“Confetti” Carrot + Pea Salad
This colorful confetti pea salad features a bounty of spring vegetables – peas, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and radish — tossed in a light, flavorful dressing.
When I was younger, I not-so-fondly dubbed my mother, “The Fruit & Vegetable Police.”
I’d cringe as she presented a plate of carrots and broccoli to my friends for a snack, or slid a bowl of bran flakes and banana in front of me before school.
You may be surprised to hear this, considering my future career path, but I was not a fan of healthy food growing up. If it were up to me, I would have subsisted off Gushers and Honey Buns until college.
While I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I am now grateful that I was blessed with a mother who enjoyed cooking and encouraged the consumption of healthy foods. Obviously, it eventually rubbed off!
One veggie-centric dish she made that I did like, however, was her Confetti Carrot + Pea Salad. Despite the density of raw crunchy vegetables, it was a summer favorite in our house.
My sister and I would raid the fridge and scarf this salad straight from the Tupperware, much to my mother’s chagrin. It’s probably because the veggies were drenched in a sweet, sugary dressing — for all my complaining, my mom did attempt to make her healthy meals appeal to the masses.
So when she came to visit on Mother’s Day this past weekend, I thought I’d show my appreciation by whipping up her famous salad and adding a few healthy tweaks of my own.
This “Confetti” Carrot + Pea Salad is a quick, easy dish made with a mixture of fresh vegetables and frozen peas.
Peas are a great source of fiber, plant-based protein, and minerals like iron.
Frozen vegetables actually retain the same amount of vitamins and minerals as fresh vegetables, since they are packed at peak ripeness. They’re a convenient way to reap the benefits of fresh produce, at a fraction of the price.
To save time, I used my new Veggie Bullet to rice the cauliflower, slice the radish, and spiralize the carrots, but you can simply chop everything by hand if you prefer or use a standard food processor.
I upgraded the dressing by swapping fresh squeezed orange juice for cane sugar and extra virgin olive oil for canola oil. A word on the concerns of canola oil from Harvard here >>
The result is a light, flavorful spring/summer salad that is packed with nutrients and perfect for potlucks, BBQs, or mixed with a hearty grain to make a full meal. I toss mine with quinoa occasionally to create a complete lunch.
The best part about this pea salad — other than the fact that even veggie-fearing kids enjoy it — is that it gets better with time. The longer the peas and carrots sit soaking up the dressing, the tangier and tastier they get.
- 1 bag frozen peas (about 2 cups)
- 4 large carrots
- 4 celery stalks
- 4 radishes
- 1 cup cauliflower, riced or diced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
- ½ an orange, juiced (about ¼ cup)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Defrost peas by letting them sit in a bowl of warm water.
- Wash all vegetables thoroughly.
- Shred or spiralize carrots, dice celery, and thinly slice radishes.
- Prepare cauliflower by "ricing" in a food processor or high-powered blender or chop by hand.
- Drain and dry peas and combine all vegetables in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.
- Pour dressing over the vegetables and toss.
- Add pepper to taste.
- Let salad sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for maximal flavor.
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Weigh in: Did you like vegetables as a kid? Did your parents try to force you to eat vegetables? Will you try this Confetti Carrot + Pea Salad?