By this point in one’s adult life, especially if you live in the Midwest, you should have a reliable side dish that you can make and take to family functions and potlucks. This is especially important if you rarely host any food-centric events. If people request that you bring the dish and it’s relatively easy to prepare, you have a crowd pleaser. Bonus points for the side if people who dislike certain ingredients, like peas, request it yearly.
I think this recipe was originally given to me from my mother, who made a copy of a recipe she had copied. This feels like a recipe promoted by the salad dressing company.
Recipe: Crunchy Pea Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus chill time)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen petite peas or 2 cups fresh peas 1 cup diced celery 1 cup chopped cauliflower 1 cup coarsely chopped cashews 3/4 cup diced green onions 3/4 cup Hidden Valley Original Ranch dressing 4 strip bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (very optional)
Step 1: Rinse peas in hot water (or steam until tender, if fresh) and drain.
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the peas, celery, cauliflower, cashews, green onions and dressing; chill covered for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle bacon over the top and serve immediately.
I never add bacon and this is still popular. You can always put aside a vegetarian portion and add bacon to the rest.
Any ranch dressing will work. Low fat dressing is not recommended.
Hidden Valley Ranch actually works the best. I tried to veganize this recipe several times and used low-fat dressing once, but the results were horrible. You could probably find a combination of spices and a good vegan dressing to make this vegan, but don’t bother with a low-fat version.