On those hot summer days, I am loathe to eat hot food. Or make it. Fortunately, my salad game has progressed significantly in the last few years, and this sugar snap pea & ricotta salad is now one of my go-to summer dinner recipes. It’s fresh and unique, and has enough cheese and nuts to give it enough staying power to call itself a proper meal. The slicing is the only significant labor involved, which is also a big plus. It would also make a fancy starter for a summery party.
Adapted slightly from Ivan Conill via Food & Wine.
Serves about 3 as a meal or 5-6 as a side.
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil (preferably unfiltered, but any will do)
- 1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar
- 2 tsp lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (about half the medium lemon)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 tsp minced shallot (optional)
For the salad
- 1 lb sugar snap peas
- 1/2 a medium red onion (about 1/2 cup, thinly sliced)
- A generous 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (less than a 1 oz package of mostly leaves, or a medium bunch if there are a lot of stems)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
Wash and dry the lemon before zesting it. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
Cut the onion half in half again and slice thinly. Rinse the sliced onion in cold water and then drain it well (I just set the colander aside to drain while I prep the rest of the ingredients, and shake it every once in a while, but you could also pat them dry with a clean towel).
Wash the peas and trim off any stems/leaves/tendrils. Slice the snap peas diagonally (aiming for 3-5 slices per pea, depending on size). The diagonal part is largely for presentation, but slicing the peas somehow is important to make them bite sized and create lots of nooks and crannies for the dressing and ricotta to fill. You can toss them straight into a large bowl.
Wash the mint, remove and discard the stems, and tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Add to large bowl. Add the drained/dried onion to the bowl along with the almonds and the ricotta. Whisk the dressing one more time and pour it over everything. Use a large spoon or a spatula to stir the salad up until the ricotta is fairly well distributed and you’re done!
Snap pea & ricotta salad is best eaten the same day, but left overs are still pretty good for a day or two afterwards, (unlike a traditional leafy salad).