The heat and humidity have really kicked in just in the past week or so here in Southern Michigan. We've had quite the mild summer up until now (pretty much ideal weather for this girl). It has been around seventy degrees during the day and has cooled down to the high-fifties at night. We've had enough rain to keep everything green and watered. And, have enjoyed just perfect weather conditions overall. Bliss.
Up until now. The heat index has been close to 100 degrees over the past week or so. Blah!
(Can you tell that I don't do well with high temps and lots of humidity?)
Much of our summer meals are centered around salads, grilling and sandwiches (like, my Sonoma Chicken Salad Sandwich). You probably won't find me slaving away over a big pot of chicken and dumplings very often this time of year. Instead, I serve a lot of salads - all sorts of fresh, beautiful salads. They may be big, loaded salad bowls served family-style (such as my Berry "Peachy Keen" Grilled Chicken Salad Bowl) or some version of a taco salad.
This salad is light and chocked full of fresh ingredients. It is incredibly simple and quick to whip up. The vinaigrette is super flavorful and couldn't be easier to make.
You will regularly find brown rice, quinoa, farro and/or wheat berries on-hand in my fridge. I like to cook up batches to have ready to use in salads or for side dishes. And, since I always have lots of fresh fruits and veggies stocked up each week throughout the summer, salads such as this one come together in a matter of minutes. The recipe can easily be adapted to serve more people if needed as a side dish for a party or gathering. Or, it can be prepared as shown to serve as a simple summer lunch or dinner option for a couple of people.
Summer Quinoa and Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
FOR THE SALAD -
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (prepared according to package directions)
1 ripe peach, pitted and diced
1 small or 1/2 large apple, cored and diced
7 - 8 fresh raspberries
1/4 red onion, finely diced
6 fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into small chunks
1/2 - 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
FOR THE HONEY LIME VINAIGRETTE -
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Arrange salad ingredients onto a large platter or into a large bowl. Start with a base of quinoa, then arrange other ingredients on top and around quinoa as desired.
Prepare vinaigrette by whisking together dressing ingredients in a small bowl or shaking in a lidded glass jar until well incorporated.
Serve salad with vinaigrette. Salad can be served in an arranged style as shown or served tossed/combined.
NOTE: If you're wanting to serve this for a party or larger summer gathering, wait to cut up and add the avocado until just prior to serving. Also, I would recommend waiting to dress the salad with the vinaigrette until time of service.