Summer is in the air and all up in my kitchen!
And let me tell you! I have been taking full advantage of all the colorful produce this season has to offer!
Herbs, peaches, avocados, etc… oooh my!
I’ve been loving the creativity that the colors and flavors this season’s crops provide for us – It’s the best time of year to get inventive with some serious salad making.
Filling a bowl to the brim with nutritious greens, topping it with an assortment of rainbow-colored fruit and sprinkling some freshly minced herbs on top.
A fresh, natural, healthy seasonal bounty of clean eating goodness, YUM!! And the ingredients are readily available!
Which is exactly how this salad came into existence…
On a casual lunch break, in which I was particularly hungry, I did what I normally do…
Chop, cook and mix my famers market findings in a bowl. Then a sprinkle of garnish and a few squeezes of citrus – and viola! Lunch is served!
However, I knew at a glance that this salad was special, it had to be shared…
…So I ignored my hunger and photographed it to share with all of you!
With that said, I’d like to present to you this delicious bowl jam-packed with the season’s finest! I shall call it the Fully-Loaded Peach & Quinoa Salad!
Sure to bring the happiest of summer vibes to your dinner table <3
Let’s talk about the magic of this salad…
To me, peaches are that iconic symbol that reminds us summer has arrived.
They’re so darn-delicious and ridiculously versatile! I mean come on, how many fruits make a mean topping for your breakfast oatmeal, are delicious when grilled, work well in salads, and can be enjoyed on their own?!
Which was one of the many reasons why I was so excited to read this study conducted on Rich Lady Peaches and Black Splendor Plums and their chemopreventive natural compounds.
The study took extracts of both these fruits and tested them on a particular line of breast cancer cells. It found that both fruits “effectively inhibited the proliferation of the estrogen-independent MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cell line” (source).
Hold on, before you go buying up the world’s supply of peaches and plums, this was just one study and although the results were promising, further research must be done.
Here’s Dr. Weil’s opinion…
“These new laboratory findings are very interesting, and I look forward to hearing about future studies of these extracts. We need cancer treatments that are less toxic than our present chemotherapy agents. If these findings are confirmed, the fruit extracts might turn out to be a promising alternative.” (source)
On a lighter note… did you know peaches and almonds are both classified as drupes, or stone fruits?! (source)
Mmm Mmm Mmm. I love me my cashews.
Did you know that after almonds, cashews are the number one crop in the world?! And are cultivated in more than 30 countries. (source)
Cashews are one of the lower fat nuts, in fact, cashew’s nutrients consist of 46% fat, where as macadamia nuts are 76%! (source)
The fat in cashews is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. (source)
I enjoyed roasted cashews over raw. However, some claim they aren’t as good for you…
Which is why I was excited to read this study, which found that roasting cashews (not all nuts) at a high temperature, for a short period of time, increased their antioxidant levels!
A few articles out there tout cashews as the new antidepressant because they have a tryptophan in them – an amino acid found in milk, some nuts and seeds.
Fresh feta is one of the world’s best cheeses (in my opinion).
Better yet, fresh feta in a salad or with fruit!
Did you know that depending on the brand you buy, feta is made of sheep or goat’s milk, or a combination the two? (source)
Which is why “Feta is easier to digest and much less allergenic and inflammatory than cheeses from cow’s milk” (source)
Making it an awesome choice for my friends who can’t eat or drink cow’s milk! Keep in mind, feta still has lactose in it (although it has a lower amount)!
I know, I know. Not everyone loves arugula.
Which is understandable. When you’re eating greens you aren’t always expecting the heat of a peppery tasting fork-full of arugula!
But here’s a tip! Baby arugula is sweeter and less bitter than matured arugula. If you’re looking to add arugula to your diet (which if you aren’t eating any you probably should!) this is a great way to get used to the taste.
If you REALLY hate arugula, swap it for greens you dig so you can get a healthy serving of leafy greens.
If you can’t stand the taste, try it in a salad with fruit. I find it balances the bitterness of the green.
Arugula is a healthy addition to everyone’s diet!
According to Dr. Oz, “It contains two cancer fighters called kaempferol and quercetin. Researchers have shown that diets containing arugula can reduce the risk of lung cancer.” (source)
As for the other ingredients…
Quinoa for it’s high protein content and delicious flavor! Lime, because everything tastes better with a little citrus! Green onions because I don’t believe you should eat a salad without onions. And strawberries because who doesn’t love a good berry!
I could go on for days about all the other ingredients in this salad!
But I know, I know, you want the recipe now. So let’s get to it!
Fully-Loaded Peach & Quinoa Salad
Enjoy this scrumptious summer salad! Let us know what you think in the comments below <3
- Arugula (1 bag or more. Depends how much lettuce you would like in your salad)
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 4 Green Onions – Finely Chopped
- 1 Peach Sliced
- 1/2 Cup Cashews
- 1 Cup Strawberries
- 1/4 Cup Mint
- Juice from 2 Limes
- 1/2 tea Sea Salt
- In a pot, heat the quinoa, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Once this starts to boil, turn the heat down and place a lid on the pot. Let the quinoa cook until the water has soaked up, should be around for 12-15 minutes. Set this aside (without the lid) so it can cool.
- While the quinoa is cooling, grab a large salad bowl, place a few handfuls of arugula (depending on how much arugula you would like in the salad) into the bowl.
- Finely chop the green onions and mint, slice the peaches and cut the strawberries. Add these and the cashews to the arugula.
- Once the quinoa has cooled, add the quinoa.
- Squeeze the lime juice and add salt. Toss the salad and divide it into 6 plate.