Green Pea Salad with Leeks, Bacon and Goat Cheese

If I could eat anything every day, all day long...

it would be pasta.

Perhaps it's the part Italian in me. Or perhaps it's because pasta is so comforting, so delicious, so versatile, and so cute- coming in all shapes and sizes for just about any type of meal.

Not an easy thing to crave when you're following a low-carb diet.

And today I craved pasta salad. Which, lucky for me, isn't the easiest thing to find at my local stores.

But, I decided to give in, and I set out to make one of my own. I wrote down all my favorite flavors like leeks, bacon, goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, and did I say bacon? Lots of bacon.

And then it hit me... what if I change out peas for the pasta?

OK, so I realize peas aren't quite the same thing as pasta, but in my book, they're a close second. Besides, Princesses eat peas, and to this day, I still believe that I too, would have felt that pea through those twenty mattresses and 20 feather beds.

Today, this Princess ate like a Queen, feeling full and satisfied, without all that pasta guilt. And without a lot of work. I love that by adding the goat cheese to the warm peas and veggies, it melts down to create the most wonderful sauce... all in under ten minutes.

I often have people ask me what I have for lunches, and how to make them healthier. And besides my usual answer of a nice salad or a cheese & veggie platter with some lean protein, my new go-to answer is Green Pea Salad.

Perfect for lunches. And perfect for picnics, since it can also be served cold or at room temperature. Creamy, luxurious, with a depth of flavor and a nice crunchy pop from the peas that will leave you saying...

more peas, please!

Green Pea Salad with Leeks, Bacon and Goat Cheese

3 oz goat cheese
1 leek, cut into thin half-moons, stems removed and washed thoroughly
1 tsp dried shallots (or 2 fresh cloves, minced) I like the dried shallots from Penzeys
4-5 slices bacon (I like a lot!)
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
1 package frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Saute the leeks in olive oil in a skillet until soft and caramelized. Salt to taste, and add in the shallots the last few minutes to soften. In the meantime, microwave up the bacon until crisp and set aside. Then, cook the frozen peas according to the package directions- usually microwaved for about 6 minutes. Drain out any water. 

In a large bowl add in the sauteed leeks and shallots, the cooked bacon, cut into bite-size pieces, the peas, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh dill, and lemon juice. Salt and pepper as needed. Gently stir in the goat cheese until melted and again check for seasonings. Serve warm or cold. Add extra chunks of goat cheese on top as desired.