Lunch Time: Peachy Lime Quinoa Salad

9556707363 0a70345363 z Lunch Time: Peachy Lime Quinoa Salad

Back in my elementary school days, Mom would sit down with me every Sunday night to go over the lunch menu for the week. She would read off the daily offerings, and my response more often than not was “pack”, meaning I wanted to pack my lunch for that day rather than buy it in the cafeteria. I can distinctly remember some of the lunches I would avoid.

Cheeseburger. Pack.
Cincinnati chili. Pack.
Salisbury steak. Pack!
Wait a second, does the cheeseburger come with french fries or tater tots?
Tater tots.

I even packed my lunch on pizza day every Wednesday. Hardly anyone packed on pizza day. As an adult (who loves pizza), analyzing this behavior makes me think I was not so much trying to avoid the pizza as much as I was trying to avoid the long lunch line. By bringing my lunch to school, I could scarf down a sandwich and hit the playground before half  my classmates made it through the line. Hello, monkey bars…

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Years of bringing my lunch to school carried over into adulthood fairly well. I have a good habit bringing a lunch with me Monday through Wednesday. I typically run low on both energy and groceries by Thursday, but I can usually find something to throw together. By Friday, however, I’m sunk. I end up buying a lunch and usually wishing I had taken the time to bring something – like this quinoa salad – from home.

The sweet peach and fresh tomato and cilantro add flavor, and all that protein from the quinoa is filling. The leftovers held up well (three days) too. That said, I would avoid adding the avocado until it is ready to eat. I doused mine in lemon juice, and it still turned a bit brown. I had better luck with the cilantro, but I would try to add it at the last minute to keep it from wilting.

This is just one variation of what you can do with a quinoa salad for lunch. Just about any leftover produce or canned staple (beans, chickpeas, etc.) you have an hand can make for a healthy, flavorful and filling meal when paired with quinoa. For more inspiration, check out my recipe board dedicated to quinoa over on Pinterest. Enjoy!

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Peachy Lime Quinoa Salad
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 medium peaches, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ¼ cup lime juice (at least 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. The quinoa is fully cooked when all liquid is absorbed and white threads appear in the pot.
  2. Remove the cooked quinoa from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. When the quinoa has cooled, stir in the peaches, tomato, jalapeno pepper, avocado and cilantro.*
  4. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the lime juice and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to coat.
  6. *If preparing in advance, consider adding the avocado and cilantro immediately before serving to avoid browning and wilting.
The original recipe also suggested adding ½ cup chopped red onion and ¼ cup fresh mint. It also called for three tablespoons of olive oil in the dressing, but I was happy with two.

Tomato Peach Jam

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“You’re aware of how crazy all this sounds.” I’m watching the MTV show Catfish as I type up this post – a process which for the past 40 minutes took the form of me staring at a blank screen – until that soundbite jump started some words.

Tomatoes on a salad? Sounds great. Peaches in a pie? Delicious. Tomatoes and peaches in a jam? “This is alarming.”

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Before I made spicy tomato jam last July, I probably would have thought the same. Just like last year, I have enjoyed this sweet sauce on a sharp cheddar grilled cheese. I also tried it out – with good results - on sauteed shrimp.

The original recipe suggested enjoying the jam with beignets, bruschetta or even burgers. Maybe it would even taste good on a fried filet of catfish. “Amazing!”

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Tomato Peach Jam
Serves: 2 cups
  • 2 pounds roma or plum tomatoes (approximately 8), peeled and chopped (3 cups)
  • 1 large peach, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 hot pepper like a red jalepeno or Thai chile, minced
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Stir together all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and allow to cook until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. For a smoother jam, puree in a food processor or blender once the jam is cool enough to work with.
  4. Refrigerate for up to one week.
  5. Notes on peeling and chopping:
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water to set off to the side.
  7. While the water comes to a boil, use a paring knife to cut an x-shaped slit at the bottom of each tomato and the peach.
  8. Boil the tomatoes for 30 seconds, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Repeat with the peach.
  9. When the fruits are cool enough to touch, simply slip them out of their skins to peel.
  10. Chop the tomatoes and the peach, taking care to reserve all juices for the saucepan.
Can’t find a red jalapeno pepper? Buy a green one and let it sit for a week to 10 days. As it ripens, it will begin to turn red.


