Have you had your fair share of peaches this summer? I surely have not. I’m remedying that with my friend Erin Clarke’s colorful peach, avocado and arugula salad. Erin balances out the flavors with salty gorgonzola cheese, crisp toasted almonds, and a zippy lemon dressing.
This simple summer salad is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a mix I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, and it’s so gorgeous. I couldn’t quit going back for more.
Perhaps you know Erin from her blog, Well Plated. Erin has been working hard on her first cookbook for several years now, and I’m so pleased to reveal that it’s now here! The Well Plated Cookbook (affiliate link) features over 130 fast, healthy meals you’ll want to eat.
I spotted this beautiful salad on page 116, headlined, “Book Club Salad (A Great, Green Party Salad).” Erin’s headnotes are humorous, friendly and encouraging, just like she is in real life. Here’s what she had to say about this recipe:
“My friend Erika once brought this salad to our monthly book club, and now, five years later, we still won’t allow her bring anything else. We refer to it as ‘The Salad,’ and its presence at the table is more mandatory than actually reading the book. This great green salad is scaled for a party, tastes better than any salad I’ve eaten in a restaurant, and is attractive and flexible for the seasons…”
She encouraged me not just to create ‘The Salad,’ but to join a book club when we’re able to get together again. In the meanwhile, this salad recipe is easily halved and well suited for any summer evening.
The Well Plated Cookbook is loaded to the brim with nourishing, tasty meals that have been painstakingly developed and meticulously tested. Erin ensures you’re never left with a random half-cup of leftover beans and encourages you to alter the recipes to suit your season or cupboard.
Erin includes chapters from breakfast to dessert, with an emphasis on main dishes. While the book isn’t supposed to be vegetarian, I found a number of interesting possibilities. Midwesterners will love her healthful takes on classic foods, and everyone will find something new to enjoy.
- ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced (approximately ½ cup)
- 10 to 12 ounces baby arugula (12 to 15 loosely packed cups) (12 to 15 lightly packed cups)
- 2 medium ripe peaches or nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced, skins on or off (approximately 2 cups) (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium ripe avocados, chopped (approximately 2 cups) (about 2 cups)
- ⅔ cup unsalted sliced almonds
- ⅔ cup crumbled mild blue cheese*, such as gorgonzola (approximately 3 ½ ounces)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons) (from 1 to 2 lemons)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt or a heaping ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt \s¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper
- Make the salad: Place the red onion in a small bowl and cover with water. Let it rest while you prepare the remainder of the salad. (This will maintain the flavor of the onion but reduce some of the harsh after-bite.) Place the arugula in a large serving basin.
- To toast the almonds, lay them in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring regularly (careful, they can burn), until the almonds are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients (the oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper) (the oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper).
- Drizzle half of the dressing over the greens, then toss to coat. Drain the red onion, then distribute it over the arugula. Top with the peaches, avocados, almonds and cheese. Just before serving, pour on a touch extra dressing and give it a final, gentle toss to mix. Enjoy, with more dressing as desired.