Can't go wrong with a Caprese Salad--but today we are switching out the tomatoes for fresh peaches! This Avocado Peach Caprese Salad is bursting with flavor and so simple to make. It will be a great side to bring to any gathering.
Today was the first day that a little hint of spring was in the air. The dumping of snow all through February in Cincinnati made it feel there was no light at the end of the tunnel. But today, we could see it! People were out jogging, walking dogs and kids were riding bikes in our neighborhood. Such a welcome sight no doubt! The snow was melting away all day and I even was able to catch a glimpse of our lawn. I forgot it was even there!
If you haven't noticed, winter is my least favorite season. Give me spring, summer and fall, a light snow on Christmas and then start it all over again. Leave the winter weather to the North Pole! When I can be outside without eight layers and breathe in the fresh air while taking in the sunshine, I just feel like everything is gonna be all right. My outlook on things just feels lighter.
So why shouldn't what's going on in the kitchen reflect the sunny day outside, right?
When it comes to cheese, mozzarella is my absolute favorite. It's the Italian in me, I guess! Nothing beats a good Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella! The combination of the tomatoes and mozzarella with basil and balsamic vinegar is a dream come true!
We ate at a classic Italian restaurant in town last night so the Caprese Salad piqued my interest and continued to do into today as well. Today, I was at the grocery and saw peaches. They are not quite in season yet and I usually try to stick as best I can to in season produce, but these had my name all over them. A big juicy peach just screams sunshine! Then I spotted some basil and put two and two together. These peaches were going to be part of a Caprese Salad. Thus was born the Avocado Peach Caprese Quinoa Salad. And the rest is history!
Using peaches in place of tomatoes in this recipe adds a bit of natural sweetness and combining it with avocado is the icing on the cake. The flavors all come together to make an experience in a salad. My husband is not a fan of quinoa--at all. He doesn't get why I am trying to feed him these tiny balls. He was open though and tasted this salad and really liked it aside from the quinoa. He said he would rather have it without the quinoa and spread on a piece of Italian bread. So I have options for this down the road with him, I will take that as a win!
Not a dairy eater? This recipe is just fine without the cheese. I added the mozzarella last and tasted it before adding and it was just fine! You could also add some sort of vegan mozzarella if you wanted. The recipe is also gluten free for all those avoiding or intolerant of gluten. Eat this as a side dish with dinner or make it a meal! Just know that with every bite, sunny days are getting even closer!
Try these other salad recipes:
- Simple Chopped Kale + Quinoa Salad
- Simple Blackberry Spinach Quinoa Salad with Blackberry Thyme Infused Olive Oil
- Roasted Brussels Sprout, Quinoa and Brown Rice Salad
- Maple Roasted Peach, Quinoa + Spinach Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 ripe avocado cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 ripe medium peaches cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Sea Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped thin
- 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1-2 cups baby spinach
- 8 oz. /16 mozzarella pearls cut in fourths
- Cook quinoa in two cups of water according to instructions on package.
- In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. (I used about 5 cranks of pepper and about 2 cranks of sea salt)
- Once quinoa is ready, transfer to large mixing bowl and add spinach and stir. This will cause the spinach to be lightly cooked and wilted from the heat.
- Add peaches, onion, basil and dressing from mixing bowl and stir.
- Finally add mozzarella and avocado and stir.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to one hour before serving.