Easy pesto quinoa with balsamic grilled peaches is topped with goat cheese and balsamic drizzle for a light and healthy side dish or vegetarian lunch.
If you’re looking for a side dish that’s healthy & flavorful, yet easy to make, look no further than this pesto quinoa salad with balsamic grilled peaches.
Protein packed quinoa is mixed with basil pesto then topped with creamy goat cheese crumbles, balsamic thyme grilled peaches and balsamic drizzle for a savory quinoa side dish recipe.
Serve it with my bourbon apricot BBQ grilled chicken for a complete & easy healthy family dinner recipe!
This pesto quinoa can also be a delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner that’s packed with flavor and protein. You can even omit the goat cheese and make it vegan!
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever had anything with pesto that I didn’t like. It’s one of those secret weapon ingredients that makes anything taste better ;).
Super flavorful and easy to make, cause you know how we do :).
Grilled peaches are such a treat. Especially once marinated in some good old balsamic vinegar, honey and thyme…mmmhmm, you’re gonna love them!
The grilling gets them slightly caramelized bringing out their natural sugars. They’re a little sweet, yet a little savory pairing perfectly with the basil pesto.
Have you tried grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream yet? Oh mah god….SO good.
How to cut your peaches in half for grilling:
- Find the natural seam on the peach that runs all the way around. Using a paring knife, gently cut all the way around, following the seam.
- Twist the peach until the two halves separate. Use a paring knife again to loosen to flesh around the pit.
- Remove the pit using your fingers and it should easily pull out.
Tips for perfectly grilled peaches:
Opt for peaches that aren’t too ripe or soft. When they’re too ripe, the sugars will burn more easily on the grill and your peaches might end up too mushy. Under ripe peaches work best!
I like peeling the skin off of the peaches, but if you don’t mind it, keep it on. You can also easily pull the skin off the peaches once they’re done grilling.
Be sure to generously oil your grill grates or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Keep your grill at medium heat. You don’t want it too high or the peaches will burn.
You can use store bought pesto for the quinoa or try my easy homemade pesto. The leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and used on chicken, pizza or bruschetta.
Our friends that moved to the Cayman Islands about a year ago came up to RI to visit for Fourth of July. They put a lotttttt of pressure on me to make them a delicious homemade dinner so I had to make sure it was something good.
That’s where this pesto quinoa inspiration came from, and I think they liked it going by the second helpings that were taken from the serving bowl ;)!
Quinoa is rich in protein on its own, however you can top this quinoa dish with grilled chicken, shrimp for added protein. (And if not, it makes a darn tasty vegetarian side dish too :)).
If you’re not a goat cheese fan (shame on you…just kidding!), you can replace the goat cheese with fresh mozzarella or leave out all together for a vegan variation.
What to serve with pesto quinoa with grilled peaches:
- Grilled vegetables
- Grilled Chicken
- Foil Baked Fish with Vegetables
Pesto Quinoa with Balsamic Grilled Peaches
- 4 Peaches halved and pitted
- 1/2 Red Onion sliced thin
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Honey
- Pinch Salt
- Pinch Pepper
- 2 tsp Fresh Thyme
- 1 cup Quinoa
- ½ cup Pesto see recipe notes
- 4 oz. Goat Cheese crumbles I used honey goat cheese
- Balsamic Drizzle for serving
- Chopped Fresh Basil for serving
- Place peach halves and onion slices in a large zip lock bag. Add balsamic, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Massage to evenly coat and let marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
- Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a large serving bowl and add pesto. Stir to combine.
- Once peaches and onions are marinated, turn grill on medium heat and generously spray one side with non-stick cooking spray. Line the other side with aluminum foil and spray the foil. Add peaches, halved side down directly on the grill and cook 4-5 minutes on each side, or until slightly softened with grill marks. Place the onions on the aluminum foil and grill 5-7 minutes or until softened and slightly charred. Remove from heat. Cut peaches into smaller 1” pieces.
- Add grilled peaches and onions to pesto quinoa along with the goat cheese crumbles. Add fresh basil and season with salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine.
- Serve with balsamic drizzle.