I Really Like Your Peaches: Peach Bundt Coffee Cake

IMG 4795 Edited I Really Like Your Peaches: Peach Bundt Coffee Cake

I have held onto this post for three days now simply because, there it is again, pesky Writer’s Block. Refusing to wait any longer, I set out to find inspiration in the form of quotes about peaches. Instead, I found quotes from James and the Giant Peach. That’s a book I have not thought about in quite a long while, which saddens me given it contains statements like, “I’d rather be fried alive and eaten by Mexicans.” For the record, I would not.

“The walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.” ― Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

IMG 4801 Edited e1345499214400 I Really Like Your Peaches: Peach Bundt Coffee Cake

I loved Roald Dahl’s books when I was a kid. The first I ever read was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, followed closely by Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Just the other night the newer version of the movie was on television. I still cannot decide if I like the newer Johnny Depp version or the older Gene Wilder version better. Each are creepy in their own right. How about you?

“Poor Earthworm,’ the Ladybird said, whispering in James’s ear. ‘He loves to make everything into a disaster. He hates to be happy. He is only happy when he is gloomy.” - Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

IMG 4792 Edited e1345499865887 I Really Like Your Peaches: Peach Bundt Coffee Cake

I know I have read George’s Marvelous Medicine, but I can not for the life of me remember anything about it. Same goes for Danny Champion of the World. I gave my niece a Matilda book the last time I saw her, though I should probably stop giving nothing but books as gifts. I am likely on track to become known as the aunt who gives boring gifts. Did you have a favorite Roald Dahl book?

I never read Revolting Recipes, but I am so amused by the title I might check it out soon. Rest assured, this Peach Coffee Cake is anything but revolting. The peaches lend just the right amount of sweetness and contribute to its soft crumb. The sugar-cinnamon–nut filling lends the perfect spice and crunch to the soft cake. It makes for a lovely breakfast (that is another thing I should probably stop doing – eating sweets for breakfast), afternoon snack or evening dessert.

IMG 4794 Edited I Really Like Your Peaches: Peach Bundt Coffee Cake

And wouldn’t you know it, Roald Dahl’s grandaughter Sophie Dahl is a chef. And former supermodel. And accomplished writer. Some girls have it all.

“My dear young fellow,’ the Old-Green-Grasshopper said gently, ‘there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.” ― Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

Peach Coffee Cake
Serves: 12
  • For the Coffee Cake
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon mild vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 1, 6-ounce container plain yogurt*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups peaches, chopped
  • For the Filling
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • For an Optional Glaze Topping
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  1. Stir together the milk and the vinegar. Allow the mixture to set while you prepare the dry and the wet ingredients.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and oil.
  4. Add the yogurt and vanilla to the sugar and oil in the large bowl. Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the dry flour mixture, then the milk mixture, to the mixture in the large bowl. Do this in separate additions, adding first the flour, then the milk. Follow with flour, milk, and flour.
  6. Stir well to combine, then fold in the peaches.
  7. Allow the batter to sit for a moment while you prepare the filling.
  8. Simply stir together the sugar, cinnamon and pecans to make the filling.
  9. Pour ½ of the batter into a lightly greased and floured bundt pan.
  10. Sprinkle the filling atop the batter. Try to keep the filling from touching the edge of the pan.
  11. Pour the remaining batter on top of the filling.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean when the cake is fully baked.
  13. Allow the cake to cool in its pan for 25-30 minutes, then invert the pan over a cooling rack to remove the cake.
  14. Once the cake has fully cooled, pour a glaze over the cake or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired.
  15. To make the glaze, sift (to remove lumps) the confectioners’ sugar over a small to medium bowl.
  16. Add the milk and whisk to combine. You may wish to add one tablespoon of milk at a time to achieve your desired consistency.
*A 6-ounce container is equal to ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons. The cake is best eaten within a day or two after baking.