Pesto Pea Salad

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One thing that I absolutely LOVE and look forward to each summer is making delicious, refreshing and flavorful salads.  One of my all time favorites is a recipe by Ina Garten, Pesto Pea Salad.  Something about the delecate baby spinach leaves paired with toasted pine nuts and sweet little peas popping between your teeth is just so refreshing...and screams summer to me.

Pesto Pea Salad

Here's what I used:

2 cups of frozen peas
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tbsp pesto (see recipe below)


1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
9 cloves diced garlic (about 3 tbsp)
5 cups fresh basil leaves (1-2 bunches)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Here's what I did:

Toast pine nuts in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until evenly light brown and fragrant, set aside.

Cook the peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute, and then blanch in a bowl of ice water (this will keep the peas from overcooking).  Drain when peas are fully cooked.
Rinse, pat or spin spinach leaves dry, and add to a salad bowl. Sprinkle the peas and pignolis over the spinach and add the pesto and toss.

To make pesto dressing, combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender, and then slowly drizzle in olive oil.  Add parmesan during the last minute, as pesto is binding together.


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