This Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad is a healthy way to celebrate summer produce. It’s loaded with juicy peach slices, sweet cherries, toasted pecans, and crispy bacon. Come for the fruit and stay for the bacon.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

I’ve been hoarding summer fruit like whoa! Every trip to the farmers’ market yields a fresh batch of everything that’s currently thriving and at its peak of ripeness. Eating seasonally results in the best of the best. Tomatoes are juicer. Fruit is sweeter. Carrots are tender and crisp.

I can’t get enough!

Summer produce is the only reason I tolerate the heat. Otherwise, I could do without its sweat, humidity, and thick, stagnant air.

A recent struggle with an unrelenting, migratory skin rash of the yeast variety has forced me to make some drastic changes to my diet. I thought the rash was merely dermatologic until it traveled to my mouth, at which point I realized that what was going on was a food sensitivity and not just a common heat rash. My dentist agreed. Once something migrates to the mouth, it’s a sign of an ingested allergen.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

The medical term for my condition is candida. What is candida? It’s a form of yeast that naturally lives in the body in small amounts, habitually found in the mouth, gut, and skin. Candida becomes problematic when an overgrowth of the natural yeast occurs, reproducing at a rapid rate. If left untreated, the overgrowth of yeast can begin to break down the intestinal walls, allowing undigested food and toxins to enter the bloodstream. This process is known as leaky gut syndrome.

The overgrowth of candida is not a good thing. I spent almost 2 months with a red, inflamed, irritated and itchy rash under both arms in the pit region, a region that is subject to moist conditions and doesn’t see the light of day often. Yeast thrives in moist areas, so think pits, groin, natural folds of the body (elbows, knees, etc.), mouth, and–gasp!–the nether-regions <—the worst region for any type of infection!

I was prescribed a combination cream with anti-fungal and steroidal properties. A few weeks of avoiding deodorant applications, frequent shavings, and tank tops so my pits could get some air flow, and applying the cream, my rash began to heal. I smelled–bad! I didn’t go out in public because not shaving and wearing tank tops was not an attractive combo. No new friends were made during the healing process of my pits.

I was finally getting some relief. Let’s all jump for joy! But then the rash started to migrate. It went to my groin region. Itchy AF, you guys! You also don’t make friends when you’re caught in public scratching at your lady bits. No, I was not scratching my bits, but the rash was close enough, so it appeared that way to an outsider. I was a walking exhibition.

No one… And I mean no one wants to come close to a person that looks like they’re ravishing their privates in public. Mortifying.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

As if things couldn’t get any worse, I discovered the infection had gone to my mouth, specifically my tongue. I don’t frequently inspect my tongue (who does?), so what prompted me to do so was a weird film-like sensation that I experienced when my tongue would come in contact with the roof of my mouth. It was as if I couldn’t feel the back portion of my tongue–totally weird!

This is the worst part. When I finally did inspect my tongue, it. was. disgusting. But I was like, well maybe this is what my tongue has looked like all of my life? Like I said, who inspects their tongue? After some research on good ol’ Google (something they tell you never to do when diagnosing a health issue), I narrowed the problem down to black hairy tongue.

Of course I was the subject of the most disgusting of all the tongue issues. They’re not kidding when “they” say your tongue appears hairy. My tongue appeared hairy, ladies and gents. I wanted to gargle with bleach or scrape at it. The sight of my tongue created a panic in me so fierce. That was the moment that broke me. I felt defeated by whatever it was that was happening to my body.

After another Google research session, I learned that black hairy tongue is a build up of yeast on the tongue. The excessive yeast makes the natural sloughing process difficult, so the excess skin just kind of lingers, causing the tongue to appear hairy, discolored, and generally gross. When I finished the research session, I knew that what was causing my list of issues was definitely diet related and not just dermatological.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

Just to be on the safe side, I made an appointment with my dentist to confirm my self-proclaimed diagnosis and to make sure my tongue wasn’t gangrenous and about to fall out <—I can always be counted on to think of the worst.

