Nothing says “summer” like a bowl of freshly podded peas, lightly steamed with a knob of butter melting in. It’s the simplest of side dishes, bursting with delicious freshness. They’re also one of the few vegetables that are just as good frozen as they are fresh. Here are nine recipes that showcase peas in new, interesting ways
1. Cool smashed cucumber & minted peas
These smashed cucumbers and peas flavoured with mint are a cool twist on classic mushy peas. I am not a fan of mushy peas, but I do like sweet tender petit-pois. The ability to choose between frozen or fresh means I can whip this up any season I like. It makes a great side dish to serve with fish, from trad fish and chips to a fried fillet and steamed new potatoes.
2. Butter fried green peas
Sautéing peas in butter makes them a rich, tasty side dish that takes minutes to make, meaning this is a perfect recipe to jazz up a weeknight supper when you want to treat yourself after a tough day.
3. Peas on toast with sesame and pistachio
Avocado toast is lovely, but I’m a bit over it now. Here’s a delicious alternative of crushed peas with sesame and crushed pistachio nuts. The great thing about this is that it means no more worrying about buying perfectly ripe avocados—I always only ever seem to get rock-hard or soft with black splodges.
4. Pea & sweet corn fritters
Using frozen peas and sweetcorn make this recipe store cupboard/freezer friendly. I would accompany these with a spicy tomato salsa, or maybe a creamy tahini sauce. I think they would make a great first course.
5. Pasta with Peas, Quick and Easy
This Italian pasta with peas is a simple, creamy, and delicious one-pot dinner recipe that uses minimal ingredients, making a perfect weeknight meal, it’s ready in 15 minutes with only five ingredients and a serving costs pennies. What’s not to love?
6. Smoked mackerel risotto with peas and chilli
Smoked mackerel risotto is sweet from garden peas, which contrasts with smoky fish & a hint of spice from chilli flakes. Smoked mackerel is one of my staples; I usually have a packet or two tucked away in the freezer. Here it gets used in a classic risotto, lovingly stirred and lifted with peas, a smidge of lemon juice and a nice pinch of chilli.
7. Macho peas
Have you ever had the opportunity to sample macho peas—a spicy side dish from everybody’s favourite cheeky chicken restaurant? They’re a great side dish to any roast dish, being spiced with fresh chilli and with added mint and parsley. It’s easy to adjust the spicing to your taste, from a gentle tingle to blow-your-head off mini grenades. I like it somewhere in the middle, myself.
8. Easy carbonara with peas
This is a true carbonara, made without cream. Spaghetti carbonara is one of my favourite quick and easy suppers, perfect for when I’m ravenous and want something filling and nourishing, but don’t want to wait too long; this recipe takes 20 minutes. Added peas are not traditional, but I am always looking for ways to add extra veg to my meals.
9. Fat-free pea and lettuce soup
Is there a more characterless salad ingredient than iceberg lettuce? It is crisp and it adds a certain amount of crunch, but is really not exciting. The French cook lettuce all the time and I think that it is something that I should do more often. Start with this recipe that adds peas to cooked lettuce for a green soup bursting with flavour.
Helen Best-Shaw, is a freelance food & travel writer, recipe developer & photographer. She has been blogging at Fuss Free Flavours for over ten years.
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