Summertime conjures up cravings for veggies that burst with crisp, clean flavors. With farmers markets in full swing now, this is the time to load up on a bevy of produce for salads, sides and tasty snacks. Lately, I’ve been in the mood for sweet veggies like peas, and dainty Cipolline (pronounced chip-oh-lee-knee) onions, as well as the refreshing crunch of gourmet mini “cukes” – they pop in your mouth and are so easy to take on the go. Why not combine these flavor sensations into a sweet and crisp salad to enjoy at home or to pack up for your next social gathering?
Mini cucumbers are tiny gourds in the same family as pumpkin, watermelon and squash. They are a great snack food, as well as part of a meal. With zero fat, sodium or cholesterol and a mere 10 calories for about a 1/2 cup, feel free to munch away! They are 95 percent water – hence a couple of cuke rounds placed over puffy eyes is a natural remedy. Have interest in growing cukes in your backyard (be sure to have space as they are climbers)? Here are some helpful tips for growing cucumbers.
Sweet peas are jam-packed with flavor personality as they hit the tongue with sweet, succulent bursts. One of my fondest memories of peas is when my grandmother would serve petite peas or petits pois (as the French say) with a roasted whole chicken, potatoes and stuffing for Sunday dinner. Small, dainty peas are praised for their sweet and tender superiority over their larger ancestors. Plus, nutritionally, petite peas hold their own. One cup contains a decent amout of protein (~6 grams), dietary fiber (5 grams), as well as vitamin A, C, calcium and iron for about 100 calories.
Let’s get cooking with some flavorful summertime petites.
Pea, Cucumber, Cippoline Onion & Mint Salad
Makes 2 servings
2 cups mini cucumbers, sliced
1 cup petite peas, thawed (if frozen)
3 Cipolline onions, sliced
2.5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspooon Dijon mustard
A dash of salt and pepper
4 fresh mint leaves, coursely chopped
Shavings of Cabot “Vermont Sharp” cheddar cheese
Place a small saute pan over medium heat and add a drizzle (1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil and the onions. Saute onions until golden brown. (Cipolline onions’ flavors burst when caramelized.) Set aside.
In a medium bowl toss together the cucumbers and peas. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing on top of the peas and cukes and toss; top with onions and mint. If you’d like, top with a few shavings of cheddar cheese to add a hint of savoriness. Enjoy as a side dish or main course with crusty whole grain bread.
Nutrition Information (per serving – inc. cheese): Calories: 262, Total Fat: 19 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 4 mg, Sodium: 111 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 18 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 9 g, Protein: 6 g
Happy eating simply,
*I am a proud supporter and member of the Cabot Cheese Board, however all opinions (and recipes) are my own.