Simplicity. It is something we crave at work, at home, and in all aspects of our daily lives. It is also something that I systematically destroy in my own life. I have a knack for making things way more complicated than they need to be. For example, whenever we have holidays or family get-togethers, I always volunteer to bring a ton of food. I’m not talking about, “Yeah, I’ll bring fruit salad and potato chips and guacamole and ice cream” (weird combo, I know). I’m talking about a pie with a homemade crust and ravioli in fresh pasta plus homemade barbecue seitan.* It’s always very much appreciated, and I love having a ton of vegan food options for myself, but it’s a lot of work!
I also contribute to my own stress with personal endeavors. Right now, for example, I am loving working in my veggie garden and trying so hard to successfully grow tomatoes, kale, and zucchini this year. But working on a garden, getting an evening workout in, and blogging/cooking means my time after work is packed. I guess that is the problem anyone faces with multiple interests and little time…
This past weekend, though, was the first weekend that Steven and I had without plans. I woke up early on Saturday morning and decided to enjoy my time at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market, alone amongst the produce. I was out the door with reusable bags in tow before I even gave a second thought to breakfast or coffee.
Once I got to the market, I grabbed the last slice of apple bread from Wildflour Bakery for breakfast and a baguette for later. As I walked the strip of the Collingswood Farmers’ Market, enjoying my delicious breakfast, I reflected on all of the stresses in my life that I bring on myself. Why do I feel the need to do everything and not take some shortcuts? When will I started trying to make more time to do nothing and just be with the ones I love? Can’t I just relax? And then: what on earth is mizuna, and how can I use it?!
Turns out mizuna is a delicious Asian green that is typically found in spring mix salads. The wonderful people at Savoie Organic Farm explained that it is great in salads or chopped up, sauteed, and mixed into pasta.** I grabbed a bunch of mizuna as well as a bag of spring mix salad. I also found very fresh sugar snap peas from Viereck Farms that looked good enough to eat right there at the market. Time to enjoy spring’s bounty, but without doing too much work.
When I thought of the combination for this salad recipe, I originally had considered trying to make it with some homemade almond milk feta from The Homemade Vegan Pantry, but I held back. This weekend was supposed to be relaxing, and this recipe was going to be simple. So I decided to use Kite Hill ricotta, an amazing mild almond milk cheese that you can find at Whole Foods and some other stores with a selection of vegan cheeses.
I seriously love this recipe. The dressing is very customizable with whatever herbs you have on hand, and you won’t even need salt and pepper! But do be sure to add at least a little fresh mint in the mix as peas and mint are stellar together. I suggest serving it with fresh bread to dip in the remaining dressing like I did here with the baguette from Wildflour Bakery. This salad will make a perfect easy weeknight dinner so long as snap peas are in season.
Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
4 cups of spring green mix
1 1/2 cups of fresh sugar snap peas
1 radish, thinly sliced
1 cup of pea shoots
4 tbs of Kite Hill ricotta, crumbled
3 tbs of good quality olive oil
1 tbs of aged white wine vinegar
1 tbs of finely chopped fresh herbs (I used a mixture of basil, parsley, and mint)
First, blanch the snap peas in boiling water for about 1 minute until bright green. Immediately transfer to a dish with ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the peas and chop in half.
Assemble salad with spring greens, blanched snap peas, radish, pea shoots, and Kite Hill ricotta. In a separate dish, whisk oil, vinegar, and chopped herbs. Drizzle herb vinaigrette over salad and serve with fresh bread.
*I’ve actually made all three of these things for a single holiday dinner…
** Recipe for angelhair pasta with mizuna will be coming up!