Baby Pea, Mint and Asparagus Salad

I didn’t raise my Archie to be cruel.  But a few days ago he was watching some old home videos.  And the video footage isn’t that old; just 18 years old which went by like three or four.

Baby Pea, Mint and Asparagus salad

Baby Pea, Mint and Asparagus salad

But he came down from his bunker and said, ‘Mum, I’m really shocked; I’ve just been looking at videos of you from years ago and you actually used to be a really good sort; I had no idea’.  Not only was he shocked that I was once ‘a sort’, he also referred to me in the past tense like the me of 18 years ago has nothing in common with the current apparition standing before him.  I could have slapped him.  I blame the beard; Archie’s been really strange since he became hairy.

Asparagus, peas and mint

Asparagus, peas and mint

But I can’t blame beards for thoughtless comments because he’s dropped some clangers long before he was even capable of sprouting a whisker.  Back when he was 12 and I was in hospital having just given birth to all 10 pounds of Alfie, he came with his father to take me home.  I’d had the four-night stay in hospital and time was up and they were throwing me out.  (They’re very keen to get rid of you when you have a baby.  I’d barely delivered the placenta when someone breezed into the room saying, ‘So, have you thought about going home?’)

Grilled haloumi

Grilled haloumi

Anyway, I went into the bathroom to change out of my very comfortable pyjamas and put on a post-pregnancy outfit.  It was a button-down blouse to make it easy for breast-feeding and an elasticised skirt to fit around my protruding and flabby stomach.  I looked at myself in the mirror and tears welled in my eyes caused by a lack of sleep, crashing hormones and a body that showed no signs of bouncing back into shape.

I didn’t want Archie to see me all upset so I dried my eyes and came out of the bathroom with a forced smile.  He looked at me and his eyes followed me around the room and then he said, ‘Mum, have you thought about wearing a girdle?’

I have never, ever, let him forget it.

Ready for the dressing

Ready for the dressing

Despite my son considering me washed-up and spent, I thought I’d share with you a Spring salad that’s full of young fresh vegetables all in the prime of their youth.  I made it for the five-sibling catch-up lunch we enjoyed on the weekend and it was greatly appreciated and there was not a single pea leftover.  The dressing is made with pomegranate molasses and is beautifully tangy which is so lovely with the saltiness of the haloumi.  Do make sure you don’t over-cook the greens or they will lose their vibrant colour and turn old and grey and shrivelled up and be so much less desirable like middle-aged mothers.  This salad is perfect for a bar-be-cue.

4.9 from 11 reviews
Baby Pea, Mint and Asparagus Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Australian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
A salad that uses the best of Spring's harvest with baby peas, mint and asparagus with grilled haloumi cheese and a pomegranate dressing.
  • 2 bunches asparagus spears, washed and woody ends snapped off
  • 2 cups frozen baby peas (or you can use fresh)
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 packet haloumi cheese cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 2 tbspn extra virgin olive oil plus extra
  • 2 tbspn pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbspn lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper
  1. Cut the asparagus spears in half.
  2. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with an inch of water and bring to boil with 1 tspn of salt. Throw in asparagus spears and return to the boil. Boil for 1-minute only then drain and place in a bowl of iced water to arrest the cooking.
  3. Refill saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Add peas and return to the boil. Cook for 1-minute only then drain and add to ice bath.
  4. When the asparagus and peas are chilled, drain well and place in a large salad bowl with mint leaves and toss to combine.
  5. Place a medium-sized saucepan on high heat and add extra olive oil. When hot, add haloumi and cook on both sides until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Cut cheese into squares and add to salad.
  6. For the dressing:
  7. Combine oil, molasses and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Season. Pour over salad and serve immediately.

Perfect for bar-be-cues

Perfect for bar-be-cues

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  1. Pomegranate molasses??? I am so intrigued – what a wonderful combo of flavors Charlie!
    Kid’s can say the darnedest things – no matter if they are grown and whiskered or if they are little ones! You are gorgeous – don’t forget that!

  2. You’re still ‘a sort’ I promise you that. You are stunning. I hope you grounded him for a week with no TV or music. I think I know the answer but do you tell him when he hurts your feelings?

    In the meantime, make this pea salad again because I’m sure it’s bound to make you happy. It makes me happy just looking at it. 🙂


  3. Oh Charlie, the joys of motherhood. Fabulous salad!
    Have a super week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. Thank you for the good, laugh!!! Liz xxx P.S I think you look amazing… I wish I had your body 🙂

  5. Hello Charlie, you are one hot mama and don’t let your boys forget. No wonder you keep that fountain of youth figure as this is one glorious and healthy looking salad. I have to find myself some pomegranate molasses. That sounds dreamy…

  6. I, for one, think you look fabulous. That Archie…

  7. beautiful salad and I don’t think teenagers appreciate their parents but one day I am sure he will be very proud of you

  8. You’re definitely still a sort. Children can be so cruel, even if they don’t mean it. This salad looks divine and it has two of my favourite ingredients, Haloumi and pomegranate mollasses. GG

  9. Oh the things kids will say. They can be so cruel. Miss A came up to me this weekend when I was all dressed up for a wedding. She pushed on my belly and said, “Huh, I think you’ve gained some weight.” Ugh. Not what I needed to hear at that moment (or any moment really!).
    Thank you for reminding me of pom molasses. I have some that needs to be finished up. It is delicious and your salad looks like a beautiful way to do just that. Here’s to middle age mom’s… 🙂

  10. LOL when reading about how the tried to convince you to leave hospital ASAP.
    And about Archie’s comments-so typical for his age , but be sure you are still “a sort”.
    The asparagus mint salad looks as fresh as springtime, crunchy and light.