Thankfully I was correct in my diagnosis. I was also right in concluding that my yeast overgrowth situation was, indeed, diet related. The dentist said that when it moves to the mouth, that’s when you know it’s an ingestible sensitivity or allergen and not a hygienic issue (I brush, floss, gargle and all that shit. I’m clean, friends!). And, on some occasions it can be uncontrolled diabetes.

I had my primary test me for diabetes to rule it out. Not diabetic–thank goodness! While a diabetes diagnosis would have been a definitive answer, it’s not something I want to deal with.

The next step…

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

I made extreme changes to my diet. Candida thrives on sugar, dairy, wheat, yeast, and alcohol. All the things I’ve grown to love over the years. I cut out refined sugar and drastically lowered my natural sugar intake, switching to maple syrup in my morning coffee and limiting my fruit intake. I have been avoiding dairy for the past few weeks and cut out alcohol completely until just recently. I’m slowly beginning to introduce wine back into my diet in small amounts.

I eat a lot of kale these days. I suppose it’s good that I adore the leafy green. I’ve been eating this Kale, White Bean and Tuna Salad on repeat lately, and now I’m just as equally obsessed with this Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad.

When I eat grains, it’s sparingly and always whole grains. I’m loosely following a paleo/gluten-free diet these days. I attempted Whole30, but my digestive system did not fair well and I was forced to go in a different direction after day five.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

What has made a significant difference is the addition of a daily probiotic supplement. I picked up Garden of Life‘s Dr. Formulated Probiotics. Each capsule contains 30 billion CFU of beneficial probiotics derived from 14 different strains. One capsule daily is all you need to help aid in healthy digestion. Goodbye, nasty tongue fungus!

Dietary changes that helped resolve my candida symptoms:

  • Eliminating refined sugar and drastically reducing my overall sugar intake, including natural forms of sugar (fruit, maple syrup, honey, etc.).
  • Reducing alcohol consumption. I now only enjoy a few cocktails 1-2 times/week, usually reaching for wine or a gin and tonic or vodka soda with a splash or citrus.
  • Reducing my caffeine intake (a hard blow!). I switched from high-octane to half caffeinated. I try my best to limit my coffee intake to once a day, but the struggle is real. I usually enjoy an iced coffee in the morning and again late afternoon.
  • Eliminating wheat and switching to gluten-free and whole-grain alternatives.
  • Switching to leaner proteins and increasing my daily amount of veggie intake.
  • Introducing a daily probiotic into my diet, which, along with reducing sugar, has provided the most success in relieving my symptoms.
  • Maintaining a diet made up of unprocessed food. Real, unprocessed whole food. I now carefully read the ingredient list on anything and everything I purchase.
  • Paying close attention to what I’m eating and how it makes me feel. Journaling has helped me keep track of what’s working and what’s not.

From now on, when you visit this space, you’re going to find that the recipes will be a bit different. I’m focusing on lean protein, whole grains, veggie-loaded, naturally sweetened recipes, so that’s what I’ll be posting.

Starting with this Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad. This salad is packed with flavor but still remains super healthy.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

Let’s talk about the goods that make up this deliciously healthy salad:

  • Kale- This leafy green is the superhero of all the greens. It’s high in fiber, Vitamins A and C, and is a great source of calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. It helps aid in healthy digestion and is a known anti-inflammatory food.
  • Cherries- They’re loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but I added them to this salad for their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Peaches- They’re rich in minerals, such as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. Their high alkaline and fiber content help aid in healthy digestion.
  • Quinoa- This whole grain is protein-rich, high in fiber, and a good source of iron, potassium, and magnesium.  It also happens to be gluten-free.

All the goods in one bowl!

The salad gets dressed with a maple balsamic vinaigrette, which has quickly become my go-to dressing for all the greens. It’s paleo, naturally sweetened, and big on flavor.

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Gluten-Free)

Summer Stone Fruit Kale and Quinoa Salad

No ratings yet


Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 6 cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • ½ peach, sliced
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans


  • In a small bowl, add vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an airtight container or mason jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The dressing will stay fresh for up to 7 days.
  • Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Whipping up one of my recipes?I wanna know about it! Snap a photo and tag @onesweetmess / #onesweetmess on Twitter or Instagram. Seeing your creations come to life makes my day!