Friday's Fixin's: Pesto Pea Salad

There’s something about summer that is synonymous with pesto…is it the fresh basil? the bright color green? Whatever it is, I find myself loving pesto.

I also love Barefoot Contessa. I swear, anything that Ina Garten does is pretty much heavenly. One of my favorite books is:  Barefoot Contessa At Home. If you don’t have it, I HIGHLY recommend adding it to your cookbook library. Her recipes are so easy peasy and accessible (especially to someone like me who is kitchen-challenged!).

She tends to include a fair amount of dairy in her recipes. I’ve found that I am able to substitute vegan options (butter, sour cream, etc.) for dairy products and it works pretty well (i.e., guests rarely know when a recipe is vegan…except for the fact that I’ve just out’d myself!).

One of my favorite recipes is her:

Pesto Pea Salad

by Ina Garten


  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons pignolis, toasted (see note)
  • 2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 4 tablespoons pesto (recipe below)


  1. Cook the peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Immediately immerse the peas in a bowl of ice cold water, and drain when fully cooled.
  2. To assemble, place the spinach leaves in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the peas and pignolis over the spinach. Add the pesto and toss.
  3. Note: To toast pignolis, place them in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until evenly browned, tossing frequently.

Pesto Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignolis
  • 3 tablespoons diced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed.
  3. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
 Here is a Vegan Pesto Recipe, if you’re so inclined (as I am)
This vegan pesto recipe is big on taste, zero on dairy.

  • 2 cups, washed, loosely packed stemmed fresh herbs- basil, cilantro, parsley, mint
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Sea salt, to taste

  1. Combine the fresh herbs, nuts, and garlic in a food processor and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal.
  2. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off. Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable.
  3. Season with sea salt, to taste.
  4. Cover and store chilled for at least an hour to saturate the flavors. I like to pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil over the top to help keep it bright green.

Hope that you enjoy this summertime recipe as much as we do!


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