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The restaurant I used to work for created a Tunisian-inspired savory oatmeal. I completely fell in love, and have been making my own version ever since (first blogged here). This one is a perfect springtime recipe that takes advantage of asparagus and sweet green peas, and pairs them with a spicy harissa oil.

1 1/2 c steel-cut oats (use certified gluten-free oats if gluten is an issue)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c fresh or frozen green peas
2 Tbsp harissa paste
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 stalks medium asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a bias
5 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
4 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Lemon juice, for garnish
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional–omit for a vegan and dairy-free recipe)

1. Prepare oats according to package directions; season with salt and pepper.
2. If using fresh peas, blanch for 2 minutes and place under cold running water to cool. If using frozen, thaw.
3. Combine harissa and oil and set aside.
4. Spoon oatmeal into bowls and top each with asparagus, peas, scallions, pine nuts, lemon juice, harissa oil, and cheese (optional).

Serves 4.

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1 tablespoon canola oil
1 leek (or 1 small onion, or 2-3 shallots), thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 heart of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 cup brown rice, prepared according to package directions
1 bag kimchi
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (omit to make it vegan)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or Tamari, to make it gluten-free)

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute leeks and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add romaine lettuce and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted.
3. Add brown rice, kimchi, frozen peas and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in fish sauce and soy sauce and serve alongside fish, or alone as an entree. (I served it with tuna, which I encrusted with homemade gomasio–a seasoning of ground sesame seeds and salt–and seared.) Alternately you can top with a fried or poached egg for a savory, umami-rich breakfast or brunch (this is what I did with the leftovers).

Notes: YUM. Maybe add edamame, or garnish with sesame seeds.

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A spin on a classic. Here’s the gist:

1. Layer thin slices of cantaloupe on a plate (or platter if you’re making an appetizer).
2. Tear prosciutto, and break prosciutto crisps* into pieces, and scatter on top.
3. Thinly slice sugar snap peas or snow pea pods on a bias and add to the plate.
4. Garnish with diced or crumbled ricotta salata (I only had feta, which worked just fine) and torn mint.
5. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes for a light dinner perfect for a summer evening, but would make an ideal, easy-to-assemble appetizer.

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*To make the prosciutto crisps, lay the slices of prosciutto flat on a parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 6-7 minutes, or until crisp.

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Couscous, prepared using package’s directions for 6 servings
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10-oz bag baby arugula
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sweet green peas (if fresh: blanch ahead of time; if frozen: thaw)

1. Make the couscous (yeah, yeah, I know–these are very lazy instructions. Womp womp). Add 1 tbsp of the oil, salt and black pepper to the cooking liquid (I used water) before adding the couscous.
2. While the couscous is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30-60 seconds.
3. Add the arugula to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Stir until just barely wilted and remove from the heat.
4. Once the couscous is finished, fluff with a fork and add the remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice and peas.