This was inspired in part by the amazingly sweet and tender peas we found at the SoPo Farmer’s Market last Thursday evening. Shoulda bought more! Also, our Labrador, Jazz, is on a new diet which in 10, TEN, days resulted in brighter eyes and teeth, and fresh breath. It includes garbanzo beans, so a pot of organic dried ones are soaked and cooked once a week. I co-opted 2 cups of the spherical beans to go with the fresh peas, added mozzarella “pearls”, cherry tomatoes, olives, a minted basil vinaigrette, and voila: “Marbles” Salad! Make this a pasta salad by adding GF Ancini de Pepe!
TUSCAN “MARBLES” GARDEN SALAD – Serves 6-8
2 cups cooked and chilled garbanzo beans (or canned)
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1 cup mozzarella “pearls” – tiny balls of fresh mozzarella
1 cup of extra small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives (more visual contrast with the black, but some will prefer green – use your favorites)
Optional: 2 cups cooked GF Ancini de Pepe, or Pearl Pasta
1 head of Romaine leaf “boats” or sliced Romaine
1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste
1. Combine the round vegetables in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. This can be done a day ahead so the cheese marinates in the dressing.
2. Serve with whole romaine leaf “boats” or on a bed of sliced or torn romaine leaves.
Enjoy this healthy, fast, easy, pretty lunch or dinner option!