It’s becoming a well-known and welcomed fact that frozen peas are better and tastier than fresh peas about 90% of the time. But the other 10% is right now–peak springtime–when fresh shelling peas show off their sweet flavor and tender texture. This is the best time to rethink spring pea recipes, and I’ve got 6 that will hopefully spark a little creativity when it comes to our favorite quick-cooking vegetable.
Grilled Rack of Lamb with Fresh Pea and Mint Pesto | The Endless Meal
A few tips for your spring pea recipes:
Photo: Mike Licht via Creative Commons
* As a general rule, after peas are shelled, their weight will be slightly less than the original weight of the peas in their pods. So, for example, 1 pound of fresh unshelled peas will yield about 6-7 ounces, or a little less than 1 cup.
* Look for pods that are small to medium in size; the larger pods are usually more mature, which means they’ll likely be starchier and less sweet. (This is why frozen peas are a great option: Peas from young pods are flash frozen immediately after being picked.)
* Store fresh peas for a couple of days in the refrigerator, but don’t wait too long before eating them. Not that you’ll want to.
* Best of all, if you don’t have fresh peas or the time to shell them, use frozen! More often than not, we do, too.
Related: 9 kid-approved spring pasta recipes.
Spring pea recipes to cook now!
Lamb isn’t my usual go-to, but spring is the perfect time to break out of a routine. Plus, the Grilled Rack of Lamb with Fresh Pea and Mint Pesto at The Endless Meal (above & top) looks easy enough and outright delicious. It’s a nice starter recipe if you’re new to cooking lamb or your kids haven’t tried it.
The vegetarian One-Pot Zucchini Mushroom Pasta at Damn Delicious is your new weeknight savior. Balancing healthy and nutritious with creamy and decadent, it’s a win for everyone at the table. Pay attention to the pasta and water measurements, but the amount of peas and other vegetables can be up to you.
Peas and bacon: A match made in heaven. What I love about this Spring Pea Soup at Yummy Supper is that it relies on fresh peas and onions, and the bacon is an accent, not the main component. Serve this as a lighter entrée or a weekend lunch.
This simple-to-make Pesto Potato Salad at Saveur takes advantage of fresh peas, creamy roasted potatoes, and layers of herbaceous flavor thanks to a pesto that’s brimming with garden-fresh herbs and lemon. This is an ideal all-in-one side dish for spring grilling. To make it slightly more kid-friendly, I’d cut back on the mint, and add walnuts since I never seem to have hazelnuts on hand.
I want this gorgeous Spring Pea Farro Salad recipe at What’s Gaby Cooking on my plate every single day. Feta and a pinch of red pepper flakes complement the earthy vegetables and hearty grains. Skip the pea tendrils if you can’t find any, and top with shredded basil instead. Enjoy the salad alone or as a base for a simple fish like salmon or sole.
Only requiring a cup of shelled peas, the Peas, Mint and Parmesan Crostini at Epicurious is a perfect way to show off your hard shelling work without working too hard. (By the way, get the kids to help with the shelling; it ‘s fun to see their reaction when the peas pop out.) I make a version of this every year: Sometimes I simply top the peas with a little fresh ricotta and sea salt, but whatever combination of ingredients you choose, it’s the perfect taste of spring.