Arugula Peach Salad With Walnut Dressing

This beautiful arugula peach salad with walnut dressing puts those juicy summer peaches in the spotlight and is easy to prep ahead. Just add the deliciously rich, nutty walnut dressing before serving.

The two main components of this peach salad are fresh peaches and walnut dressing. Beyond that, build in whatever you like or have on hand.

arugula peach salad with walnut dressing in bowl.

I like to make the salad with greens, shredded celeriac and radishes. Plus, a couple of other simple ingredients like avocado and goat cheese if I have them on hand.

If you’re not familiar with celeriac, it’s worth a try. Celeriac is a mild white root vegetable that is eaten raw or cooked. It tastes like a cross between celery and turnip. For this recipe, I cut off the knobby outside and ends, then grate it with a box grater. It complements the sweet peaches nicely, adds texture and looks pretty.

The walnut dressing is delicious. Full of texture, richness and a touch of sweetness and tartness. I’m pretty sure you will be looking for other ways to use such as drizzled over grilled veggies. And, like the peach salad, you can vary it to your liking.

Bottom line: This is a rich, beautiful and delicious salad – best during peak peach season. Serve it on its’ own with soup or bread, as a side dish or with a protein for a complete meal.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

Arugula, peaches, radishes, celeriac, walnuts, lemon zest, white balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Arugula & other greens, peach, radishes, celeriac, walnuts, lemon, white balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic, maple syrup, salt and pepper.

Forage through your fridge and pantry to make the changes or additions you like. Here are a few suggestions.

Salad greens: The peppery flavor of arugula or baby arugula goes really well with the sweetness of the peaches. It might be an acquired taste, though, with its slightly bitter, sweet, spicy, pungent flavor. If you don’t like arugula, try frisée lettuce, gem lettuce, baby romaine lettuce, baby spinach or a spring lettuce mix. Actually, any of your favorite salad greens will do. I like a mix.

Walnuts: If you don’t have walnuts (or have an allergy to them), substitute them with pecans, skinned hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. Toast them first.

Peaches: OK, this is a peach salad, so I do suggest peaches 🙂 – fresh ripe peaches – but you can substitute them with apples or pears. You can also use grilled peaches to make a grilled peach salad. Wickedly good!

Garnish and add-ins: Try avocado, feta or soft goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, shaved pecorino, red onions, pomegranate seeds (more color!) or cooked quinoa. A little bit of fresh parsley, fresh basil or thyme are other great options.

Step-by-step instructions

whole celeriac with peel beside it.
Cut thick skin off celeriac with a sharp knife.
toasted walnuts in pan.
Toast walnuts.
diced peaches, sliced radishes, grated celeriac.
Slice radishes, dice peaches and grate the celeriac with a box grater.
walnut dressing in black dish.
Make the walnut dressing in a food processor.
arugula peach salad with walnut dressing on white platter.
Assemble the peach salad on a shallow serving platter or large salad bowl and drizzle on the walnut dressing.
arugula peach salad with walnut dressing in bowl.

Tips

  1. Hold out for ripe juicy peaches.
  2. Resist the temptation to substantially increase the peach salad without increasing the walnut dressing. You want to keep the same proportions approximately. No need to obsess though. A bit more or less is not going to matter.

What to serve with peach arugula salad

As a side salad, this peach salad recipe pairs beautifully with just about any main dish. I love to serve it with grilled turkey breast, spicy honey-lime chicken, maple cedar planked salmon, lemon butter herb baked trout or marinated flank steak.

You can also serve this as a salad on its own with some crusty bread for a light lunch. Or add a protein like salmon, chicken, tofu or baked butterflied shrimp for a more substantial meal.

Another option is a soup-and-salad meal. Try it with a vegetable red lentil soup or a squash apple soup.

Shortcut

Skip the walnut dressing (if you must) and use a good quality store-bought salad dressing like pomegranate, balsamic vinaigrette or honey Dijon dressing.

Make Ahead

  • The arugula peach salad can be prepped ahead. Add the walnut dressing (which can be made several days earlier) just before serving to avoid wilting,
  • If you are using avocado, apples or pears and want to cut them up a couple of hours ahead, toss them with a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  • This salad is best served fresh and made on the day of serving. If you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for no more than a day and expect them to be soggy (but still tasty!)

