This past week my pear trees finished blooming, all that remains of them is a snowstorm of white petals blanketing the front yard. My local farmer’s market also re-opened for the season, bringing with it a bounty of fresh, local vegetables. As much as I love asparagus this time of year, I also look forward to the first snap peas of spring.
My mother is an avid gardener, I always say I inherited my green thumb from her, and I can remember as a child being sent to pick peas from the garden for dinner. I’d head out with my little silver bucket and disappear between the tall rows of peas, it was like my own little green world in there. I’d pick the peas, nestle them in my pail, and then sit down between the rows, hidden from the world. One by one I would open up the pods, scoop out the bright little peas, and stuff them in my mouth, crunching happily on those sweet morsels of spring.
Once my child’s tummy was content, I’d hide the shells someplace and then casually saunter back into the house, proclaiming to my mother that none of the peas were ripe. To this day, I’m not sure if she knows of my deception or if she truly thought that her peas never produced much.
I still love fresh snap peas, although the wisdom of age has taught me that the crunchy shell is just as good as the sweet peas inside. I love to eat a handful as a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon or throw some on top of a salad. But for this recipe, spring peas are the star of the show.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s not only easy to throw together, it also makes for a very large salad with little calorie impact. Filling and magically delicious? That’s right up my alley.
I start by combining chopped fresh sugar snap peas with nutty farro, crunchy fennel, a bit of chopped preserved lemon, and some reduced fat feta. I like using reduced fat feta because it still has a lot of flavor like it’s bigger, fattier sister, but it’s made from skim milk so isn’t full of chemicals like it’s non-fat bastard brother.
I finish the salad off with a vinaigrette made from the juice of a meyer lemon, which are also in season right now. A true vinaigrette calls for more oil, however I prefer to keep the dressing lean and let the flavor of the meyer lemon stand out.
What’s your favorite spring vegetable?
- Serves: 2 servings
- Calories: 468.4
- Fat: 10.6
- Saturated fat: 2.2
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2
- Monounsaturated fat: 5.1
- Carbohydrates: 69.9
- Sugar: 14.9
- Sodium: 712.2
- Fiber: 20.0
- Protein: 23.5
- Cholesterol: 5.0
- 16 oz. fresh peas, chopped
- ⅓ cup dry farro, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed in cold water
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced and chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
- 2 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
- juice of 1 meyer lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
- pinch of sea salt
- Combine the peas, farro, fennel, preserved lemon, and feta in a medium salad bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and salt.
- Toss the pea and farro mixture with the dressing. Serve and enjoy!