Inspiration: Peaches are at their juicy best in mid-summer thru fall when they’ve had time to ripen. This salad celebrates this wonderful summertime treat by blending sweet caramelized peach flavor with creamy cotija cheese, spicy pecans and salty bacon to create a refreshing and filling salad that’s a perfect side dish at a summertime BBQ or a standalone meal.
Pictured: Grilled fruit is a wonderful summer and fall treat. The natural sugars of the fruit caramelize when exposed to the grill's heat, creating a crispy exterior with soft interior that softens as the fruit’s sweetness enhances.
Chef Dan's Peaches and Arugula Salad
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Grill Time: 10 minutes
- 5 oz. fresh arugula (or 8 cups)
- 1 tbl. olive oil
- ¼ lb. thick cut bacon, cut into large pieces and cooked until crispy
- 4 oz. fresh cotija cheese
- 4 large peaches, quartered and tossed with approximately 1 tsp. vegetable oil, then grilled until char marks appear
- ¾ c. MAD Spice Pecans*
- 1 tbl. Balsamic Reduction
- Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Pictured: Gathering all the neccessary ingredients.
MAD Spice Pecans Instructions:
*You can purchase MAD Spice at any MAD Greens restaurant or season your own pecans using your preferred spice.
Roughly chop ¾ c. pecans and toss with 1 teaspoon of canola oil and 1 teaspoon of MAD Spice.
Spread the coated pecans in a single layer on a baking tray and cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Be careful to not let the pecans burn, they should be brown not black.
Pictured: The pefect MAD Spice pecans!
Balsamic Reduction Instructions:
- Add ½ c. balsamic vinegar into a sauce pan; heat on the stove until liquid starts to thicken and the volume reduces by half. (Chef’s Tip: The final product should have a syrup consistency.)
- Set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, toss fresh arugula with olive oil until greens are coated and arrange on a plate.
- Add bacon, cotija cheese, MAD Spice pecans, grilled peach slices and gently toss.
- Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
- Add salt and pepper to taste; serve family style and enjoy!
Pictured: Drizzle that basalmic reduction!
Pictured: The finished product; a delicious summer salad!
If you're looking to get seasonally inspired, visit NationalSaladWeek.com
between Sept. 12th - Sept. 18th to claim your free MAD Greens salad. We have more than 40+ fresh ingredients and 20+ homemade dressings to wow your taste buds and we hope to see you at one of our MAD Greens restaurants
About the Chef
Pictured: Dan Long hosting a homemade salad dressing tutorial.
Dan Long is Co-Founder and Chief Culinary Officer for Colorado-based MAD Greens. Dan and business partner Marley Hodgson founded Mad Greens – Eat Better in 2004. They were intent on addressing the lack of fresh, fast and healthy fare available to the average American consumer. In 2016, salad restaurants and consumer demand for them are moving into the mainstream, but back in 2004, MAD Greens was one of the pioneers of the counter-serve salad concept. Today MAD Greens operates 25 corporately-owned restaurants in Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Utah.
After a successful career as an equities trader on Wall Street, Dan attended The Institute of Culinary Education, one of the leading culinary schools in the country. He subsequently apprenticed at Veritas, one of New York’s premier 3-star restaurants and perennial Zagat favorite and was sous-chef/steward at ONE C.P.S., located in New York’s Plaza Hotel and part of the world renowned Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group.
Dan holds a degree in History from Colorado College along with his culinary degree. In addition to his board membership with the Colorado Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association, Dan serves on the board of directors for the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts.
Through MAD Greens, Dan has brought his knowledge and love of fine food to every day eating.