Pepita Salad Recipe
People keep asking me for "that recipe...the yellow one with crunchy seeds." This particular medley made it's debut as a pre-party snack, around noon, the day of Heather's baby shower a few months back. It wasn't something I thought up ahead of time, in fact, this was something I tossed together using components that would eventually make their way out onto the baby shower spread - a scoop of this, dollop of that. It turned out to be just the sort of sun-colored goodness that can brighten up any table, particularly now, as summer has faded into fall. Made from a simple combination of yellow split peas, toasted pepitas, and cilantro pesto, it's also hard to beat as an afternoon snack.
Now, split yellow peas are a current darling of my pantry - I can't get enough of them. Healthy, filling, lovely to look at, they're great all the way around. That being said, if you don't have the time or inclination to cook the split yellow peas from scratch (or if you are having a hard time finding them), canned white beans (or even chickpeas), well rinsed, can take their place with nice results.
Pepita Salad Recipe
You can serve the lettuce mixed in, or under the split peas depending on how you want to serve this.
1 cup pepitas, toasted (divided)
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, well washed and lightly packed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1 medium lemon
1 serrano chile pepper, minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups cooked yellow split peas*
2 handfuls lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
Make the cilantro pesto by blending 1/3 cup of the toasted pepitas, the cilantro, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and chile pepper with a hand blender (food processor or standard blender) until smooth. Continue blending as you gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together into a vibrant green sauce. Taste and add a pinch or two or salt if needed.
In a large bowl toss the yellow split peas and remaining pepitas with the pesto until everything is coated. Add the salad greens and gently toss again.
Serves 6 or so.
*To cook the dried yellow split peas bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add 2 cups (rinsed) dried split yellow peas and cook for 20 -30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, salt to taste and set aside.