I don’t know if peaches + arugula + balsamic is an actual thing, but it really should be. I stumbled upon this flavor combo about a month ago and I’ve been experimenting with it ever since. Something magical happens when you combine the sweetness of the peaches with the acidity of the vinegar and the bitterness of the arugula.
In my experiments with these flavors, this salad is the best way to highlight each of them. It’s a base of about equal parts fluffy quinoa and arugula (which is one of my favorite combos in its own right), then we’re adding in grilled peaches, walnuts, mint, and an incredible dressing of a fresh peach puréed with balsamic and maple syrup. It might be simple to throw together, but the flavors are awesome.
Makes 2 big servings
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3 large peaches
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 3 large handfuls of arugula
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Cook some quinoa according to package instructions. To make 2 big meal-sized salads, I’d start with about 1 cup of dry quinoa and 1 3/4 cups of water. While this is cooking, slice two large peaches and grill them by whatever means necessary: a BBQ, a grill pan over a burner, or even in the oven. You can use raw peaches, but grilling them until both sides are slightly charred and caramelized makes a huge difference.
When the quinoa is finished cooking, toss with the juice of 1 lemon and salt & pepper (which is something I do with quinoa no matter what I’m using it for) and allow to cool to room temperature. Then, toss with about an equal amount of arugula (3+ handfuls) and 1/3 cup walnuts.
Make the super-simple and delicious dressing by adding 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar to a blender along with 1 peach (peeled), 1 tablespoon maple syrup, a pinch or two of salt, and 1-2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth, give it a taste, and adjust as necessary.
Return to the salad bowl and drizzle half the dressing right into the salad, tossing until evenly coated. Then, divide into serving bowls and place several peach slices on top of each. Finish with some finely-chopped mint, salt, pepper, and another drizzle of the dressing.