Melt in your mouth peaches are in season right now. So are red, yellow and orange sweet beets. Marry these colorful garden gems for a luscious summer salad.
Most of the 200 cultivars of peaches in the United States have a yellow flesh with a sweet flavor masking a mild acidic tanginess. The peach pit is called a stone and how flesh attaches to it determines the type of peach. Peaches where the flesh clings to the stones are called clingstone. These peaches are firmer in texture and commonly used in canning.
Peaches where the flesh does not attach to the stones are called freestone and are more commonly available and eaten fresh. They are featured in this recipe, although nectarines, which are peaches without the fuzzy skin, may be used. Freestone peaches are at their peak in late summer. With healthy amounts of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C as well as health promoting anthocyanins and polyphenols, peaches along with other fruit may lower risk of esophageal, oral and other cancers.
No time to cook fresh beets? No worries. Beets are now readily available peeled, sealed and ready-to-eat. Look for them in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Beets are an excellent source of the B vitamin folate and also a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Betalain pigments give beets their red-violet and yellow-orange colors and have promising antioxidant health properties.
By including fresh herbs in your salads, you can enjoy their wonderful unique flavors and plethora of healthful phytonutrients. Mint’s sweetness and thyme’s savory earthy qualities are a perfect pairing with the peaches and beets. Shallot, instead of onion, makes a milder salad dressing allowing the herb flavors to shine through.
Enjoy this sweet summer salad year round with fresh or frozen peaches!
Beet Salad with Peaches and Walnuts
2 medium cooked red beets, sliced ¼-inch
2 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. minced mint leaves (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
1 tsp. minced thyme (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
2 cups sliced peaches without skin (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta)
On platter arrange beets and tomato slices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In large mixing bowl combine shallot, mint, thyme, oil, lemon juice and honey. Stir well to combine. Add peach wedges and gently toss to coat.
Arrange peach mixture over beets and tomatoes. Top salad with walnuts and cheese, garnish with mint and thyme sprigs and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 197 calories, 11 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 22 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 58 mg sodium.