Lately I’ve been very into putting fruit in salad. Not fruit salad mind you; I’m talking about a savory combo of crunchy vegetables, a touch of sweetness from in-season fruit (think watermelon, stone fruit, berries), with the crunch of caramelized nuts or toasted bread, and something creamy like goat cheese or avocado. It’s a winning combination and I am here for it this summer. So when I got my hands on Love is Served, the new cookbook from the team behind Café Gratitude (a west coast vegan restaurant I’ve loved for years), this Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad with Spicy Pepitas, Cashew Mozzarella, and Goji Chipotle Dressing immediately caught my eye. From Café Gratitude:
At the peak of summer, this makes a beautiful entrée salad for lunch or a first course for dinner. It’s the ideal backdrop against which to showcase perfectly ripe peaches, but the grill will turn even a slightly green peach into a sweet smoky nugget by caramelizing the sugars.
It’s already become a new summer favorite at our house, and the fact that it’s bursting with colorful, good-for-you and plant-based ingredients is an added bonus.
There are a few components to this salad, so feel free to make them all, or simplify the recipe to suit your taste and how much time you want to give it. The goji chipotle dressing is a good one to double and keep in the fridge all week – ditto with the spicy pepitas which I store in the freezer (though you can also just throw in a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds.) Since I don’t stick to a vegan diet, I use real mozzarella and just a bit of crumbled bacon in this, but the coconut bacon is a pretty delish plant-based option if that’s your jam. In other words, there are a million ways to make this salad work for you.
Hope y’all give this healthy, summery grilled peach and asparagus salad a try! Leave a comment and let us know what you think, and check out Love is Served right here for loads more beautiful and delish vegan recipes from Café Gratitude. It’s been so much fun to make some of my favorite dishes from the restaurant at home – I’m especially loving the SF Mission Burrito, Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies, and am planning to make the raw Key Lime Pie (with avocados in the filling!) for our family this week. Scroll on for the recipe…
- Himalayan sea salt, to taste
- 16 medium asparagus spears
- 4 large peaches
- extra-virgin olive oil, for grilling
- 1 bunch Italian parsley
- 2-inch piece of lemon peel
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 cups arugula
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup shaved or thinly sliced fennel
- 1/4 cup cashew mozzarella
- 1 recipe Goji Chipotle Dressing (see below)
- Spicy Pepitas (see below)
- Coconut bacon, optional
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring 6 cups lightly salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Once the water is at a rolling boil, blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes, until it's bright green and tender but still crisp. Immediately transfer the asparagus to the ice water. Let cool for 1 minute before transferring to a plate. Pat the asparagus dry with a paper towel and set aside.
- Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high. Cut the peached into 1/2-inch thick slices. Brush the peaches and asparagus with olive oil and arrange them on the grill. Cook until peaches have softened slightly and have nice grill marks, about 2 min. per side. Remove peaches and asparagus from grill.
- Make the gremolata: pile parsley, lemon peel, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon salt on cutting board and chop it all together, mixing as you go, until the texture is fine and sprinkleable. (this mixture can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.)
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together arugula, spinach, and shaved fennel. Arrange greens on large serving plate and place grilled peaches and asparagus on top. Add crumbled cashew mozzarella, a drizzle of goji chipotle dressing, and sprinkle of spicy pepitas and gremolata. Finish with coconut bacon, if desired.
Goji Chipotle Dressing
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
- 1 tablespoon dried goji berries, soaked for 4 hours or overnight
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 medjool date, pitted
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Drain and rinse the pumpkin seeds and goji berries
- In a blender, combine soaked pumpkin seeds and goji berries with orange juice, lime juice, dates, salt, and chipotle powder and blend until smooth. With blender running on medium speed, slowly drizzle in olive oil and blend until emulsified. Store in refrigerator for up to a week.
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a medium bowl, add seeds, juice, chipotle powder, salts, chili powder, and cayenne. Mix until seeds are well coated, then transfer to a baking sheeet.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the seeds are dry, mixing frequently so they don't burn. All to cool, and keep in an airtight container (or freeze for up to 2 months.)