Recipe FAQs

How can you tell if peaches are ripe?

You can’t tell a ripe peach by its color. A red-blushed peach is not necessarily ripe. Avoid peaches that are wrinkly and bruised, hard as a rock or too squishy/mushy. Perfectly ripe peaches have a fragrant sweet smell, slight ‘give’ or softness when gently squeezed and slight wrinkling around the stem.

How can I ripen peaches quickly?

Unless the peaches are really hard, a day or two on the counter will ripen peaches quickly. Near a window is best. A great way to hasten ripening is to place peaches in a paper bag. For even quicker ripening, place a banana or apple in the bag with the peaches.

Is arugula healthy?

According to Healthline, arugula is a nutrient-dense food that is high in fiber and several vital nutrients, and low in sugar, calories, carbohydrates, and fat. It can be a bit gassy though!

What is the best way to toast nuts?

Here’s an article on how to toast nuts in the microwave, stove top or oven. I prefer toasting nuts in a dry in a small sauté pan on the stovetop over as it’s easier to cook the nuts evenly, it’s quick and you are right there to make sure they don’t burn. I like the oven method as well, but it takes a bit longer.

peach salad with walnut dressing on white plate p

More Peach Recipes

If you love peaches, here are a few other peach recipes to try.

Or check out our full list of delicious peach recipes.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

arugula peach salad with walnut dressing in bowl.
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4.86 from 14 votes

Arugula Peach Salad With Walnut Dressing

This beautiful peach salad recipe puts those juicy ripe peaches of summer in the spotlight and is easy to prep ahead. Just add the deliciously rich, nutty walnut dressing before serving.
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 -6

Ingredients

Salad ingredients

  • 2 -3 ripe peaches, sliced or cut in chunks no need to remove skin
  • 1 cup shredded celeriac (about 1/2 celeriac peeled and grated with box grater)
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 6 cups arugula or other lettuce greens Note 1

Garnish and add-ins (optional)

  • chopped/sliced avocado, feta cheese or goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, 1/2 cup/92 grams cooked quinoa, red onion, herbs, etc.

Walnut Dressing

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, Note 2 or even 1 cup/110 grams
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest from 1 small lemon or 1/2 large)
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar Note 3
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • salt and black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
  • Optional: 1-2 tsp of chopped thyme or chives
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • TOAST WALNUTS: Do this first. While nuts are toasting, do your chopping and cutting. Heat oven or toaster oven to 350F/177C. Place walnuts in pan. Roast for 8-11 minutes until fragrant. Let cool.
  • ASSEMBLE SALAD: Place greens on a platter or wide mouthed bowl. Scatter peaches and radishes on top and any other garnish/add-ins you're using.
  • MAKE WALNUT DRESSING: Add all walnut dressing ingredients to food processor. Pulse until walnuts are coarsely chopped. If you don't have a processor, chop walnuts, add other ingredients except oil, then whisk in oil until well blended. Drizzle dressing over peach salad.

Recipe Notes

  1. Salad greens: Use peppery arugula or, instead, frisee lettuce, gem lettuce, baby romaine lettuce or spring lettuce mix. Actually, any greens will do.
  2. Walnut alternatives: If you don’t have walnuts (or have an allergy to them), use pecans, skinned hazelnuts or macademia nuts instead. Toast them first.
  3. White balsamic vinegar alternatives: white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
  4. Make Ahead: 
    • The peach salad can be prepped ahead. Add the walnut dressing (which can be made several days ahead) just before serving to avoid wilting.
    • If you are using avocado, apples or pears and want to cut them up a couple of hours ahead, toss them with a bit of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
    • This salad is best served fresh and made on the day of serving. If you do have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for no more than a day and expect them to be soggy (but still tasty!)
 
Nutrition values are estimates based on 4 generous portions and 3/4 cup walnuts. 

Nutrition

Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 470mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4243IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

I adapted recipes for the walnut dressing from Food and Wine Magazine and Epicurious.

4.86 from 14 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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