This bright, summery peach quinoa salad is the perfect end-of-summer recipe for when the peaches are ripe and the back to school vibes are kicking in. (Subtle hint: Make it now!)
Juicy peaches, fragrant lime, hearty quinoa and fresh herbs come together to make a perfect summer dinner that slides seamlessly into a packed lunch for school or work.
My recipe for peach quinoa salad is hearty and zesty and so very colourful. This is the kind of food that celebrates the late August bounty and makes you feel energized and on top of your game for the fall.
What you need to make this recipe
Peaches: This is a great opportunity to use the best peak-season peaches you can get your hands on. If peaches are not available where you live, this recipe will also work well with fresh nectarines or apricots.
Quinoa: There’s a reason quinoa is so popular in salads. It’s got a great poppy texture and is full of protein. It turns any salad into a hearty, fulfilling meal.
Limes: You’ll use both the zest and the juice for this salad.
Pistachios: For crunch! If shelling pistachios is not your idea of a good time, feel free to use almonds or toasted pumpkin seeds instead.
Fresh parsley: A necessary fresh bright green addition.
Fresh mint: The most refreshing herb ever.
Red onion: I think almost every salad needs a touch of onion flavour. The sharpness of the onions will be slightly mellowed out by the lime juice.
Olive oil: Use the best stuff you can get your hands on.
Salt: Because all good food needs salt!
How to make this Peach Quinoa Salad
Follow these steps to make this delightfully summery peach quinoa salad.
- Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold water and add it to a small pot. Then add the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil uncovered, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover with a lid, and allow to cook for 17-20 minutes. Remove the lid and allow it to cool completely.
- Peel and thinly slice the red onion and throw them into whichever bowl you’re going to serve this in. Then, zest the limes and set the zest aside. Cut the limes in half, squeeze the juice into the serving bowl with the onions and toss. This will soften the sharpness of the onions and pickle them slightly.
- Roughly chop the peaches, parsley, and mint, and add them to the serving bowl along with the cooled quinoa, olive oil and salt.
- Top with the chopped pistachios and enjoy!
Tips for success
Follow these tips for an optimal quinoa peach salad:
- It’s important to use really good, ripe fruit for this. If peaches aren’t available, go with something that is! Any stone fruit will be lovely. And if you’re in a real pinch, try rehydrating dried apricots in boiling water for 15 minutes and use those! You might be surprised at how juicy they get.
- When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it up with a fork to allow it to cool faster.
- Make sure you cool your quinoa completely before tossing it with the other ingredients. Otherwise it will slightly cook the peaches and the herbs, leaving everything kind of mushy and brown.
- For a faster weeknight meal, cook the quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to make the salad.
- If you’re meal prepping or making this several days in advance, prepare all of the ingredients but keep the nuts and the herbs separate until you’re ready to eat. The ingredients will stay fresh for several days if stored in separate containers.
How to serve this quinoa peach salad
This is the perfect salad to bring to a summer potluck or a casual dinner party. It also makes a great weeknight family dinner because it’s quick, satisfying, and pretty healthy too. It packs perfectly as a desk lunch and travels well for a picnic.
If you’re looking to make it a bit more substantial, serve alongside some grilled chicken (or grilled anything really). It’s also great topped with crumbled feta cheese, or bulked up with a can of chickpeas or lentils.
The recipe says I have to rinse the quinoa. Why is that?
Quinoa has a natural outer coating of a substance called ‘saponin.’ Saponin has a slightly bitter flavour and is hard for us humans to digest. A quick rinse is all you need to remove this layer, although some people opt to soak quinoa for 15 minutes before cooking.
Can I use frozen or canned peaches for this salad?
The texture of frozen and canned peaches is not quite right for this salad. I’d say if you don’t have any fresh fruit that is begging to be in this salad, wait until stone fruit season to give it a go. Seasonal eating is all about making the most of what’s at it’s peak, and this is a celebration of that. Although, the dried apricot thing I mentioned earlier is a good little cheat if you’re really craving this!
My grocery store has various colours of quinoa available. Is there a difference between red, tricolour, or white?
The flavour and preparation method for all of these types of quinoa is the same. The only difference will be in how it looks, so choose whichever colour suits your taste!
Is this salad gluten free?
Yes it is. Bonus!
If this peach quinoa salad rings your bell, you might also like these recipes:
Or these videos:
And if you are in the mood for salads but at a loss for dressing ideas, grab my free salad dressing cheat sheet. It is sure to provide you with some salad inspiration to jazz things up!
If you have an abundance of peaches on your hands right now, or even just two or three—I hope you make this recipe. It’s so refreshing and super hearty. Let me know if you make it by tagging me on Instagram @howtomakedinner.
4 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories194
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Sodium 977.2mg 41%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Sugars 12.5g
- Protein 6.1g 13%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.