Is it really Wednesday already? Hope everyone had a lovely and safe 4th of July holiday. It was weird having a Thursday holiday, then back to work, then the weekend. Had my routine totally confused! And then it always feels particularly difficult to have to go to the office a full 5 days in a row after a 4 day week- how quickly we forget real life…
Anyway, summer is very very much here now and I enjoyed a fantastic salad at a cookout recently that I wanted to recreate. It was basically a spinach and pea salad with parmesan cheese, but after doing a little googling I found a Pesto Pea Salad recipe that I thought was probably hitting the mark the closest. Plus, I wanted to try making pesto from scratch because my basil is growing like gangbusters and I needed a reason to cut it down. So the spinach, pesto, pea salad… talk about getting your greens! The main ingredients are pesto, pine nuts (but I used walnuts), baby spinach, and frozen peas. You could by pesto in a jar of course, but I was using the pesto I made the day before and stored in the frig. So, for prep work- chop up the nuts and cook and chill 2 cups of the peas.
The rest is just assembly. Tossing the pesto (4 tablespoons) to coat all the spinach (2 1/2 cups) was probably the trickiest part since pesto is more of a paste than a liquid dressing.
But then all you do is toss in the peas and the nuts is a ratio you like, top with some parm cheese and you’re done!
This was a great side salad at the cookout I was at, but made a nice light lunch as well. Super nutritious, summery and yummy. Here’s the actual recipe from Food Network to give you more specifics:
2 cups of frozen peas
2 tablespoons pignolis, toasted (see note) (Psst… This is just a fancy word for pine nuts- I had to look it up!)
2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons pesto, recipe follows
Cook the peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Immediately immerse the peas in a bowl of ice cold water, and drain when fully cooled.
To assemble, place the spinach leaves in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the peas and pignolis over the spinach. Add the pesto and toss.
Note: To toast pignolis, place them in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until evenly browned, tossing frequently.
The recipe at the link above also gives instructions on making a homemade pesto, in which I also used walnuts in place of the pine nuts. It was super easy if you have a lot of basil on your hands. Hope you’re all soaking up summer while it’s here. An extra perk at our new place is a neighborhood pool, so we will have to check that out soon. Have a great rest of the week!