Fresh Spinach and Cherry Salad with Quinoa

My favorite fruits are stone fruits: peaches, cherries, and almonds. (Yeah, it’s a nut and a fruit. *giggle*) I don’t care much for maraschino cherries, but I love fresh cherries and can never find enough uses for them in the summer. I’m typically not a salad fan, but fresh spinach is delicious, healthy, and a great substitute for boring lettuce. I found the inspiration for my dinner this evening at Time at the TableI pinned it a week or so ago and have been waiting to try it out. This recipe calls for kale, but I didn’t have any and I’m not a huge fan of it yet. I also didn’t have the orange juice this recipe called for so I used lemon juice instead, and I substituted Parmesan cheese for Gorgonzola. It would be great even without cheese!

Now, I made a few other adjustments – some out of necessity, others just for health/fun/taste. I had some quinoa cooked in coconut milk that I wanted to use so I put in about 1/3 cup of that. I also added cinnamon to my dressing for extra flavor. The cherries were a bit tart but the maple syrup from the dressing definitely made up for it! You’ll notice some chunks of carrot in there, as well. The taste of cherries and carrots together was surprisingly refreshing. This was a delicious salad and definitely worth the time spent halving and pitting the cherries! (Maybe an extra 5-10 minutes, but tedious.) I am thrilled that I saw this recipe because I’d otherwise be noshing away on my cherries as a snack – this was definitely better. Vegetarian, healthy, and tasty!