Last summer, my husband and I went on a date to a local Italian restaurant that we visit about twice a year. It’s a cute, small place along the river and at the corner of a quaint downtown area. The buildings are old, the streets are narrower and the restaurant is the kind of place where the tables are close, the lighting is always flattering and the wait staff is always nice. We enjoy the ambiance.
But the food…
Admittedly, we don’t always enjoy the food. It’s really hit or miss for us there and we keep going back because each time it’s a hit we think that it’s changed. Plus, there’s that ambiance too.
However, last summer I ate the most delicious salad there made with so many delicious fresh garden ingredients. The base of the salad wasn’t lettuce but instead it was Sugar Snap Peas. It was loaded with them and full of fresh tomatoes then topped off with a delicious lemon dressing.
Making it at home
Using this one experience as inspiration, I began to think about making the salad at home.
I started with the same base of Sugar Snap Pea base because I loved the sweetness, the crunch and the nutrients that come from the veggies. I also love the fact that it was a bit unexpected as a, “salad.”
Garden fresh vegetables
I then added cucumbers, because I love them, and tomatoes for some color. If you have a garden you can probably pick all of these things straight from your backyard. My garden is a bit sparse this year (because we were hit with a lot of bugs last year) and I don’t have a lot there, but I have big plans for subsequent summers.
When it came to the dressing, I wanted something that was light, lemony and fresh. The “dressing” on the salad at the Italian restaurant was supposedly just lemon olive oil. However, I don’t fully believe that because it had additional flavors in it.
For my dressing I started with a base of lemon infused olive oil. I used champagne vinegar to give it a full, rich taste with some tang; added some Dijon mustard to and some simple seasoning.
Easy summer recipe!
As far as recipes go, this is one of the easiest ones you will find. It’s perfect for a summer day when you don’t want to cook too much but really just want something fresh, light and nutritious.
Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- 20 oz Sugar Snap Peas
- 2 cups of cucumbers, chopped in quarters
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped in quarters
- 1 cup of bacon, chopped
Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 1/3 cup champagne vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. garlic, pureed You can buy this in puree form to save time or do it yourself in a food processor
- 1 tsp. oregano, dried
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- Boil 5 cups of water. Once boiling, add your sugar snap peas and cook for no longer than 5 minutes. You want the peas cooked well but still crisp to give you a nice crunch.
- Chill the peas in the refrigerator. This salad should be severed cold.
- Mix together all the ingredients for your dressing and chill. This dressing will get a bit better with age so if you make it the night before you need it, it will give the flavors a chance to really work together.
- Cook bacon and then chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. If you’re making this early or the night before you can also chill it.
- Cut cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.
- To serve to a large group, combine the vegetables, add dressing and mix well. Top with bacon and cheese as desired.
- To serve to individuals, section the vegetables out onto the plate. The sugar snap peas should be in the middle and be more abundant. Add tomatoes and cucumbers to the sides. Drizzle dressing onto the salad. Top with bacon and cheese.
- Top with additional salt and pepper as desired.