Did you know that only 1 in 10 American adults eat enough fruits or vegetables? With so many meals, how can you ensure everything you eat is healthy and wholesome? One of the best ways is by learning the many ways you can work the pea pod into your diet. But what is a pea pod, and what are the best ways to cook this small green snack? If you’re interested in learning some pea recipes, we’re here to help. Read on to learn more about the pea pod and how you can best prepare the snack.
What Is a Pea Pod?
There are many things that we refer to as “peas” when eating. Most of us picture the green spherical peas that we can find in many soups. A pea pod goes by several different names. Pea pods, sugar snap peas, and green peas all refer to identical (or similar) foods. Other names, like chickpea, refer to different foods entirely. The pea pod is a somewhat-large green produce. There’s debate over whether it’s a fruit or vegetable, but botanically speaking, most classify the pod as a fruit. Pea pods come in various forms that can change your recipes or the fruit’s credibility. For example, sugar peas – sometimes called snow peas – are entirely edible. You can eat the pea pod shells and the peas inside. Other peas, such as garden peas or sweet peas, do not have their pods eaten. While they’re technically edible, they’re much stringier and taste worse. Knowing what kind of pea you have will heavily change your recipes. Sugar peas are the most common for the ease of cooking, affordability, and variety of how you can eat them. These pea pods are often eaten fresh once they’ve been washed with no extra cooking. Additionally, identifying your peas will help you with knowing which dishes to use. You wouldn’t want to put the pods of a sweet pea into your fresh garden salad. Similarly, blanching and shelling a sugar pea can leave you with a limp and uninteresting meal.
Pea Pod Season
When is the best time to eat pea pods? With modern agriculture, you can often find pea pods in any season. However, they have an exceptionally short growing season and won’t stay fresh long after you’ve picked them. If you’re growing them yourself, you should eat them soon after picking or preserve them quickly. In Canada and the United States, they’re planted in early spring. February, March, or April are the ideal months. They grow quickly and will provide a summer harvest. In other parts of the world, some plant peas for a fall harvest. You can also find them grown as a winter crop in warmer regions of the world.
With a better understanding of what the pea pod is, we can look at a few recipes. We’ve included many recipes here that can fit all diets and seasons. From warm and hearty wintertime stews to a summer afternoon’s fresh salad, these recipes are ideal. However, you should note that the pea is an exceptionally versatile food item. Don’t restrict yourself to the recipes mentioned here, and feel free to experiment. There are countless customizations you can make to these recipes to help make the dish your own. For instance, you could make a gastrique sauce with snow peas. Additionally, you should always prepare your peas beforehand, no matter what you’re making. If you’re cooking them in their pea pod shells, wash and rinse the shells under cold water. If you’re shelling the peas out of the pod, it doesn’t hurt to give them a quick rinse. A swift blanch can also make them easier to shell. Enjoy our selection of the best and easiest pea recipes.
Roasted Sugar Snap Peas
Our preference for preparing snap peas is quick roasting. You can do this with any amount of sugar snap peas, but you’ll want to tweak the other ingredients as well. We suggest:
- 8 ounces fresh, trimmed sugar snap peas
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
Rinse the sugar peas and place them in a bowl. Pour the olive oil and the chopped shallots into the bowl. Afterward, you can mix the seasonings. Mix the bowl thoroughly to ensure every pea has some seasoning on them. Place the peas on an oven-safe baking sheet. For easy cleaning, you can line the sheet with a layer of aluminum foil. You should also make sure the peas are properly spread out. If you crowd them together, they may not cook evenly. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the peas in your oven for 8-10 minutes. The longer you leave them, the crispier they’ll get. Once they’re done, you can serve them as a side dish or make them an ingredient in a salad. If you prefer spice, we recommend adding 1/8th teaspoon of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. You can also add a small amount of pecorino cheese to help the meal shine.
