Transition from summer to fall with this Peach & Apple Quinoa Salad topped with Cinnamon Honey Vinaigrette.
I love eating a good salad for lunch! It’s a good way to pack in the veggies & fruit but it also just makes me feel a little bit better after eating 3 chocolate chip cookies before it’s even noon (recipe coming soon!).
This salad is the perfect bridge from summer to fall. You’ve got the summery peaches paired with the fall apples plus pumpkin seeds. Fun huh?! But the very best part of all is the incredibly yummy Cinnamon Honey Vinaigrette that just screams “FALL”. And for all you balsamic lovers, it’s made with WHITE balsamic vinegar! Man it is good!
And then there’s the perfect cheese– sharp white cheddar… which is a bit more expensive than your average yellow cheddar but oh it is fine! If you have trouble finding white cheddar or are just trying to be frugal (you really don’t need much though) then I would recommend using another hard white cheese like Monterey Jack.
Quinoa is thrown in to the salad too! I have only had quinoa a couple times because let’s face it, that stuff is not the most baby/toddler friendly. I gave my daughter just a couple bites and somehow those little round kernels spread everywhere!
I couldn’t find pumpkins at any store when I made this salad so I just bought already prepared toasted pumpkin seeds. They had them in those big food dispenser things where you can get granola, nuts, candy… Ya know, the kind where you have to be very careful with the leaver or else you’ll get like 5 cups of pumpkin seed when you wanted less than one. And there’s no way to put them back in the dispenser (that I know of). Just be careful if you use those things. Or you can find yourself a pumpkin and toast your own seeds! Oh that makes me so excited for October!
Make this salad and fall in love with fall… if you haven’t already. Really though, you should make this soon before the peaches aren’t good any more (but if you procrastinate, canned would be an acceptable substitution). K?!
Peach & Apple Quinoa Salad with Cinnamon Honey Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 5 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 large apple, cored and sliced
- 1 large peach, pitted and sliced
- 1/3 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Cinnamon Honey Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Place quinoa in water to soak for 5 minutes and then drain. Mix quinoa with 2/3 cup water and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Take off burner and let it sit for 5 minutes before fluffing. Refrigerate until cold.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients together in a one pint jar and shake vigorously.
- Toss all salad ingredients together in a large bowl with 1/3 to 1/2 cup Cinnamon Honey Vinaigrette (or you can let everyone put dressing on individually). Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Mix (less fruit, less salt, less honey, more cheese…)