Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad with creamy ranch dressing and bacon -- A Pinch of Joy

Crunchy Pea Salad with creamy ranch dressing and bacon -- A Pinch of Joy

We like the crisp crunch of cauliflower.   Add celery and peas and ranch dressing, a bit of tangy onion and crispy bacon — a quick and easy, delicious and colorful Crunchy Pea Salad.

You can thaw the peas in the fridge ahead of time. Or not. (I usually don’t.) Break or cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I like the looks of the little florets in the salad, but sometimes a knife is needed to keep the pieces small enough to eat easily. Crisp the bacon yourself and crumble. Or use about 3 tablespoons of genuine crumbled bacon off the shelf to save time. Add cashews, just slightly chopped for a bit of texture and taste to “fancy” it up, if desired. I don’t usually keep cashews on hand because they disappear long before they can go into a recipe. (oh, that tiny bit of salt on my hand — yep, it’s me!)  Mix everything together ahead of time, at least an hour, so the flavors have time to properly meld.   (But I have put it on the table shortly after mixing and it disappeared quickly!) Leftovers will keep for a day in the refrigerator. However,  the only times we’ve done that is when I’ve sneaked out a portion before serving to pack for work lunch.   Straightforward and simple to make. Enjoy!!

Crunchy Pea Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Crunchy peas,celery and cauliflower with creamy ranch dressing accented with a bit of onion and bacon make a great and healthy vegetable salad!
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Salad
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 cup cauliflower, in small bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing
  • Optional: ¾ cup lightly chopped cashews
  • Optional: 4 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled
Instructions
  1. Brown bacon if using, cool and crumble.
  2. Mix peas, celery, cauliflower and onion in medium bowl.
  3. Stir ranch dressing and sour cream together in small bowl and pour over vegetables.
  4. Add cashews and/or bacon, if using.
  5. Stir everything together. Chill one to two hours before serving.

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Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad makes a great dinner salad for cool summer eating. It’s also perfect for potlucks and family. However or whenever, this salad makes an appearance it is a well balanced blend of carbs, veggies and proteins.   It’s healthy and makes a big salad so it will serve a large number of people – or be a made ahead dinner salad a couple of times for three or four eaters. It’s also a nice change from mayo dressed salads and always disappears quickly.

I like for my ingredients to “even out” so there aren’t little bits of leftover ingredients setting around. Three cups of dry pasta is generally about a 16 ounce package. That’s what I use if the dry pasta measures out between 2 ¾ cups and 3 ¼ cups. Any less and the salad won’t have the pasta base needed to carry the other flavors and foods. Any more and the salad could end up dry and low on flavor. Half a small onion will come out to about ¼ a cup. We always have  raw veggies in the fridge so half a pepper or a few celery ribs is okay because that’s enough for another dish.  But if there is  a bit of anything left that won’t get used, just dice it up and add it to the salad.     I have also used packaged shredded carrots for salads. For this one, I buy a package of diced ham and a package of shredded cheese, to save time. This is one of the “flexible” dishes where you can substitute what you have on hand, adjust the quantities to suit and it will still be good. If it seems dry after refrigerating, stir in a couple of tablespoons of milk to moisten without changing the flavor.

Creamy Pasta and Veggie Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups dry pasta (shell, rotini, penne, farfalle)
  • ¼ cup onion diced
  • ¾ cup raw carrot, sliced or shredded
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces cubed ham
  • 8 ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 16 ounce container sour cream
  • ½ cup French dressing
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water.
  2. Dice vegetables.
  3. Mix sour cream, French dressing, seasoning in medium bowl.
  4. In large bowl, mix together pasta, vegetables, cheese, and ham. Fold in dressing.
  5. Cover and chill 2-4 hours before serving. Best if refrigerated overnight.

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Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad with red wine vinegar dressing

Grilled chicken and strawberry salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Grilled chicken and strawberry salad -- A Pinch of Joy
Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad is a springtime hit with berries fresh from the garden and fresh salad greens. Of course, you can make it any time of year with berries and greens from the grocery. Use your favorite salad greens. Leaf lettuce or Bibb lettuce from the garden, spring green mix, iceberg pieces, spinach, romaine. Or a mixture of any mild flavored green. Add a handful of chopped kale to each plate, if you like. Generally, a serving of salad is about one cup (pressed down) of fresh greens. Or, the number of servings in a 16 ounce bag of greens is often listed as six. This recipe will make 6 side salads or three generous dinner salads. The dinner salads are the choice at our house.

The dressing is the star of the show. And I don’t eat dressing on my salads!!! I’ll have ranch on the side occasionally, dipping my fork in the dressing before spearing a bite and that’s it! But this tangy, sweet, oniony concoction is delightful! I think you’ll really like it, too!

Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad with red wine vinegar dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Dressing
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup plus one tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Salad
  • 1 pound chicken breast, tenders, cutlets or fillets
  • ½ cup pecans, toasted if desired
  • 6 cups your favorite salad greens (or 16 ounces)
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Grill chicken about 6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove from heat to cool.
  2. While chicken is grilling, prepare dressing. In blender combine olive oil, onion, mustard, salt and pepper. Process about 10 seconds to thoroughly mix seasonings and onion. Add red wine vinegar and pulse two to three times to mix in. Add one half the sugar and process 5 seconds. Add last half of sugar and process for 10 seconds or until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Slice strawberries and set aside.
  4. If desired, toast pecans by heating over medium high heat until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Arrange salad greens on serving plate. Slice grilled chicken. Add chicken, strawberries and pecans to each serving plate.
  6. Drizzle with dressing to serve.


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