I might as well come clean at the start and confess that I came up with this recipe because I’d been experiencing serious pangs of lunch envy on workdays. It didn’t seem to matter what anyone else brought into the office, it always looked more enticing than the contents of my lunchbox. I regularly made up my mind to mix it up a bit on the lunch front, but most evenings, by the time we’d rushed around sorting out dinner and administering to the needs of the two youngest members of our household, we could rarely muster up the energy to throw together anything more exciting than a couple of cheese sandwiches for the next day.
As you’ve probably guessed, this salad takes a little longer to make than a cheese sandwich, but it lasts in the fridge for up to 48 hours, so you can always double-up on the quantities if you want to make it go further. If you make it in advance, it’s worth holding off on the fresh mint and adding it on the day you plan to eat it. It makes a filling lunch or summer supper, and a show-stealing side dish at a barbecue.
When deciding on the ingredients, I drew inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for Pasta and fried courgette salad, In my version, the courgettes are shalllow-fried rather than deep-fried, and I’ve dropped the edamame beans and capers and replaced them with peas and toasted pine nuts. I’ve also used mint rather than basil and parsley as I think it goes really well with mozzarella and peas. The result is light and zingy with a great balance of flavours.
Why not give this a go, especially if you too are eager to shed those feelings of lunch envy and open your lunchbox with pride?