Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Peas & Carrots with Mint

It's time again to welcome the vegetables of early summer. Even though it is more convenient to reach for frozen, I can't resist the fun of shelling peas at least once a year. It's an annual ritual that really brings home the fact that summer is finally here! This is a great activity for kids, so get them involved, too. You'll want to cut the carrots into pea-size pieces so they'll cook in the same amount of time. Of course, if you want to get dinner on the table even faster, go ahead and use the frozen pea and carrot combination in your grocer's freezer for this recipe.

The mint in my little herb garden is already taking over (mint will do that, if you let it have it's way), so I had to think of a way to use it. The combined flavors of mint and peas are well known, so I gave it a try. The sprinkle of Splenda is optional, but I discovered that it enhanced and blended the mint with the vegetables even more to my liking. This was a beautiful and tasty side dish that I will be sure to repeat in the coming weeks.

Peas & Carrots with Mint
(Makes four ½-cup servings)

1 cup water, salted
3 medium carrots, quartered and sliced into small pieces
1½ cups fresh peas, shelled (or frozen)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1½ teaspoon zero trans fat buttery spread (I used Smart Balance)
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ packet of Splenda (optional, or to taste)

1. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan and add salt. Add carrots and boil for 3-4 minutes. Add peas and return to a boil. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Drain vegetables and discard water.

2. Return saucepan to medium heat and add olive oil and buttery spread. Add drained vegetables to pan and saute in oil for 2 minutes. Add lemon pepper, salt, mint, lemon juice and Splenda. Continue cooking until vegetables are cooked through. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information per serving: 84.7 calories, 10.4 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g total fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 102.5 mg sodium, 2.6 g fiber, 2.9 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

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