One of my favorite summer go-to salads is this lovely nectarine salad with creamy goat cheese, tasty red onion, and crispy toasted almonds. Drizzle this refreshing nectarine salad with an easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette for the perfect appetizer or lunch.
The best salad with nectarines
When it’s the season, you’ve got to seize it: make all the nectarine recipes! Here’s a recipe we run often: this refreshing nectarine salad.
This gorgeous nectarine salad is truly refreshing and just so delicious. It’s packed with juicy nectarines, toasted nuts, goat cheese crumbles, and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Add savory red onion slivers and pops of sweet corn, and you’ve got a total treat!
I encourage you to give this recipe a try – even if you aren’t into fruit salads. Even my husband eats this for lunch alongside a sandwich, so you know it’s a hit.
The ingredients in this nectarine salad seem almost too easy to be good, but trust me, this combo is oh-so-fresh and delicious. Please scroll down to the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- Nectarines: The most important thing about this nectarine salad recipe? Only use juicy ripe nectarines! If they feel hard when you squeeze them, let them ripen for a few more days before you make this salad. It’s worth the wait.
- Mixed greens: We love a mix of butter lettuce, spinach, and other greens.
- Toasted almonds greatly enhance the nutty, crunchy flavor. It’s defiantly worth the time to toast them.
- Red onion adds some savory punch to the salad. Slice them lengthwise for a pretty presentation.
- Canned corn is easiest, but you can also use fresh corn from the cob. And if you have leftover grilled corn, it’s divine!
- Goat cheese: I added crumbled chevre goat cheese for a creamy tanginess, but it’s almost as good as feta cheese.
- Balsamic dressing: This easy homemade vinaigrette is made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
How to ripen nectarines
When you shop for nectarines, there can be a lot of variation in ripeness. You might encounter them rock hard or so plump and juicy that they’re almost bursting.
If you start with hard, underripe fruit, allow several days to ripen them, especially if they aren’t in season. Here are some tips on how to ripen nectarines:
- Place the nectarines in a brown paper bag.
- Add a banana to the bag. Bananas emit ethylene gas, which helps the bananas ripen faster and at the same time.
- Gently close the bag. This traps the gas inside.
- Wait for a couple of days, about 1 to 5, depending on the ripeness of your nectarines.
- Check every day by gently squeezing the nectarines to see if the flesh feels soft.
How to make nectarine salad
Making nectarine salad is a breeze! The recipe takes just a few minutes to toss together, and you can serve it as a side dish or bring it to an event or potluck.
#1: Toast almonds
- Add the nuts to a dry, non-stick pan (no oil or fat) over medium heat.
- Roast, shaking the pan and often stirring with a wooden spoon, until the almonds are golden brown and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Remove immediately from the stove and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking process.
#2: Prep fresh ingredients
- Cut the nectarines down the middle and remove the pits.
- Then chop the nectarines into thick slices. You can peel the fruit if desired, but I leave the skin on because I like the extra fiber. Thinly slice the red onion.
#3: Mix the dressing
- In a jar, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and a few cracks of ground black pepper until thick and emulsified.
#4: Assemble the salad
- To serve, place the greens into a large mixing bowl.
- Top with the nectarine slices, toasted almonds, red onion, goat cheese, and corn.
- Then drizzle with the dressing and toss gently to disperse the vinaigrette. Enjoy immediately.
Grilled nectarine salad
Grilling the nectarines gives them a wonderful grilled, smoky-sweet flavor. Grilling nectarines is so easy:
- Cut your nectarines in half and twist the halves of the pit. Cut each half into 3 pieces and toss them in a little oil.
- Grill the nectarines for a few minutes on each side. You’re ready!
What I love about this nectarine salad is that it’s completely customizable. You can make some easy ingredient swaps depending on what’s available and on sale in the grocery store. Here’s what I recommend:
- Nectarines: You can swap out the nectarines for peaches, apricots, strawberries, or blueberries.
- Cheese: I love the tangy, creamy notes of goat cheese, but feel free to use crumbled feta or grilled halloumi if you prefer more of a salty kick. Parmesan shavings, smoked gouda chunks, or sliced Manchego are super tasty too.
- Almonds: Toasted walnuts, pistachio, hazelnuts, pecans, or even sunflower seeds would be delicious.
- Corn: Skip or substitute grilled corn or fresh corn cut from the cob.
- Onion: Omit the red onion or use shallots for a gentler aroma.
- Dressing: Use maple syrup instead of honey, and try a squirt of lemon juice instead of balsamic vinegar. If you want something creamier, blend 1 tablespoon of sour cream into the dressing.
Want to make this nectarine salad more of a main meal? Feel free to add your favorite protein, such as:
- Grilled chicken: Double the balsamic vinaigrette and use it as a marinade for the chicken.
- Grilled salmon is a delicious addition for fish lovers.
- Vegetarian: Add 1 cup of cooked chickpeas or quinoa to keep it vegetarian. Grilled tofu is tasty as well.
How to store nectarine salad
Nectarine salad is best served fresh and right away. Whenever you cook with fresh fruit and greens, it needs to be enjoyed before the fruit browns and the salad wilts. Here are some tips for storing the ingredients:
- Keep the salad fresh: Store your nectarine salad in an airtight container or tightly wrapped salad bowl in the fridge without the dressing. It will be good for 3 to 4 days.
- Drizzle with lemon juice: If you know you’ll prep the salad ahead of time, toss the nectarines with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Store the dressing: The dressing will stay fresh in a sealed glass jar for up to a week. Simply dress the salad once you’re ready to eat so the greens don’t get soggy.
- 1/4 cup / 25 g / 0.9 oz sliced almonds
- 6 cups mixed greens
- 3 large ripe nectarines
- 1/2 small red onion
- 1/2 cup / 75 g / 2.5 oz canned corn, drained
- 2 oz / 60 g soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml / 2 fl oz olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- Toast almonds. Add the nuts to a dry, non-stick pan (no oil or fat) over medium heat. Roast, shaking the pan and often stirring with a wooden spoon, until the almonds are golden brown and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove immediately from the stove and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking process.
- Prep fresh ingredients. Cut the nectarines down the middle and remove the pits. Then chop the nectarines into thick slices. You can peel the fruit if desired, but I leave the skin on because I like the extra fiber. Thinly slice the red onion.
- Mix the dressing. In a jar, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and a few cracks of ground black pepper until thick and emulsified.
- Assemble the salad. To serve, place the greens into a large mixing bowl. Top with the nectarine slices, toasted almonds, red onion, goat cheese, and corn. Then drizzle with the dressing and toss gently to disperse the vinaigrette. Enjoy immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 370mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 16gProtein: 7g
Reasons to love nectarine salad
- Taste: Nectarine salad has tons of flavor, from the earthy greens to the sweet nectarines to the pungent onion and tangy dressing.
- Texture: The tender, juicy nectarines are a delicious balance to the creamy goat cheese and crisp, crunchy veggies.
- Ease: This salad recipe is a breeze and only takes a couple of minutes to whip up. And it’s so easy to make your own dressing.
More salad recipes
Homemade salads are king! Everyone loves salad at our house, and you better believe that I make all the salads. Here are some of my favorite recipes: