Savoring Summer Balsamic Chicken with Grilled Peach and Arugula Salad
Our family absolutely loves summer! We also love picking our own fruit and going to local farm markets! When peaches are in season, I love to make this delicious salad. I bet you will love it as much as I do!
This simple salad of grilled chicken, peaches, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect combo of sweet and savory. Lean chicken breast gets a quick marinade in a tangy balsamic dressing and it’s onto the grill. Peaches and red onions are grilled, allowing their natural sugars to caramelize and become sweet and smoky. I like to use slightly firmer peaches here because they’ll soften as they cook.
I love arugula, not only for its high vitamin C levels which support collagen growth, but for its peppery bite. Unlike regular lettuce, it’s also sturdy enough to hold up to the heat of the warm chicken and fruit. Quinoa plays a supporting role here, adding texture and fiber without impacting blood-sugar levels. It’s also a great source of amino acids that help in skin repair.
My salads need a crunch, so I sometimes include pumpkin seeds, which are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and other nutrients like zinc and magnesium that our skin cells crave for growth and repair.
If you’re having guests over and want to maximize your time with them, make the dressing and quinoa ahead of time, slice your peaches and onions, and start marinating the chicken right before guests arrive. The rest is as easy as turning on the grill!
Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Peachy Arugula Salad
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for grilling
- 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 ¼ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (organic and/or cage-free)
- 2 peaches, sliced into 8 wedges each
- 1 small red onion, sliced into ¼ inch rings
- 5 ounces baby arugula (about 5 cups, loosely packed)
- ½ cup fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces
- ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cook quinoa. Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
Preheat grill to high. In mixing bowl, mix 3 tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place chicken on plate, sprinkle with chopped garlic, and drizzle all over with 2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette. Allow to marinate briefly while grill preheats. When grill is ready, cook chicken for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Bigger chicken breasts will need more time and will be done when thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Set chicken aside. Drizzle peaches and sliced onions with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Reduce heat of grill to medium and grill peaches 1 minute per side or until just starting to release their juices and and onions 3 minutes per side, or until softened. Remove from grill.
Assemble salad. Toss arugula, basil, and cooked quinoa with 2-3 tablespoons vinaigrette. Place on platter. Arrange grilled peaches, onions, and sliced chicken over top. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and drizzle with additional dressing if desired.