I mean, I won’t pick them out if there are a few scattered in a soup or stew or rice dish, but a serving of just peas? Um, no thank you!
But one day, several years ago, I was casting about for a salad to bring to a good-sized gathering, and I came across a recipe for 24-Hour Vegetable Salad that intrigued me, even though it has peas in it.
And oddly enough, the peas were part of the appeal.
So I made the salad, and brought it the gathering, where there were other folks who don’t much care for peas who were in attendance, as well — and weren’t we all pleasantly surprised to learn that we all LOVED this salad, peas included!
The recipe for this salad is based on a Better Home and Gardens recipe card file I have. Me being me, I’ve lightened it up by using light Miracle Whip (light mayonnaise would work, also, but I prefer “the tangy zip of Miracle Whip” 😉 for this dish) and using 12 ounces of turkey bacon as opposed to a pound of pork bacon. Lean ham would be yummy in this dish, also, as would smoked turkey.
Vegetarians: My first thought is that I’d replace the bacon with a tin of kidney beans, rinsed and drained, and maybe a sprinkling of sunflower seeds for a bit of crunch. I’m sure you’ll have your own ideas. 🙂
This will feed a BIG crowd as a side dish (I’d say 16 to 20 folks), and is hearty enough that you could make a main dish for a smaller crowd. And surprisingly enough, leftovers will keep for another day or two in the ‘fridge.
This salad is yummy any time of year, be it as a side — or main dish! — at a spring or summertime gathering, or as a accompaniment to a warm, comforting main dish in the fall or winter.
24-Hour Vegetable Salad (Feeds a crowd as a side dish or makes a lovely main dish for a smaller group)
- Layer lettuce (or salad mix from a bag, with the the carrot bits and what-not in it — a family-sized bag will give you a huge salad) and/or fresh spinach leaves in the bottom of a LARGE bowl; sprinkle with a spoonful of Splenda granular, some salt, and pepper (suggest seasoned salt or sea salt).
- Layer 6 hard-cooked eggs on top of the lettuce, standing some up on edge, if you like (it looks pretty in the bowl that way, with a ring of sliced egg all around).
- Sprinkle with salt. Then, layer, IN ORDER:
- 10 ounces (2 cups) thawed frozen green peas,
- more lettuce/salad mix,
- crumbled bacon (I use an entire 12-ounce package of turkey bacon), and
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese.
- Spread 1 cup mayo or salad dressing (I use Light Miracle Whip) across the top, sealing to the edges of the bowl.
- Cover & refrigerate 24 hours or overnight. Garnish with 2-4 sliced green onions and sprinkle with paprika. (I’ve sprinkled it with the paprika and the green onions before putting it in the ‘fridge and it’s turned out just fine, too.)
- Toss before serving. Serves a BUNCH of people.
This dish is great for a party or large get together because it can be made ahead, it serves so many folks, and there’s no need to offer a variety of salad dressings. I always taste-test the Swiss cheeses available at the deli and spring for the best-tasting one.
It’s an attractive salad, as well — make sure you make everyone oooh and ahhh over it before tossing it. 🙂
And for those of you who are having summer, enjoy the following 🙂 For those of you who aren’t having your summer yet, enjoy and remember summers past and think of the summers yet to come. 🙂