Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto

SaladVegetarianPesto

Tossed with zippy mint pesto, crisp radishes and fresh peas make this spring salad a showstopper. Make the most of your garden vegetables this spring and summer!

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Spring is in the air with this lively salad of green beans, peas, radishes, and mint pesto. Of course, it should be on your rotation all summer long, too. It’s that good!

The vegetables, bathed in mint pesto, are punctuated with crunchy toasted almonds, feisty feta, and fresh mint leaves. This is definitely going on my lunch menu all season long.

Easy Mint Pesto

TO MAKE THIS SALAD AHEAD OF TIME

You can make many components of this salad a day or more in advance. Store the cooked vegetables and mint pesto in the fridge. Put the toasted almonds in an airtight jar (a canning jar would work), and keep it on the counter.

When ready to serve, toss it all together with the feta, radishes, mint, and almonds just before heading to your friend’s potluck dinner or backyard barbecue. And, P.S., you can double or triple the recipe for a crowd.

Four days before:

  • Make the pesto
  • Toast the almonds

The day before:

  • Cook the peas and beans

TIME-SAVING TIP

Save on multiple pots and start cooking the beans first, since they take the longest to cook. After three minutes, add the snap peas and cook for two minutes longer.

To keep these veggies a vibrant green, dip them in an ice-cold water bath to stop the cooking process.

Salad with Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

A TRICK FOR CHOPPING ALMONDS

Whole toasted almonds are brittle and fly all over the place when you chop them with a knife. Don’t you hate when that happens?

I love this neat trick, especially when I want just a few almonds to top a salad or to add to my breakfast bowl. Place them in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and lightly tap them with a rolling pin. Voila! No mess, no fuss! (You’re welcome!)

HOW TO SERVE THIS SALAD

This salad is the ultimate potluck side dish to bring to a barbecue or to serve when the family gathers for the summer holidays. Serve it with:

Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole almonds with skins
  • 6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, halved on the diagonal
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mint pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta, or to taste

Method

1 Toast the almonds: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Let cool and coarsely chop or crush them.

Almond Mint Pesto - almonds on baking sheet

2 Blanch the beans, snap peas, and peas: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas, and let peas cook for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. (Total cooking time is 5 minutes.)

With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the bowl of ice water. Swish them around for about 1 minute. Drain them in a colander, and spread them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry.

Spring Salad with Radishes - pot of peas and beans next to a bowl of ice water

3 Dress and serve the salad: In a large bowl, toss the beans, snap peas, peas, and radishes with the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the mint pesto and toss again.

Taste and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like. Transfer to a bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the almonds, feta, and mint leaves.

Green Bean Salad Recipe - radish, beans, peas and pesto in a bowl waiting to be mixed together

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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Spring Salad with Radishes - blue bowl with a salad of green beans, radish and on a wood table.Spring Vegetable Salad with Mint Pesto