Take advantage of peach season with this light Peach Melba Salad that includes peaches, raspberries, goat cheese and a dreamy lemon-mint vinaigrette.Jump to Recipe
Next up on my parade of peach recipes is this Peach Melba Salad with Chicken and a Mint Vinaigrette. This sounds like a lot of salad, but aside from cooking the chicken, and mixing the dressing the rest of the salad comes together in about 5 minutes or less – how long does it take you to slice a peach? Boom! Salad!
Peach Melba is traditionally a dessert made with peaches that are topped with a raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was invented in 1892 by the venerable Auguste Escoffier for opera singer Nellie Melba, hence the name.
This salad takes the idea of peach melba and turns it into a beautiful salad instead of a dessert, and you won’t want to miss this dish. We’re swinging into high peach season here in the Midwest, so make this salad while you can.
Other Peach Recipes You'll Love
Making Peach Melba Salad
One of the beauties of salads like this is that you can make so much of it ahead. The dressing does contain fresh herbs, so it won’t keep for more than a few days in the fridge before it starts to oxidize, but you can make the dressing a day ahead.
You can also cook the chicken up to three days in advance, and just put it all together when you’re ready to eat.
However you want to cook the chicken is up to you. Unfortunately, I don’t have a regular grill at the moment, so I chose to sauté my chicken in a pan, but grilled chicken would be absolutely wonderful here.
A word about cooking chicken. Most chicken breasts that you buy at the store these days are ridiculously large and trying to cook them through as they are would take FOREVER. You would also completely overcook the thinner end by the time the thickest parts are done cooking. To combat this, you can cut the chicken in half horizontally. Here is a post and video that explains the easiest way to do this. If you don’t want to do that, you can generally ask the butcher at your store to do it, and most of them will.
I’m also normally a huge proponent of chicken thighs over chicken breasts, but I do think that breasts work better in this recipe. The fattiness of the thigh, while far preferable in most recipes, just seems out of place with the general lightness of the rest of the ingredients.
- Chicken Breast
- Greens (I used a spring mix, but spinach or arugula would be fantastic)
- Goat Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Alterations and Substitutions
Chicken: Although I recommend chicken breast for this, feel free to substitute chicken thighs. You could also make this with shrimp or salmon, or your favorite vegetarian or vegan protein.
Raspberries: If you don’t like raspberries, you could substitute cherries and that would be absolutely amazing. In fact, I think I might go do that right now.
Greens: any tender green works here. I wouldn’t recommend kale or any very bitter green. You need something fairly light that wont overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.
Goat Cheese: if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese (why???) you could substitute feta, burrata, or fresh mozzarella with marvelous results.
Mint: I think the dressing is actually what totally makes this recipe, so I would urge you strongly to at least try the dressing as it is at first, but if you really hate mint, you could make this with fresh basil, rosemary, cilantro or parsley.
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Peach Melba Salad
- ¾ pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 10 ounce package spring mix*
- 2 large peaches slices
- 1 six ounce package raspberries
- 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- salt and pepper
- If the chicken breasts are thick, cut them in half horizontally to make thinner pieces that will cook faster.
- Season chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil.
- Once oil shimmers, add the chicken and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. The best way to tell if chicken is cooked is to check it with a meat thermometer. I use this one. You want the breast to register 165 degrees at the thickest part.
- Once the chicken is cooked, set it aside to cool as you prepare the dressing and the rest of the salad. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, then thinly slice it.
- In a large bowl, add the lettuce, and top with the peaches, raspberries, sliced chicken and goat cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy!
To Make the Dressing
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil, honey and chopped mint, and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.