Eat your vegetables! Sweet peas are one of the first vegetables to ripen in a summer garden and the flavor of fresh boiled sweet peas can’t be beat. Here’s a recipe for a Sweet Pea Salad that is just as tasty all year around when made with either fresh, frozen or canned sweet peas. It’s a great way to serve a vegetable at meals, buffet or picnic.
My family had a huge vegetable garden when I was growing up. One of the first vegetables to ripen was sweet peas. I remember quite well that one of our chores was to pick and shell the hulls of the sweet peas. All the family and often neighborhood children would join in for shelling sweet peas on the back stoop (porch). It was a social affair. Usually extra sweet peas were blanched and frozen for storing in the deep freezer for use all year around.
The flavor of fresh sweet peas from the garden can’t be beat. Nothing compares. Either boiled and served with butter or creamed with real cream was how sweet peas were served. A little high in cholesterol, but who knew about the damages of cholesterol in those days? I rarely, if ever, see un-hulled sweet peas in a grocery store or produce market. I rarely see sweet peas grown in gardens here. We’re left with frozen peas which are actually close in comparison to fresh ones.
This recipe for Sweet Pea Salad tastes just as good with either canned or frozen peas. Actually it is traditionally made with canned peas. I’ll bring this dish to covered dish suppers or picnics for a chilled vegetable salad. Over the past several weeks, I’ve tried many variations of Sweet Pea recipes. I like this combination of ingredients the best. This one is simple and easy to make.
For peas, I use either Le Sueur brand canned peas or any brand of frozen peas. Sweet peas and other canned vegetables come in different grades related to uniformity of size and the number of stems and other extraneous fragments. Le Sueur peas, on the left, always have high quality.Other ingredients include a hard boiled egg, sharp cheddar cheese, celery and red onion (or green onions). The celery adds crunch, red onion adds a little zip. The hard boiled egg is an important component; don’t omit it. Only a little of each ingredient is needed, otherwise you overpower the flavor of the peas.
For a salad dressing, I use mayonnaise and dilute it with just of little of the canned pea liquid or water. Some recipes add sour cream, I prefer the dressing with only mayonnaise. For flavor I add either a tablespoon of dry Hidden Valley Ranch mix or garlic salt and thyme. Both work will, again just a little seasoning is needed.
Sweet Pea Salad
- 15 oz can of Le Sueur sweet peas or 10 oz frozen sweet peas (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups drained peas)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup sharp grated cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
- 2 Tbsp chopped celery
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix or 1 tsp garlic salt and 1/4 tsp ground thyme
Instructions and Steps:
- If using canned peas, drain peas and reserve about 1 Tbsp liquid. Set aside. If using frozen sweet peas, steam according to package directions. Drain, reserve the cooking liquid and chill (I add ice cubes).
- To prepare hard boiled egg, place egg in small sauce pan, cover with cool water and bring to boil on stove. Immediately turn to low and simmer egg for 10 minutes. Drain off hot water, add cold water to cool egg. When cool enough to handle, peel egg and chop.
- Add the drained canned or frozen, cooked peas to a medium bowl. Add the sharp cheddar cheese, chopped egg, red onion and celery and mix gently to combine.
- In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise and either the dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix or garlic salt and dry thyme. Add in about 1 tsp of reserved liquid from canned or boiled frozen peas. Stir to combine. If needed, add an additional tsp liquid and stir to make a pour-able salad dressing. Add to pea salad and gently fold in.
- Chill salad several hours prior to serving.