Salads can be so simple, and, more often than not, can end up being a little boring, especially if you get stuck into the habit of always using traditional ‘salad’ ingredients like lettuce, tomato and cucumber – which I’m guilty of! I probably eat some form of salad almost every day of the year so it’s easy to fall into a routine. Not that I want to knock cucumber or tomato – they’re great and can be so delicious with a lot of things. There’s a reason why the Greeks gobble so much of them with feta and olives..! But you can be so much more adventurous with salads and create the most interesting and unusual combinations. Pistachios and peaches are far from traditional and they make such a refreshing and tasty salad.
Peaches are my favourite fruit, hands down. I sometimes waver about whether I prefer nectarines, but peaches usually win. They seem more ‘natural’ too, because nectarines are peaches with a recessive allele that makes their skin smooth, which humans have cultivated over the years. Peaches are rich in vitamin C which is a great antioxidant and can help fight against skin damage and improve overall skin texture. They are also a great source of potassium which helps support heart health. I also love peaches because they’re in season at the moment and they come from Spain, so they haven’t had to travel too far. Similarly, pistachios are grown abundantly in the Mediterranean which is pretty good for those of us living in Britain. It seems like pistachios are often forgotten about in favour of almonds, cashews or peanuts. But they’re a great source of protein, especially when eaten raw, and they are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid as well as being a storehouse of minerals such as copper, iron, potassium and manganese – all of which are essential trace minerals.
Watercress is amazing stuff and I’m so lucky that it’s grown locally in Hampshire about fifteen minutes away from home. It’s been grown near Winchester and Alresford for hundreds of years in the little chalk streams scattered around the Itchen Valley – proven by the fact that there’s an old steam train railway (which still operates and you can take rides on) called the Watercress Line (I can sometimes see the smoke from its funnel from the top of my garden!). Eating watercress is a great way of getting your daily amounts of vitamins K, A and B. In fact, in a recent study in the CDC Journal Preventing Chronic Disease watercress was named the top ‘powerhouse’ food in a table of fruit and vegetables, with the highest nutrient-dense score. So there are so many great reasons to eat watercress! It has such a delicious peppery taste, and its spiciness complements the sweet peach and subtle yet distinctive flavour of pistachios. I considered a dressing for this salad and have actually tried it with a balsamic-based one but it really doesn’t need it – the juiciness of the peaches and the flavours of these three simple ingredients are perfect on their own.
- 1 peach
- A handful of raw pistachios
- A couple of handfuls of watercress
Simply slice the peach into crescent-shaped pieces and mix together with the pistachios and watercress. Serve and enjoy with a cool glass of water!