Snap Pea Salad with Basil Pesto Vinaigrette

A long time ago, before I became interested in gardening and eating seasonally, I followed recipes to-the-letter. I didn't know how to experiment or combine food to get tasty outcomes - particularly with fresh herbs. Most of the recipes I grew up with were not seasonal and were of no help to me if I wanted to prepare something strictly from farmer's market ingredients. And then I stumbled upon an article that provided some helpful advice:

  • foods harvested in season together usually also taste good together
  • taste often, and after each ingredient is added to get a sense of what flavour it has imparted to the dish
  • keep it simple

Right now, our garden is loaded with cherry tomatoes, yellow wax beans, snap peas, basil and freshly harvested garlic, and this recipe came about by following the above guidelines. Not every recipe turns out to be one you'd make again, but usually it is hard to mess up fresh, seasonal ingredients when you keep it simple. Play around with what's in season in your area for this dish - the basil vinaigrette is amazing over pretty much anything.

Snap Pea Salad with Basil Pesto Vinaigrette (serves 6-8)

Basil Pesto Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves, lightly chopped

2 cups basil, lightly packed

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée until combined.

Snap Pea Salad

2 cups yellow wax beans, diced

2 cups snap peas, trimmed and diced

1 cup cherry red tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup yellow pear tomatoes, cut in quarters

1 tsp shallot, minced

2 chicken breasts, pre-cooked and sliced (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, cover diced beans with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering until tender ~ 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and refrigerate until cool. Meanwhile, dice and then combine your tomatoes, snap peas and shallots in a large bowl. Add the green beans once cool. Toss with dressing and top with chicken (optional). Serve immediately. It's equally delicious the next day once the vinaigrette has had a chance to marinate.


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