English pea season is short and sweet, so you have to stay on your toes to take advantage of it. Rich in vitamins, calcium, iron, protein, and fiber, the nutrient-packed peas are not only good for you, they are delicious, too, and can work themselves into a number of healthy and satisfying spring dinners. Peas come into season just at the right time when people are craving light and fresh meals, and we’re rounding up 7 springtime recipes that incorporate the peas and showcase them in all of their glory.
1. English Peas with Mint
English peas are flavorful on their own and once they’re shelled, they can be eaten by the handful. If you want to sophisticate the dish but don’t want to take away from English peas’ natural flavor, try this recipe for English peas with mint from Epicurious. It’s a simple formula that has you cooking the peas with onions and mint, leaving you with a refreshing side dish that lets the in-season produce shine.
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups English peas, shelled (about 12 ounces)
- 6 mint leaves, torn
Directions: Sauté the spring onion in two tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shelled peas, a pinch of salt, and enough water to barely cover. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, then add the torn mint leaves. Continue cooking until the peas are tender, a few more minutes. Check for seasoning, and add more salt if needed.
2. English Peas with Garlic and Sesame
Another way to cook your peas is by pairing them with garlic. This recipe featured on Williams Sonoma shows you how to do it. Simply sauté your peas with olive oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and garlic, and you have a bright flavorful dish that has a tang of flavor from the sesame but still tastes healthy and green. Only a handful of ingredients are required for the recipe so you can make this dish for dinner tonight.
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 pounds English peas, shelled
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of sea salt, plus more, to taste
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
Directions: In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate and set aside to cool.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full with ice water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the peas and then immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let stand for a minute or two, then drain.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive and sesame oils. When the oils are hot, add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
Add the peas, salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing and stirring occasionally, until the peas are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.
3. English Pea Salad
For a more indulgent dish still starring peas, there’s this recipe for English pea salad from Closet Cooking. It might not sound like the most decadent side dish, but bacon, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise are on its ingredients list, giving way to a dreamy, creamy salad that is big on the flavor and light on the lettuce. The crunchy English Pea Salad serves as the perfect accompaniment to any spring dinner, and it’ll get all picky eaters to eat their peas.
- 4 strips bacon
- 2 cups peas
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded or diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mint, chopped (optional)
- Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
Directions: Cook and crumble bacon pieces. Mix the rest of the ingredients. Optional: Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4. English Pea Soup with Mint
To drink your peas rather than eat them, follow this formula from Martha Stewart for an English pea soup with mint. You’ll have no problem slurping this soup, especially when you pair it with crusty bread and add a drizzle of creme fraiche at the end. Into the soup go English peas, onions, stock, fresh mint, creme fraiche, and pepper, and Martha Stewart recommends that you top everything off with homemade garlic croutons.
- Coarse salt
- 3 cups shelled English sweet peas (from about 3 pounds peas in the pod)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 spring onions, white parts only, thinly sliced
- Pinch crushed red-pepper flakes
- 4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
- 15 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only
- 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Garlic Croutons
Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a generous amount of salt. Add peas, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking, then drain again; set aside.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in crushed red-pepper flakes and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Place half of the cool peas in blender jar with half of the simmered broth. Cover lid with a kitchen towel, as hot liquid will expand when blended. Puree until smooth. Add half of the creme fraiche and half of the mint, and puree. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Repeat with remaining peas, broth, creme fraiche, and mint.
Place saucepan over medium heat until hot. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. The soup may be cooled completely at this point and stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to one month. Bring soup to a boil before serving.
5. English Pea Risotto
English pea risotto: The perfect combination of healthy and indulgent. This food formula featured on Coastal Living is both delicious and nutritious, thanks to the vitamin content of the in-season English peas and the butter, white wine, and cheese on this recipe’s ingredients list. If you want a sophisticated spring dish that will impress your guests, make this English Pea Risotto and watch everyone’s mouths water. Risotto is easier to make than many people believe, and it serves a crowd.
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ¼ cup butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups fresh or frozen petite English peas
- 2 cups pea vine leaves
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions: Place green onions on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 13 to 15 minutes. Chop onions, and set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; add shallot and garlic, and sauté 30 seconds. Stir in wine; cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until wine is almost evaporated.
Add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium; add ½ cup broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Repeat procedure with remaining broth, ½ cup at a time. Stir in remaining ingredients.
6. Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta
More carbs are up next, and this time, they’re in the form of pasta. Another way to enlist peas is by throwing them in a pasta dish such as this spring pea and asparagus pasta from Cookie & Kate. Bright English peas and asparagus stud this recipe’s plate of pasta to give the comforting carbs a kick of green. Aside from the vegetables, cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs, and pine nuts get mixed in with the whole grain pasta of your choice, and this recipe serves 6 so it can feed a family or a single with room for leftovers.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) whole grain pasta (conchiglie, orecchiette, shells, fusilli or linguine will work)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
- 5 shallots, quartered lengthwise and sliced very thin crosswise
- 1 pound pencil-thin asparagus, woody ends snapped off, and cut in ½-inch slices on the bias
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups shelled fresh or frozen English peas
- ⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or regular Parmesan), plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from one lemon)
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (less than one lemon)
- 1 cup roughly chopped mixed herbs
- ¾ cup toasted pine nuts
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions: Prep your vegetables, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for two minutes less than the package advises. Set aside 2 cups of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
As the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the shallots, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown. Add the asparagus and garlic, season again with salt, and cook until the asparagus is knife-tender and bright green. Stir in the peas and cook until peas are bright green.
Stir the drained pasta into the skillet, along with 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir gently to coat, and saute until the sauce starts to coat the pasta. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the dish to a large serving bowl. Add the cheese and butter, and stir to coat. Next, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs, and pine nuts. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with grated cheese over the top, along with freshly ground black pepper and olive oil. Serve while warm.
7. Roasted Chicken Bread Salad with Peas
Our last recipe from Martha Stewart packs chicken, bread, and peas all into one dish and calls it a salad. See for yourself with this formula for a roasted-chicken bread salad with peas. It’s a refreshing spring dish that can serve as lunch or dinner, and thanks to carbs and chicken, it packs enough punch to fill everyone up. Make this salad on a Sunday and enjoy the leftovers all week. Your house will smell fragrant thanks to the roasting chicken and you’ll look forward to work the next day knowing what’s waiting for you at lunch.
- 1 whole chicken (about 3½ pounds)
- 1 cup shelled green peas (from 1 pound in pods), or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ loaf rustic bread, such as pugliese, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes (5 packed cups)
- 1 cup pea shoots, for serving
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Let chicken stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in separate batches, blanch fresh peas and snap peas (or just snap peas, if using frozen green peas) in a medium pot of salted boiling water until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to an ice-water bath; let cool completely. Drain. Slice snap peas in half on the bias.
Pat chicken dry and transfer to a large ovenproof skillet. Rub all over with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until chicken is golden and a thermometer inserted into thigh registers 160 degrees, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before carving. Loosely tent with foil to keep warm.
Skim fat from skillet; discard. Whisk lemon juice and ¼ cup oil into skillet, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat broiler. Arrange bread on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Broil, tossing occasionally, until toasted, about 2 minutes. In a large bowl, combine toasted bread with both peas. Drizzle with lemon dressing and toss to coat. Arrange bread salad on a platter and top with chicken and pea shoots; serve.