Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Think Green: Spring on a Plate

By the time day one of the cookbook challenge arrived, I've already read Salad as a Meal from cover to cover, have it sticky-noted, lists made and we're ready to cook, eat and blog. I decided to let my husband, Kevin choose the first salad and he selected Patricia's Spring Salad with asparagus, peas, beans and fennel. My immediate instinct was not the normal "oohhh" and "ahhh" invoked by nearly every other recipe, but rather "ugghhh... peas."  I eat just about everything, but have had a lifelong aversion to the round little roly-poly greenies. I adore sugar snap peas and just about every other type of bean in or out of a pod. Peas. Not so much.  I briefly considered substituting the peas while grocery shopping, but figured they are one of the major components and I shall do as Patricia's recipe commands. After a good talking to myself, I figured I'd be open-minded, follow the pea-cooking instructions and give it a go for Kevin. I'm not sure if I've ever really eaten peas cooked properly (usually avoid anything with peas at restaurants), so following explicit directions as not to end up with soggy peas, this is how they turned out. Beautiful, vibrant green, that 'popped' as I courageously ate a spoonful. Not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, I rather liked them and ended up eating a few more spoonfuls as I prepped and made the Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing to accompany the... very green salad. 

WHOA! What a beautiful bowl full of greenery. After three long, gray, monochromatic months of winter in central Ohio, a flash of color is beyond welcomed. This salad couldn't have come at a better time- during our peak yearning for spring.  Not to mention, it tastes so much better and looks far prettier than the "green alternative"  I've been slugging all week. ----------->

The lemon chive dressing, although it looks creamy is very light and lemony. A perfect compliment to the crunchy greens of the salad. I'm happy to have leftover dressing to use for salads later this week. Yes, it's that refreshingly good. At first glance, my husband thought the fennel was shaved cheese, so its distinctive flavor was a pleasant surprise to his palate. To both of ours, actually. I rarely use fennel, but have now added it to the list of herbs that we'll have in our garden this summer. In fact, we hope to grow many of the ingredients to keep making recipes and blogging about them through the summer and fall. 

The finishing touch... bread crisps made from a multigrain loaf, which I had made once before a few days earlier, also from the cookbook.  All of  the recipes are developed for 4 servings and since my dinners are usually only my husband and myself, I cut the recipe in half. 

This Spring Salad was portioned for two of us and it was the perfect size. 

We ate every last bite, including every little roly poly pea. The combination of green colors, textures and flavors is amazing. The snap of the beans, the pop of the peas, the softness of the asparagus work perfectly together. Finished with a touch of red Hawaiian seas salt. By the end of this meal, I forgot I was even eating the dreaded peas. Thank you Kevin, for selecting this recipe. Thank you Patricia for concocting it. I can now say I'll eat any vegetable, including peas. The Spring Salad will certainly be in high rotation in our dinner planning.  

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]


  1. Shawnie, loved the post! I was drawn to that recipe too, so I am glad you chose it and now I know I will be making it this spring!

  2. I feel about mushrooms the way you feel about peas. When I had a recipe that called for mushrooms, I quickly identified substitutes. You are a better woman than I :) Isn't the Lemon-Chive dressing great?

  3. YES- I made a "leftover" salad for lunch to day today and used the rest of the lemon chive dressing on it. Springy!!

  4. Love the post, Shawnie. The salad looks amazing. Love the touch of Hawaiian sea salt at the end! Cannot wait to try it!

  5. The salad looks great. I cannot wait to make one and try it also.

  6. This looks awesome. Can't wait to try it!

  7. Looks so delicious and healthy. I would like to be part of an organization to promote the good and healthy life to help the people to understand that have a good health it's proof that a long life.