Getting kids to eat vegetables is a challenge for many parents. Noodles are a complete opposite and kids love them. Noodles shaped like starts, noodles shaped like shells, noodles shaped like tiny tubes, and more. Most kids like peas and when you combine them with noodles, you have a winner, a vegetable delivery "system."
Recently I came across a recipe that has been around for decades, Pea, Cheese and Pickle Salad. I've always loved this recipe and was surprised to find a ready-made version in the deli section of my supermarket. Since I had some leftover cut spaghetti (long noodles cut into one-inch pieces) on hand, I decided to add them to the deli salad.
But the mayonnaise dressing was too thick, so I thinned it with some coleslaw dressing. What a sweet combination! I snacked on the salad all day. In fact, I couldn't seem get enough of it. The combination of sweetness and crunch was irresistible. Kids will love this salad, too, and you can save money by making it from scratch. According to "Green Peas Nutrition Facts," an article on the Nutrition and You website, peas have many health benefits.
"Peas are on of the most nutritional leguminous vegetables, rich in healthy minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants," the website reports. Green peas also contain folic acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Vitamins A and K. Better yet, they are packed with fiber, which is essential to good health.
Thanks to frozen peas, quick cooking pasta, and commercial dressing, you can make this salad in minutes. I used cut spaghetti because it's what I had, but you may use tiny stars, tubes, spirals, or shells. However, your kids will probably like the cut spaghetti best. Red pepper was added for color and crunch, but if your kids don't like it, leave it out. Here's my recipe for Sweet Pea, Cheese and Pickle Salad with Noodles, an irresistible combination for kids and adults alike.
10-ounce package frozen petite peas
2 cups cooked cut spaghetti
1 cup Cheddar cheese, cut into tiny cubes (I used reduced fat cheese.)
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish (more if you love relish)
1 rib of celery, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced (May be omitted.)
Salt and pepper
Coleslaw dressing (I used Marzetti's light slaw dressing.)
Cook peas until barely done. Rinse with cold water, drain, and transfer to a large bowl. Cook cut spaghetti until barely done. Rinse with cold water, drain, and add to peas. Add cheese cubes, sweet relish, celery and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with coleslaw dressing and toss lightly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill salad for at least an hour to combine flavors. If necessary, add more dressing just before serving. A tasty side dish for hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches, this salad tastes even better the next day. Makes 6-8 servings.
Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 35+ years and is the author of 31 books. Her recent work focuses on grief recovery. Look for her latest books, "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss" abd "Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids: Grandparents Adapting to Life's Surprises." Visit her website and learn more about this busy author.