  11. I think all young people have strangely warped ideas about who their parents are. My son certainly does. Most of the time it makes me smile. Most of the time.

    This salad looks so fresh and lovely–and that photo makes me realize how very much I miss haloumi cheese, which I can’t get here in San Miguel. Yet. 😉

  12. Clangers is right … you can tell him every line on your face is due to your cruel children if you’re feeling particularly maligned. 🙂 What a lovely fresh salad.

  13. Oh, my gosh! You are STILL a rockin’ mama!!! I had to giggle at the girdle comment…though he had his youth as an excuse for such a blunt comment back then.
    P.S. The salad looks terrific!

  14. Hi Charlie, sometimes I think that boys don’t want to think of their moms as being “hot” in any way, cause your mom………I would not take it personal. Love the way you write, your post are always so great to read. Love this salad!

  15. Oh dear. I hope he manages to get those sorts of comments out of his system before he wants to settle down with a long term partner! A mother might forgive him but a girlfriend…doubtful!

    This looks just perfect for spring!

  16. Men, sometimes it’s quite shocking they run this world because often, it seems like they don’t have a brain in their heads! Your salad is beautiful and so are you. And that dressing, it sounds wonderful!

  17. Alfie, Alfie, Alfie……. tsk tsk!!!!! Trust me Charlie, I’ll be sure to stare blankly at him should I ever meet him & perhaps (mood depending) suggest an extra session at the gym may be in order. Boys!
    Lovin’ the sound of pomegranate molasses in this salad tho.

  18. The pomegranite dressing is a lovely touch. I have heard a similar comment made about me as they pondered the twenty year old photo and my current state. They also used the past tense. Fortunately it wasn’t my son. I suggest you tell him that he is now cut out of the will.

  19. We don’t have any wedding photos up since littlej showed one to a visitor saying ‘that’s my weird-one mummy and daddy’ It may have been a bit garbled, but the meaning was sadly obvious and clear. At least she had been able to recognise that it was us… once upon a time anyway… 🙁
    What a yummy, fresh and healthy salad indeed Charlie. I adore pomegranate molasses, it has such a tart but sweet tang that really gives things a lift- yummo! Xox

  20. Yum Charlie. I am going to make this on the weekend for our friends when they come to lunch. Looks so good. And I think u look fab!

  21. What a refreshingly delicious and healthy salad! Thanks for the great recipe, I definitely will be trying it out!

  22. Kids, huh? Miss6 patted my tummy the other day & asked if I was growing a baby in there. When I was too shocked to respond [so NOT preggers] she said ‘it’s just that your tummy looks really fat.’ #leastFavouriteChild
    Loving this action-packed salad. Go the haloumi.

  23. Charlie your salad is just gorgeous! Like you!

  24. I have always thought that I am the same person through the years. It’s quite a shock when seeing old friends I realize if they’ve aged that much I must have as well:) In fact I met a group at a funeral of a school-mate.. people I’ve connected with on-line and would you know they didn’t recognize me??!! They said I don’t look like my picture on Facebook! Now, I will admit to a little tweaking.. but seriously?? Love your salad.. love the combination, I will look for Pom Molasses! xx

  25. you still look gorgeous charlie! My mum said to me the other night, ” you were cute at one point” I didn’t know whether to laugh or not.

  26. Oh Archie! He can be such a charmer and then there are the lines about the girdle! I’d say you bounced back very well indeed!

  27. Glad spring is in your part of the world, copying your salad dressing. Kids can say the darnedest thing. I used to say to mine “let the sentence go to your brain first before coming out of your mouth”. You look gorgeous!

  28. KIDS! But I get told those things by grown-ups every time they see an old picture of me “You WERE beautiful!”, they exclaim in surprise. One boss saw one and said, “Hey , you WERE a fox!”
    I LOVE pomegranate molasses. It is great use to sear chicken or pork in; I intend to put a recipe or two on mine with it.

  29. Lol, funny story Charlie! Glad you didn’t slap Archie – he still said something very positive. Coming from a boy his age, it is a huge compliment to be a “good sort” 🙂 Love the salad, too!!

    Gourmet Getaways

  30. I can’t wait to try this one. Love the inclusion of grilled cheese.

  31. Always forget about the joy of frozen peas in salads! Perfect combo for spring.

  32. One of the BEST salads I’ve ever EVER seen!
    pomegranate molasses?
    can I get that in America?
    AMAZING. Delectable.

  33. What a fresh and delicious recipe, I always enjoy asparagus, in any form 😀
    So green and inviting!

    Choc Chip Uru

  34. We’re just moving into the fall and now you have me craving for spring. Awesome salad!

  35. woaw, he can be mean. Boys don’t get it and they don’t mean it bad at times.
    I wish I could get asparagus here, I would make this salad tonight (I am out of food ideas, again).

  36. Nothing beats freshly grilled haloumi 🙂 such a healthy salad summers coming and I still haven’t had time to get back into shape really need to start making my own lunches and taking it to work! hehe xx

  37. Hairy Archie got little spiky… 😀 but really, you are still gorgeous Charlie!! I still have no idea how you stay so thin and energetic and glowing after dealing with 3 kids, all age apart with different issues to deal with and cooking and entertaining… Your family look all fine, so standard is very high! 😉 Such a refreshing and beautiful salad!

  38. Another wonderful salad. Archie’s girdle comment is hilarious—to anyone who hasn’t just given birth! From all I read on the pages of your blog, it’s very clear that all three children think you’re pretty fantastic! They sure do eat well under your roof. 🙂

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