Peachy Herb Quinoa Salad with Rosemary-Lavender Scented Dressing

I'll take a bunch of fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the orchard over store-bought any day. This is by far the most cost effective way to get cheap organic produce. I didn't get a garden planted this year so when my sister-in-law told me that one of her co-workers had a large overly abundant garden and chicken eggs, I said, "absolutely!" I ended up with fresh eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh basil leaves, and peaches.  I may have also helped myself to some fresh mint and tomatoes from grandma's garden as well. ;)

I can't even begin to express how appreciative I am for cheap or free produce. When you choose to follow a healthy, clean eating, gluten free diet you are going to go through LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies. Now, times that by four kids and the health food foodie (me) and that can add up to be LOTS of green (no I'm not talking about spinach). Especially if you choose to buy organic. Which I do as much as possible. (If you don't have a farmer's market or friendly garden growers near you here's my list for the best organic and clean eating deals from Costco
Organic produce {produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or genetic engineering} ends up being full of flavor and nutrients, but not always an award winning size or shape. Like the peaches I got that were closer to the size of an apricot, but that still packed a delicious punch of peachy flavor. 
I could go into a whole monologue about the metaphor of life....(insert moving, wistful music)

Life is like a garden. Each fruit and flower is a product of the care and  attention given to it. It doesn't matter how much miracle grow or bug repellent is used, it could never change the nature of the seed. A peach seed can never become anything other than a peach. It won't bloom into an apple or grow vines and sprout tomatoes. The peach's inborn, divinely inherent characteristic allows the seed to develop into just what it was meant to be.....unless of course it's genetically modified from it's original state and enhanced until it's the size of a grapefruit....

Okay, that monologue didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. Needless to say I'll take my produce in the most natural form I can get. 
This Mint, Basil & Lavender Scented Quinoa Salad has a subtle sweet and savory flavor that is enhanced by the ever so slight hint of lavender. It was even better the next day. You could make this salad in the morning before work and have it ready to go for a light side to dinner or to take along to a picnic.

Serves 4

Mint and Basil (Herb) Quinoa Salad
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
1 cup red, white, or black quinoa (I mixed red and white). Rinsed.

1 large or 2-3 small peaches. Rinsed, pitted, and sliced into wedges

1 green onion, chopped

3-4 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn

4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn

Rosemary and Lavender Scented Dressing
1 tbsp. raw honey

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/8 tsp. sea salt

pinch black pepper

1 tsp. dry rosemary or half a sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped

 1 tsp. dried  lavender bud (follow the links to find and learn about culinary quality lavender and lavender essential oil) 
Rinse the quinoa. Heat a medium saucepan and dry roast the quinoa for just a couple minutes before adding the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, place a lid on it and led it cook for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking and cooling make the dressing. Bring the honey and vinegar to a simmer in small saucepan. Add the olive oil, rosemary and lavender. Whisk together with the salt and pepper. Pour into a glass jar and set aside to cool. 
Once the quinoa has cooled add in the mint, basil, green onions, and peach slices. Pour the dressing onto the quinoa through a small strainer to catch the rosemary and lavender (if using dried lavender). Toss to coat and set in the fridge to cool and for the flavors to marry together. 


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Melissa Moore has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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