad are:
Yes, they should be ripe for sweetness, but also relatively firm so they don’t fall apart on the grill.
You can use nectarines as a substitute for sure. Apricots may be a bit too small to grill properly, but you can.
Check out my full tutorial on how to cut and slice peaches!
I personally prefer to keep the skin on, but you can peel them off if desired. I provide instructions in my peach prep tutorial.
Make sure the grill is HOT, brush the sliced peaches with oil, let them cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes before flipping, and use a thin spatula to lift and release the peaches from underneath the grill. Try not to use tongs.
Goat cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola, burrata, or fresh mozzarella.
Grilled peaches don’t store well, so I’d say no. However, you can make the balsamic dressing and the candied pecans in advance.
Try my grilled lemon chicken, prosciutto, steak, grilled shrimp, or seared scallops.
I hope you like this peach salad recipe! It’s the perfect seasonal dish that everyone will love.
It’s fresh, crunchy, smokey, sweet, and savory…everything you ever want in a salad. It’s also pretty customizable. My favorite add-ons are prosciutto and strawberries.
Other great summer salads you should try:
Tips for Success
- Pick ripe but firm peaches: They should be ripe for sweetness but firm enough so they don’t fall apart on the grill.
- How to prevent peaches from sticking to the grill: 1) Make sure the grill is HOT, 2) brush peaches with oil, and 3) let them grill undisturbed. 4) Use a thin spatula (rather than tongs) to lift and release the peaches from underneath. This will help maintain the grill marks on the peaches.
Grilled Peach Salad with Berries
- Thin spatula
For the salad
- 4 fresh peaches, ripe but firm
- Olive oil for brushing the peaches
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup fresh blackberries
- 5 oz mixed greens
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
Simple candied pecans
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed
- 1 cup pecan halves
- A pinch of salt
Honey balsamic dressing
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons honey or to taste
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Make the candied pecans
- Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat, and melt brown sugar with the water. Add the pecans plus a pinch of salt to the skillet. Stir to coat the pecans in melted sugar for about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Make the honey balsamic dressing
- In a mason jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, honey, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Seal the mason jar with the lid and shake vigorously until evenly combined (emulsified). Set aside.
Prep and grill the peaches
- Cut the peaches: Insert a sharp knife along the natural line coming from the stem of the peach until you hit the pit in the center, and cut in half in this direction by rotating it around the knife. Separate each half and remove the pit. Then, cut each half into 2 or 3 wedges.
- Grill the peaches: Preheat grill to high heat (it needs to be hot to minimize sticking). Brush the sliced peaches on both sides with some olive oil. Grill each side for 2-3 minutes, undisturbed to allow grill marks to develop. Once ready, transfer to a plate. Tip: To flip the peaches, use a thin spatula and lift the peach from underneath to preserve the grill marks. Try not to use tongs.
Assemble the salad
- On a large platter, arrange a bed of mixed greens and top with the blackberries, blueberries, grilled peaches, candied pecans, and crumbled feta. Drizzle with the prepared honey balsamic vinegar to taste. Enjoy!
- Pick ripe but firm peaches: They should be ripe for their natural sweetness to come out, but firm enough so they don’t fall apart on the grill.
- How to prevent peaches from sticking to the grill: 1) Make sure the grill is HOT, 2) brush peaches with olive oil, and 3) let grill undisturbed. 4) Use a thin spatula to lift and release the peaches from underneath. This will help maintain the grill marks on the peaches. Try not to use tongs since they could rip the grill marks apart as you pull the peaches.
- Prep ahead: The balsamic dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge, when ready to use, let it sit on the counter if the oil has solidified and shake it well. The candied pecans can be made ahead and stored at room temperature once cooled down.
- Peaches: Nectarines work too.
- Berries: Strawberries and raspberries.
- Feta: Try goat cheese, burrata or fresh mozzarella.
- Pecans: Walnuts.