When I was growing up, I loved going to family reunions, company picnics, summer time birthday parties, you name it! Something about being outside (usually in the shade for me) made everyone a lot more relaxed and, of course, the food couldn’t be beat. The sounds of the kids running around, more free and wild than their parents usually let them be… the adults being a lot more free with their conversations around the young ears… the teenagers awkwardly trying to avoid one another while developing acute crushes… the smell of the charcoal and beer freely flowing… the flavors of the potato salads and taco salads and pasta salads and grilled meats of all kinds… I miss that!
A couple of weeks ago, our wonderful friends hosted their monthly dinner party with one of my favorite themes: Picnic! Of course, just like I am with all the themes, I was uberexcited! If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I love, love, love picnics and BBQs and would probably host several myself if I had a people friendly yard and a deck that was in better shape.
I made one of my standby salads (this time, the BLT salad without chicken) and one of my new favorite sandwiches (Tres Cerditos) but it also gave me the chance to try out a new recipe as well. I got the idea for this from the “Georgia Hometown Cookbook” which was a fun read, though most of the recipes don’t work with my real, whole food lifestyle. There was a recipe for a Southern-style sweet pea salad on page 56, though, that sounded really light and refreshing so I came up with my own version based on the one from the book.
The flavors, like the peas themselves, are really bright. This is the kind of salad I will likely make in the winter as well because of how bright and happy it is. It’s also going into my potluck rotation. In fact, I already made it last weekend for another BBQ we went to. 🙂
It’s also not horrible from the fat and calorie front, even with the real mayonnaise we use at our house. For potlucks, I figure about 1/2 cup per person which only takes up 93 calories and 5 grams of fat, most of which is unsaturated. As a side dish at home, I’d figure 1 cup person which still isn’t horrible, in my opinion.
- 2 c frozen peas, thawed under cold water and drained well (a 12 oz pkg works perfectly)
- ½ large cucumber, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced (~ 1 cup)
- 2 med ribs of celery, trimmed and thinly sliced (~ ½ cup)
- ¼ c mayonnaise
- ¼ c sweet pickle relish (I used Wickles relish)
- ½ tsp dried dill
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- Gently mix everything together in a medium bowl until well blended.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.