Juicy peaches, peppery arugula, tender quinoa, creamy goat cheese, fresh mint, and toasted almonds are the stars of this show. They come together in this delicious and beautiful simple quinoa salad recipe. We know you’ll find that this Quinoa Arugula Salad is the perfect choice for when fresh peaches are in season.
Quinoa Arugula Salad: A must-make Peach recipe
This simple arugula salad recipe is tossed in a flavorful lemon vinaigrette. It’s hearty enough to eat on its own as a main dish but also is a great match as the side dish for chicken, steak, and grilled or baked salmon. The flavors are so fresh and will certainly perk up everyone’s taste buds.
Ingredients to make Quinoa Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese
Here’s what you need to make this flavor- and nutrient-packed salad today:
- Uncooked quinoa – use regular or tri-color quinoa
- Arugula – you’ll need 2-3 packed cups of arugula
- Peach – if peaches are out of season and hard to find, you can substitute sliced strawberries or another favorite fruit
- Persian cucumbers – or use any type of cucumber cut into small slices, quarters, or half moons. For a fancy presentation, use a vegetable peeler to peel a few long strips from the outside of the cucumber before slicing it, which makes decorative “notches” in each cucumber slice
- Red onion
- Goat cheese – may substitute feta cheese or shaved Parmesan cheese. Omit the cheese or use dairy-free cheese shavings for a vegan or dairy-free salad
- Almond – or substitute pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or any favorite nut of choice. For a nut-free salad, use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in place of the almonds
- Fresh mint leaves – or use any fresh herbs you have on hand, such as fresh basil or fresh thyme
Ingredients for the Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette:
- Avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Shallots – or use finely diced red onion
- Dijon mustard
- Honey – or substitute maple syrup
- Kosher salt and black pepper
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How to make this Arugula Quinoa Peach Salad Recipe in 4 Steps
Follow these quick steps to make Peach Arugula Salad today!
- Make the quinoa: First, rinse 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa in fine mesh strainer under cold water. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup of water and the quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover with a lid, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove the saucepan from the heat, let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes, covered, then fluff with a fork. Set the quinoa aside to cool. This step can be done a day or two in advance.
- Toast the almonds: Place a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced almonds to the hot skillet, and then heat until the nuts give off a toasted aroma, 3-4 minutes. Be sure to stay near the stove, watch them closely, and stir often to avoid burning. Once the almonds are fragrant and golden brown, remove from heat. Set the nuts aside to cool.
- Prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl or mason jar with a lid, combine the 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, shallots, mustard, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk or shake to combine well. Set aside.
- Make the salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, arugula, peaches, cucumbers, onion, goat cheese, almonds, and mint. Add the vinaigrette to the bowl and toss to coat. Add additional salt to taste. If serving this salad later, don’t add the arugula and mint until just before serving.
For the printable recipe card, including ingredient amounts, instructions, prep time, and complete nutrition analysis (calories, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, calcium, cholesterol, saturated fat, and more) scroll down in this post.
The star of the show: Peach Nutrition Highlights and Facts
During peach season, you might be on the hunt for delicious and healthy recipes that include juicy, fresh peaches. Peach desserts, grilled peach recipes, smoothies, salads and more. This is one of our favorite easy salad recipes, and it was developed with peach season in mind, and it’s one hearty and well-rounded salad that might become one of your favorite ways to enjoy fresh peaches.
When are peaches in season?
Peach are in season from April to October, depending on where the peaches are grown. In general, peach season is during the summer. Peaches are a stone fruit, along with cherries, nectarines, and plums (all fruits that have a pit or a “stone”). With a few members of our team being from Colorado, one of the states known for growing delicious peaches, we say that you simply can’t beat eating a juicy, Colorado-grown peach on a hot summer day!
Now let’s highlight the nutrients in peaches
Peaches are a stone fruit, closely related to apricots, plums, cherries, and almonds. They are a nutritious produce and, when perfectly ripe, peaches are juicy, sweet, flavorful, and irresistible. Here are a few nutrient highlights:
- Peaches contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help to protect your body from the impact of aging, inflammation, and disease
- Peaches are high in fiber (both insoluble and soluble fiber), which in important for supporting healthy digestion
- Stone fruit, like peaches, are high in Vitamin C, a nutrient necessary to support a healthy immune system
q&A for Quinoa Arugula Salad with Peaches
Here are some common questions readers ask about this recipe:
How can I tell if peaches are ripe? To select the perfect peach, look for one that has some wrinkles around the stem. These wrinkles on the skin are a good indicator that the water has started to evaporate from the peach making it extra sweet. Another indicator is color. You want the peach to be a deep, golden-yellow-orange-reddish color. Any peaches that have hints of green, are under-ripe. Finally, evaluate the touch (without indenting every peach in the store, of course). Choose a peach that is slightly soft to the touch. This is a good indicator that it is nice and juicy. Lastly, the scent of a peach can tell you if it’s flavorful or not. You want the peach to smell sweet when you sniff the stem end of it.
Can you make this salad ahead? Yes! There are components of this salad that you can make ahead! You can make the quinoa up to 3 days in advance, as well as the vinaigrette. You can also toast the almonds a day or two in advance. However, wait until you’re ready to serve this salad before you toss all the ingredients together and add the vinaigrette.
Is it better to eat arugula raw or cooked? Arugula is a tender green that is best served raw in salads or slightly wilted. Also try arugula in our Grilled Corn Salad with Blackberries or Arugula Salad with Apples and Almonds.
How should I store leftovers? Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
What does arugula go well with?
This slightly spicy or bitterness of arugula (or rocket, as it’s also called), is a great match for many fruits and vegetables. It pairs well with all of the ingredients in this simple salad – quinoa, goat cheese, peaches, cucumbers, lemon, mint, and almonds – as well as an array of other foods that are neutral, savory, and sweet. Try pairing arugula with cooked pasta, sun-dried tomato, cherry tomatoes, basil, eggs, garlic, mushrooms, olive oil, feta, radishes, pears, radicchio, corn, homemade croutons, balsamic vinegar, blackberries, or blueberries.
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups packed arugula
- 1 medium peach, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup thinly sliced Persian (or mini) cucumber
- ⅓ cup diced red onion
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (~½ cup)
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (~1 small lemon)
- 2 tablespoon finely diced shallots
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon pure honey
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- Make the quinoa: first rinse 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa in fine mesh strainer under cold water. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup of water and the quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, let it sit for 5 minutes covered, then fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. This step can be done a day or two in advance.
- Toast the almonds: Place a skillet over medium heat. Add nuts to the hot skillet, and then heat until the nuts give off a toasted aroma, 3-6 minutes. Be sure to stay near the stove, watch them closely, and stir often to avoid burning. Once the almonds are fragrant and golden brown, remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl or mason jar with cover, combine the oil, lemon juice, shallots, mustard, honey, and salt. Whisk or shake to combine well. Set aside.
- Make the salad: In a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa, arugula, peaches, cucumbers, onion, goat cheese, almonds, and mint. Add the vinaigrette to the bowl and toss to coat. Add additional salt to taste.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days
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For dairy-free, omit the goat cheese or use dairy-free feta as a replacement
For vegan, omit the goat cheese and use maple syrup instead of honey.
- Serving Size: 2/3 cup (1/8 of recipe)
- Calories: 175
- Fat: 10 g
- (Sat Fat: 4 g)
- Sodium: 165 mg
- Carbohydrate: 12 g
- (Fiber: 2 g
- Sugar: 3 g)
- Protein: 6 g
- Cholesterol: 11 mg
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House
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