Your Ultimate Guide to the Perfect (Healthy) Summer Spread, Part 5
Welcome back to the fifth and final installment in our Ultimate Guide to the Perfect (Healthy) Summer Spread series! We hope these weekly recipes and healthy tips from Nutritionist Katie Shields, MS, RD of Honestly Nourished make it easy for you to celebrate summer healthfully and tastefully. This week, Katie’s back to share a dessert recipe that makes the most of one of our favorite seasonal fruits—peaches!
The last recipe of this series is all about savoring the peak of stone fruit season (late June through early September) with a deliciously simple dessert—grilled peaches with vanilla cashew cream. If you’ve never grilled peaches before, you’re in for a real treat! The heat from the grill amplifies the fruit’s natural sugars and softens the peaches to melt-in-your-mouth status. Yum.
While I know I’ve emphasized before that the best quality produce will be found at your local farmers market, it’s especially true of peaches. Stone fruits—those containing a large hard pit in the center instead of smaller seeds—are very sensitive to temperature changes. If you’ve ever purchased a peach or plum at the grocery only to get home and be underwhelmed by its lack of flavor or mealy texture, chances are it endured a chilling injury in transit. Because peaches are best when they remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (and even better when picked fresh the day of at a local orchard), head to the farmers market or a produce stand instead of the grocery.
When choosing peaches, select those that have a slight give when pressed. They should be peach in color (obviously!)—if there is any green areas on the skin, it signals that it was likely picked before it was ripe. You can also smell the peach to gauge the intensity of its flavor.
Like most fruit, peaches are a great source of vitamin C—an antioxidant essential for radiant skin, immune health, and energy. Most of the nutrition is in the fuzzy outer layer so don’t peel the peaches before grilling them. I paired this recipe with a simple cashew cream to add a depth of flavor and texture that is a bit more complex than a dairy product. Of course, topping these bad boys with vanilla ice cream is always an option, but if you’ve never made cashew cream, it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I promise you won’t regret it and may even become hooked!
GRILLED PEACHES VANILLA CINNAMON CASHEW CREAM
Serves 8 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Grill Time: 5-8 minutes
For The Peaches:
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1/4 cup raw salted pecan halves, chopped (sliced almonds or chopped walnuts also work well)
1-2 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil
cinnamon for dusting
- Brush peaches with high heat cooking oil and grill flesh side down until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. To get those sought after grill marks, turn the peaches at an angle midway through. The peaches should be softened but not too mushy.
- Transfer to a plate and top with cashew cream (recipe below), cinnamon, and crushed nuts.
For the Cashew Cream:
2 cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked
3 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked
1 cup filtered water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
- Soak the cashews and dates for at least two hours—longer if you do not own a high-speed blender.
- Drain and rinse cashews and dates. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.
The ratio of cashews to water outlined should produce a pudding thick texture. If you prefer it to be thinner, simply add more water!