Need to make it vegetarian? No problem.

By Bridget Hallinan
June 23, 2020
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Hot summer days pair well with meals that are refreshing and light, and this sugar snap pea salad from Ivan Conill’s Branch Line in Boston nails it. It’s a marriage of crunchy sugar snap peas and toasted almonds, creamy whole-milk ricotta, shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced red onions, mint, and a super simple vinaigrette. The main protein can be adjusted based on what you have available; after the ingredients are prepped, the whole thing comes together in two steps, so it’s quick and easy, too.

Read on for some key tips for making this delicious salad, compiled from Conill’s recipe and the Food & Wine Test Kitchen.

Photo by Greg DuPree / Prop Styling by Christine Keely / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer

Feel Free to Omit the Chicken…

Conill’s recipe explains that you can leave out the rotisserie chicken if you want the salad to be vegetarian. Of course, if you have some leftover roast chicken in your fridge you could use that instead. You can swap out the chicken for flaked hot smoked salmon, leftover steak, tofu, or another protein of your choice as well.

But if You Do Use It…

You can shred the rotisserie chicken by hand, but if you’re up for a Mad Genius experiment, you can also try Justin Chapple’s clever tip using a stand mixer, which gets the job done in seconds.

Don’t Skip Rinsing the Onions

Since you’re serving the onion slices raw in the salad, make sure you rinse them in cold water first and pat them dry. This helps cut some of the sharp onion taste, so they don’t overpower the other ingredients but still give flavor.

Prepare the Dressing Ahead of Time

This recipe comes together quickly as-is, but if you want to break up the steps, make the dressing in advance. It’s a great standard vinaigrette that can keep in the fridge for about a week, and if you’re inclined to make any extra, it will go well with plenty of other recipes, too.

No Need to Worry About Wilting Lettuce

Snap peas are crunchy, so this dressed salad will keep well in the fridge, unlike ones based on delicate lettuce. However, if you do plan on making the recipe ahead of time (the salad can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days), hold off on adding the mint and almonds until right before you serve. This will ensure the almonds retain their crunchy texture and the mint stays fresh and green.

Once you’re ready to eat, we recommend pairing the dish with an herbal, crisp Grüner Veltliner—voila, you’ve got the perfect summer meal.

Get the Recipe: Sugar Snap Pea Salad