If you are perpetually stuck in a salad rut, either the green or the fruit kind, try this savory stone fruit and vegetable salad.
It calls for a combination of stone fruits and summer vegetables tossed in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper. The fruits release their natural juices so that no additional dressing is required. The vegetables in the fruit salad take it from sweet to savory. I absolutely love it and I am sure you will, too.
Cherries and cucumbers? Peaches and chili peppers? Celery with fruit? The answer is yes, yes, and yes! The key is to dice them on the smaller side and about the same size. Each and every bite is an explosion of summer’s brightest flavors.
What’s in this Summer Stone Fruit and Vegetable Salad?
This simple recipe is a great example of different and unexpected flavors coming together into something truly fantastic.
It’s built on the expression, “What grows together goes together.” If produce grows in the garden during the same season the chances are it’s going to work well together in the kitchen. Pick up a selection of the freshest fruit and vegetables you can find and chop them into similar-sized bites.
- Stone fruit: This recipe calls for peaches, plums, and cherries. Other fruits that would work are nectarines, apricots, blueberries, or even cubed watermelon.
- Tomatoes: For this salad it does not matter which tomato you use as long as it’s ripe. Use grape, cherry, plum, slicer, or any heirloom variety. A garden-ripe, fresh tomato is the ultimate summer produce. When it’s tomato season, I heartily endorse eating them as often as possible!
- Chili pepper: I add just a tad of freshly sliced serrano peppers for a hint of sweet heat. If serrano is too hot, try a jalapeño or diced poblanos.
- Cucumbers: We want some crunch to counter the soft stone fruit. Crisp, juicy, and refreshing, and with grassy melon-like flavor, cucumbers are a cornerstone of this recipe.
Did you know that cucumbers are more than 90 percent water and the phrase “cool as a cucumber” is a scientific fact? The inside temperature of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside air. Yes please, I want built-in cool in my salad.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil works best here because the combination of fruits and vegetables can handle big flavor.
- Herbs: This recipe calls for mint or chives, but the combinations are endless. Cilantro or tarragon would work well, too.
What is a Stone Fruit?
Being a girl from Georgia, I think eating a perfectly ripe peach is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Mind you, it should be over the sink. However, peaches aren’t the only stone fruit in town! They are known as drupes, with a pit in the center.
Stone fruits are in high season during the hottest days of the summer, peaking from June to September. Here are more favorites:
A quick aside: Did you know? Botanically speaking, olives and coconuts are stone fruits (both would be excellent in this salad). Also, raspberries and blackberries are not berries. Technically, they are many small drupes clumped together.
How to Select and Store Stone Fruit
My favorite way to eat stone fruit is fresh out of hand, but knowing how to select, store, and use up ripe fruit provides endless options for enjoyment.
- Look for stone fruits with taut skin and firm flesh.
- Store unripe stone fruit in an airy, cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat.
- Stone fruit is ripe when it gives softly to the touch and has a fragrant, sweet aroma.
- Stone fruit will continue to ripen after picking.
- To help prevent spoiling refrigerate ripe stone fruit, however it’s best to eat them as soon as possible. Refrigeration changes their texture and taste.
- If overly soft and ripe, you should cook them instead.
How to Serve and Store this Summer Salad
In the heat of summer, chilled suppers are a luxury. This salad is a fridge-friendly meal to serve with poached fish, shrimp, or chicken.
It is deliciously decadent with fresh creamy mozzarella or burrata. Make-ahead friendly, it’s also a bold and sassy side dish for summer potlucks.
This salad will keep in the fridge up to two days in a tightly sealed container. If the fruit over-ripens during storage, purée it into a fantastic stone fruit gazpacho or transform it into salsa with the addition of chopped onions and more peppers.
Fan of Fruits in Savory Salads?
Stone Fruit, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
- 2 small peaches, pitted and diced
- 2 large plums, pitted and diced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 1/4 serrano pepper, very thinly sliced, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon best quality sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or chives, or a combination
In a large bowl, combine the peaches, plums, celery, tomatoes, cherries, cucumber, and serrano pepper.
Season and marinate:
Season with salt and black pepper and gently stir to combine. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. The salt will start to pull juices from the fruit and vegetables.
Add oil and herbs:
Drizzle in the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and add the herbs. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Spoon onto a serving plate and garnish with herb leaves.
Serve it immediately. Bon appétit y’all!