Pea Pod Puree
Do you want a way to eat your peas without needing to eat the pods? There are several ways to do so, but the easiest is a pea pod puree. If you’re using sugar snap peas or any other pea where you can eat the shell, the hardest part is done. But if you’ve chosen peas with an inedible shell, you should remove the peas first. English peas, for example, have too tough of pods to easily eat, even when blended. The best use for this recipe is if you’ve already cooked the peas but have the shells lying around. That said, you can do this recipe fine with full pods. Wash your peas before blanching them. Blanching is an exceptionally easy process, but if you’ve never blanched before, it’s somewhat intimidating. To blanch your peas, safely place them into a pot of boiling water. Cook them for 30-60 seconds before fishing them out. Do not discard the boiling water. Pour some of the blanching water into your blender along with the blanched pea pods. Blend them into a puree of your desired thickness. Afterward, scoop the puree into a bowl that can handle both hot and cold temperatures. Place that bowl in another bowl of ice water to chill the puree. You’ll notice there are no ingredients for this recipe other than pea pods. For us, we prefer a pure and wholesome puree. You can use this as decoration or as ingredients for other dishes. For example, fold your puree into fresh pasta to make a lovely springtime veggie pasta. It’s also an easy addition to your morning smoothie. There are no limits, so experiment with your puree and see what sticks.
Want something more involved than pea puree or roasted pea pods? A crispy tofu dish is an ideal dinner platter. However, this dish is considerably more involved than most on this dish, so leave yourself ample prep time. For your ingredients, your starting list is:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 6-10 ounces fresh sugar snap peas
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 minced garlic gloves
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (If you can’t find fresh ginger, substitute for 3 teaspoons of powdered ginger)
- 2-4 green onions
- 8 ounces of drained tofu
Mix your sauces, vinegar, and brown sugar. Mince the whites of your green onions and thinly slice the long green stems. Your first cooking step is to fry your tofu. Cut the tofu into half-inch cubes and pat them dry with paper towels. Toss them with cornstarch and heat four tablespoons of your oil over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove them from the pan and let them dry on a plate of paper towels. Afterward, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry your peas for 2-3 minutes until they’re crispy. Remove them from the pan. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the pepper, garlic, ginger, and minced green onions. Fry these for 30-45 seconds before stirring in the sauce mixture and cooking until slightly thickened. From here, stir in your tofu and peas. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and serve. You may not prefer a vegetarian dish. If you want a pea dish with meat, replace the tofu with a protein of your choice. We suggest shrimp for its lean, fresh flavor.
Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Want something warm for dinner? Peas are great at any time of the year, but a hot soup is ideal for cold winter nights. We suggest this pea and chicken soup for dinner. Your ingredient list starts with:
- 8 cups of chicken broth
- 2 small chicken breast halves, skinned and bone-in
- 4 green onions sliced thinly
- 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- 2 cups of your preferred peas
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Don’t boil it right away, or you’ll risk reducing the broth, which can make it a saltier dish than you intend for it to be. You can also place a lid over the pot to help prevent the broth from reducing. Add your chicken and cover the pot. Let the chicken cook for about 25-30 minutes before transferring the chicken to a plate. Add the green onions and carrots, then shred your chicken while you wait 4-5 minutes. Stir in your chicken, snap peas, parsley, salt, and pepper. Remove the broth from the heat and stir in your tarragon. Your soup is ready, but there are countless ways to improve on this simple, hearty recipe. One great tip is to add a third of a cup of whipped cream to the broth when you add your snap peas. Doing so adds a touch of creamy sweetness. Another good idea is to add pasta to make your soup chicken noodle soup. When you should mix in the pasta depends on what sort of pasta you prefer.
Roasted Pea and Radish
Need a cold dish for the hottest summer days? What about something versatile enough to warm you up in the late autumn? A roasted pea and radish salad is the perfect choice for either. The recipe for this dish is performed the same way regardless of how you prefer the dish. But you can control the temperature by letting the salad cool in the fridge or eating it fresh. As such, it’s a perfect to-go snack for a healthy at-work lunch. For this dish, you’ll need:
- 1/2 pound green beans (wax beans are an acceptable substitution)
- 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
- 2 cups water
- 6 large radishes sliced to your preference
- 2 tablespoons of local honey
- 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cut the ends from your beans and peas, removing the strings if necessary. Bring your water to a boil and add your beans. Reduce the heat and let them simmer while covered for 4-5 minutes. Add your sugar snap peas and cover the pan again for another 3 minutes. Drain the water and toss the beans and peas with the radishes. In a separate bowl, stir together your honey, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Drizzle this dressing over your bowl of veggies. Serve the dish hot or cold.
Making the Most of Your Easy Dinner
Whether you prefer sauteed pod peas or a bowl of chicken soup with roasted sugar snap peas, there’s something for any diner. These easy pea pod recipes are the best place to start your cooking arsenal. Don’t forget to tweak these recipes to your preference by adding or removing some ingredients. For more excellent cooking ideas, be sure to contact us. You can also browse our meal kits to find more easy dinners.