I may or may not have eaten peach salad, peach cobbler ice cream, and brown butter peach bars all within the last 24 hours. Clearly I'm not ready for peach season to be over, but clearly neither is southern california because it's been over 100 degrees, like well over 100, for going on five days now, and a crispy cool fall could not feel farther away. So I'm going with it! Drinking smoothies and continuing to stuff my face with as many peaches as I can get my hands on. Soups and stews and anything warm just doesn't feel quite right yet.
I've never been much of a "salad person". Partly because they never seem to leave me satisfied and partly because I'm just not good at making them. According to my friend Colleen, a salad-making goddess, it's all about the dressing. She believes homemade flavorful dressings are the secret to any great salad. Her wise words along with a strawberry vinaigrette I had while in Georgia last weekend inspired me. I may not be a fan of salads, but you add peaches, almonds, quinoa, and goat cheese and you've got my attention. So I did just that. Then pureed a perfectly ripe summer peach with some olive oil, lemon, apple cider vinegar and honey for a homemade peach vinaigrette, and my discrimination against salads quickly began to fade.
This salad is sweet, filling, light, and delicious. The tangy goat cheese and the sweet peaches pack this salad with flavor. And the quinoa and almonds provide enough protein to leave you full for hours. And of course, spinach. Kale is cool and trendy and all, but spinach will always be my #1.
Spinach Peach Salad with Quinoa, Goat Cheese + Creamy Peach Vinaigrette
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main
1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/4 tsp sea salt
8oz baby spinach
5oz goat cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2-3 peaches, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ripe peach
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse the quinoa then add it to boiling water, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until water is dissolved and quinoa is fluffy. Add salt, mix and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Add shallot to a mini food processor or blender and pulse until minced. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
In a large bowl, mix spinach, goat cheese, almonds, quinoa, and dressing (you will have extra) and serve.