Fresh Peaches? Make Peach Salad!
I have a fantasy about living in a place where I can have lemon, lime, and avocado trees in my yard. I’d throw in mango and passionfruit trees, too. Until that time, I’m lucky enough to have awesome friends with a peach tree in theirs. And they share!
From the moment I received a shopping bag bursting with freshly picked fruit, I started thinking about what I could make with these beauties. A summery peach salad came to mind.
♥ Related: Red Cabbage & Apple Slaw
BBQ Chicken & Peach Salad Tips
What’s more summery than a sweet, fresh peach? BBQ! And so this salad was born. There are a few things that I think make this successful (besides the fresh peaches, of course!)
- The greens. I thought cabbage could stand up better than lettuce to the big BBQ flavors of the chicken and vinaigrette, but I chose a more delicate cabbage: savoy. This gives a more easy-to-chew texture while still holding up to a thicker dressing. Napa cabbage is similar in texture and would likely work well here too.
- The chicken breast. I’ve determined that the best way to cook a boneless, skinless chicken breast is to cut it horizontally in half creating two thinner cutlets from one breast. This allows the chicken to cook very quickly and evenly which helps the chicken breast stay fairly moist.
- The vinaigrette. BBQ sauce vinaigrette! I mean. C’mon!
- Crispy onions. When I was a kid, crispy onions were only used for green bean casserole (and I’d spend plenty of time trying to steal those fried onions while my mom was cooking.) These days, I keep them in my house at all times to add crispy garnish to salads and grain bowls. They are perfect for this salad!
Overall, this is a pretty simple salad. It came together in a snap. I loved how the sweet peaches played off of the vinegary dressing. The cabbage gave a nice crunch and soaked up plenty of the BBQ sauce vinaigrette without getting soggy like lettuce would. And the well-seared BBQ rubbed chicken was flavorful and moist!
Peach season doesn’t last long in these parts, but I can almost always find ripe mangoes in my local markets. I think a mango would be a good substitute in this salad when good fresh, ripe peaches are harder to find.
BBQ Chicken & Peach Salad
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tbsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp sweet smoked paprika
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
BBQ Sauce Vinaigrette
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ tsp BBQ rub
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 1 head Savoy cabbage shredded thinly
- 3 ripe peaches washed and sliced thinly
- 2 small carrots julienned
- 2 green onions julienned
- ½ French fried onions
- Mix together all ingredients for the BBQ rub in a small container. You will likely have some left over, so mix it in a container that you can seal and store any remainder.
- Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally so you end up with 4 thinner cutlets. Season liberally with the BBQ rub mixture leaving at least 1 1/2 tsp of the BBQ rub for the vinaigrette. Let the chicken sit with the rub while you prepare the vegetables and vinaigrette.
- Cut the cabbage, peaches, carrots, and green onions. Using a knife, shred the cabbage as thinly as possible. Wash and dry in a salad spinner.For the peaches, wash them and cut away from the seed then cut into thin slices. For the carrots, wash, peel, and cut into matchstick size pieces using a knife or julienne peeler (which is a favorite tool of mine!) For the green onions, wash and cut into matchstick sized pieces by cutting in quarters lengthwise and then into about 2 inch pieces. Toss the cabbage, peaches, carrots, and green onions together in a bowl.
- Whisk together the cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and BBQ rub. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking while you are drizzling to ensure the vinaigrette remains emulsified.
- Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat until the pan is hot. Add bit of oil to the pan. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 165F degrees. Set aside to cool slightly.
- On a large platter or in a large bowl, add the salad vegetables. Slice the chicken breast into long strips and place on top of the salad. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Top with crispy French fried onions. Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side.
- Any remainder BBQ rub is great to have on hand for seasoning chicken, pork, or fish.
- For the BBQ sauce vinaigrette, I think a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce works best here. I used Sweet Baby Rays.
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