Serves 4 as a side
Eat your vegetables. As kids, we all heard these words, and perhaps some still hear them as adults. Believe it or not, when I was younger I did not love all vegetables. I would, for the most part, eat them with one exception: pulses*. Specifically, peas and beans – and when I say beans I don’t mean string beans, I mean the limas, kidneys, pintos (you get the picture) of the world. Not only did I not like these, I actually had a gag reflex to them – seriously. Luckily, my parents were pretty good about not making me eat beans and peas, save for the few peas that could be found in pot pies. Even with those ones I would put them on the back of my tongue and swallow them like pills so I didn’t have to experience their mushy-starchy texture.
Fast forward several years and I had to face my fear of pulses in a pretty substantial way. As fate would have it, my Master’s degree was all about these guys: their nutrition benefits, and dispelling myths that they cause GI (gastrointestinal) upset and that they truly are the “musical fruit”. For the record, my research found nothing to support that beans or peas cause significant GI upset. But I digress. At this time, my study participants were eating 100 g of the things spray dried and re-hydrated (in other words, a lot) every day for a month, and they did this for FOUR months (three varieties, and a control). Me attempting to stomach them was the least I could do and, much to my surprise, somewhere along the way of my studies I managed to not only be able to tolerate them but I actually started to like them.
Today’s post highlights fresh English peas available at Farmers Markets in early summer. They do not even begin to compare to the mushy canned or frozen kind. Personally, I like to enjoy them, raw, in salads. This one features them alongside a good helping of fresh herbs and creamy avocado for a hearty, yet bright and refreshing, salad that is packed with veggie protein and healthy fats.
*Pules are the seed portion of leguminous plants. What are commonly referred to as peas, chickpeas, lentils, and a variety of beans. Did you know that pulses are a sustainable, major Canadian crop? They are also nutrient dense, an excellent meat alternative and incredibly versatile in cooking. Pules are so great that 2016 has been declared “The International Year of Pulses”. Learn more by visiting Pulse Canada.
- 1 lb English pea in their pods (1-1/2 cups shelled)
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs, chopped (basil, dill, mint)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 - 1 medium lemon, juice only (about 3 tbsp)
- 1-2 tsp liquid honey
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Shell peas and place in a medium bowl. Add avocado and fresh herbs.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Adjust with additional lemon juice and/or honey to balance if needed.
Gently toss the pea, avocado, herb mixture with dressing and serve immediately. If desired, you could also add crumbled sheep’s’ milk feta cheese.