Peach, Hazelnut, and Mint Summer Salad

Posted by in Gluten-Free, Greens, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Earlier this week I met the Dalai Lama. It gives me chills just to write that sentence! Fortunately for moi, a friend of mine has a friend who is friends with the holiness himself (thank peas for degrees of separation) and I got to actually shake his hand. Then I got to thinking; in consideration of his lifelong work being that of spreading love and kindness, the physical manifestation of this through hand-holding and embracing, could he be the singular person who has physically touched the most other human beings in the world? What a thought.

In conjunction with the 80th birthday of this special man, a Global Compassion Summit was held at UCI in Southern California to discuss creativity, climate change, wisdom, and leadership. I sat in for one of these talks and was utterly moved by not only the topics that were discussed, but by the way the 14th Dalai Lama carried himself. Full of humor and visible demonstrations of love, he captivated the entire room for the two and half hour discussion. His humility in no way announced itself, it is simply who he is. He moved and spoke with such ease and joy and was so very comfortable in his surroundings – I believe he could have been sitting at the base of an erupting volcano and enjoying himself all the same.

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Perhaps it is an obvious thing to say, but he emitted such a lightness that was truly inspiring. And of all things, the day inspired me to get in the kitchen! At the lunch prior to the events of the day, we munched on a peach, mint and almond salad that served as the, dare I say it, inspiration for this recipe. It being well into summer, the freshness of the ingredients in this salad makes me feel light-footed and clean. With lots of crunch from the hazelnuts and peas, sweetness from the peaches and balsamic reduction, and fresh mint, it’s a perfect light meal or accompaniment to dinner. I like to think that if the Dalai Lama were to eat it, he’d be truly pleased, as he seems to always be :)

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Peach, Hazelnut, and Mint Summer Salad 

serves 4

  • 5-6 handfuls of arugula leaves
  • 4 ripe peaches, cored and quartered
  • 1 c toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 c fresh spring peas
  • 1 c fresh mint, cut chiffonade
  • 1 c micro greens
  • 2 lemons, quartered

For the dressing:

  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, simmer the balsamic vinegar until thickened to a syrup consistency, about 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the reduced vinegar, olive oil, juice of lemons, and salt and pepper, set aside. In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, peaches, hazelnuts, and peas and toss with the dressing. Distribute onto 4 large plates and top with a sprinkle of mint and micro greens and a few lemon wedges. Eat!

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