Perfectly ‘Creamy’ Perfect Dairy Free, Gluten Free Pea Salad

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My daughter and I recently attended an IF Table Event. If you have never heard of IF, you are not alone. I hadn’t either. Well, correction, I had HEARD of it, I’d just never thought of going. My daughter however, wanted to go and it was a perfect opportunity to not only do something together, but do it together in faith. IF Table is where women gather to share food, fellowship and faith. An introductory story or theme sets the stage, with questions posed for the group to share personal perspective on. It may sound corny but it can actually be quite cool. If (yes, a little pun intended) you have the opportunity to attend one, I recommend it.

With that ‘table set’ (yes, I did it again, LOL) I wanted to bring a couple of dishes that my daughter could eat, if there was nothing else available. (Watch for my super simple asian glass noodle shrimp salad recipe to be posted next)
I decided, with the blush of spring finally upon us, to make a perfectly creamy pea salad w/o the dairy. This was such a hit with the ladies, I’m sharing it here. I’m really glad I chose this because surprisingly, in the group of 18 women, sitting at my table were 2 others who were not only gluten free, but dairy free also! What are the odds? Well, there are no coincidences in the life of a christian, so there you go!
This salad is a snap (I just cant seem to get enough of wordplays!) to put together, and is easy to make to feed a crowd, or just your family. (If its just 1 or 2 of you, make just 1 bag of peas and adjust the other ingredients to taste)
Its also flexible. If you have fresh basil, parsley or even cilantro on hand, use that. If you want to make it more hearty, add a chopped hard boiled egg, ham or bacon. Fresh farmers market tomato, diced, would be yummy too.
Since we are flush into spring greens here in MN, this is a great way to take advantage of all the fresh produce, and get your healthy veggies in!
Enjoy!

Perfectly Creamy Pea Salad (dairy free & gluten free)

*Serves 4 generously as a side
*double this to make for a potluck or larger gathering.

2 bags Stringless SugarSnap Peas (or approx 1 lb total)
1 medium shallot (about 1.5 tsp) diced fine
1/4 c *Silk Plain Almond Yogurt (see notes below)
1 tbsp Mayonaise
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 Leaves fresh Mint, chopped fine (I julienned)
1/2 Lemon, zested and juiced.
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 4qt saucepan, set 2 quarts of water on the stove to boil. Prepare an ice bath: large bowl with ice and a small amount of water next to the stove.
Salt the boiling water, and add 1 bag at a time to the water. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes, just long enough to set the color. You are not cooking, but merely blanching the peas. They will retain their textural crunchiness, but take on a vivid green color.
Immediately remove, using a spider ladle (see example here) and dump the peas into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Repeat with the second bag of peas.
Remove the peas to a dry, clean tea towel and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, and then toss with the peas.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Transfer to decorative serving container if desired. (I prefer lightweight plastic when I take to potlucks. Its easier to carry something light.

Note:
Because you shock the peas in ice cold water, this dish is ready to serve right away, awfully convenient when the opportunity to a last minute potluck invitation arises!
*I just started using DF plain yogurts. I know there are a growing number of brands of plain yogurts now on the market, just be sure there is no added sugar. You do not have to use Silk brand, that is what I used.


Sunny Summer Salad

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Try this yummy, refreshing and healthy salad when produce is at its’ peak during the summer. It’s a snap to put together, and stores well for a few hours, or is delicious served right away. The only special tool you need is a good sharp peeler. I prefer a Y style peeler, and I think Rösli is the best brand, it stays sharp. I love zucchini this way. It has such a different flavor than when cooked. If you don’t think you care for squash, try this recipe, you just might change your mind!

This serving size is for a generous 2, so double it for more servings.

Sunny Summer Salad

1 Yellow Squash, small
1 Zucchini, small
1/4 a medium sweet onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla)
1/2 each of 1 Red and Yellow Roasted Bell Pepper, sliced into ribbons. (store bought or homemade)
Parsley, minced
1 large clove of Garlic, peeled, minced

Dressing:
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice (about a 1/4 of a lemon)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Salt, Pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 tsp of any mediterranean style spice mix

Optional: Fresh Ricotta Cheese.

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1. Cut the top and bottom off the squat. Using your vegetable peeler, ‘peel’ it into ribbons working from top to bottom. I peel down just to the seed core, then rotate it 90 degrees and slice the next side, working your way around the vegetable. Toss the core.
2. Cut your whole onion in half, then in half again. Lay on its cut side and holding one of the root ends, slice into thin quarter rings.
3. Whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice, add the garlic and seasoning.
4. Toss all the ingredients together.
5. If desired, top with a dollop of ricotta, fresh as possible.
Tip: If storing for longer than a 1/2 hour, do not salt it until serving. Squash has a lot of water. Salt will pull that water out and your salad dressing will be diluted and weak tasting.

This is one of those dishes where there are very few ingredients, as such, buy the highest quality produce you can find. And if your store doesn’t carry fresh Ricotta, any decent Italian Deli will carry it.

Summer in Minnesota is short, so I don’t like to dawdle in the kitchen. Toss this together, pair it with a protein and head outside for a picnic!


Southwestern Black Bean and Corn “Salad”

Grab your cowboy boots and hat, and sidle up to this nummy salad! Trust me, you’ll be looking for a steel guitar and pining for the smell of horses and leather to accompany this scrumptious and versatile salad.

I put ‘salad’ in quotation marks because leftovers are absolutely delicious over the top of grilled french bread -‘Hello Paris!’ , as a ‘Bruschetta’ topping – or is it ‘Ciao Italy’?, or as a chunky dip with sturdy tortilla chips -‘Hola Mexico!’. I’ve served this in organic romaine lettuce or butter lettuce leaves, which is like a vegetarian version of a the Asian lettuce wrap, and it would be a nice punch of flavor in a breakfast tortilla wrap with scrambled eggs. It is so versatile for leftovers, but so delicious, you may not have any ‘left over’!!!

(As always, my recipes are fluid and something you adjust to taste. I will give approximate amounts, but adjust to your own taste. You can double this recipe, but it will make a generous amount for a large group!)

((Try to let the salad rest at least an hour to absorb all the great flavors from the dressing.))

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Salad

1 can (approx 2 cup if you make your own) Black Beans, rinsed.

2 cups corn. I used leftover corn cut from the cob, from a previous nights dinner, but you can use defrosted frozen.

Cilantro: A nice big handful, chopped. We love cilantro, so add a bit more, and I will add some fresh to leftovers.

Avocado: I slice this over the top of the salad. You can rough chop it and toss in to what you are going to eat, but it gets mushy if kept too long. Better to add it fresh to the portion you are eating.

Dressing: (For 1 cup of dressing which is more than enough to dress the salad.)

1/3 Grapeseed Oil (you can use corn, I don’t because of the GMO’s)
1/3 cup Lime Juice
Approx 2-3 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Cumin
1-2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder (you can use reg chili powder, I prefer the pure chili, but if you don’t have on hand, use high quality chili powder)
1 clove Garlic, minced or put through a press
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 cup diced Red Onion
pinch of Sugar
1/2 tsp dijon or stone ground Mustard
salt and pepper
Optional: Smoked Paprika or Chipotle Chili Powder

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and adjust spices to taste. (It might need more sugar, more cumin, more garlic, ect)

Toss the beans, corn and cilantro with the dressing.

Top with fresh ripened avocados.

While I seem to have covered the globe in serving options, I will personally start with what is closest to my heart. Cowboy country flavored good eats!! Yee Haw!