Pea salad should let the peas shine. Let’s skip the mayo this year and make a pea salad that really celebrates the fresh bounty of the season! Nothing says spring like a green pea salad with a few slivers of radish, fresh herbs and a finishing touch of feta.
It’s time to bring pea salad into the 21st century. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional English pea salad dressed in mayo, sour cream and cubes of cheddar has withstood the test of time, but I think these cheerful, green harbingers of spring are ready for an update.
In this green pea salad recipe, I let the sweetness of the peas (fresh or frozen will do) take center stage. It's the same approach I use for my Cucumber Radish Salad: fresh, seasonal ingredients get the microphone and speak for themselves. Rather than drowning out the pea's delicate flavor with mayo, I dress them up in their Sunday best with fresh mint, chives, a little olive oil and salty feta.
And, because this is a next generation pea salad, I included a bit of Aleppo pepper just to keep you guessing. Consider this a fresh, healthy pea salad side to serve with Baked or Broiled Salmon or Lemon Rosemary Chicken Breasts.
This recipe takes only 20 minutes to toss together, so make sure you start on your main course first. While this is not your typical picnic salad, who says it can’t become one? Double the recipe to feed a crowd, it’s delicious warm, room temperature or cold. Make this pea salad and I promise you, you’ll never look back.
Table of Contents
Green Pea Salad Ingredients
This recipe calls for only 10 ingredients and nearly half are things you pour from a jar or bottle! The goal is to let the season shine and make the most of spring’s favorite vegetable. Plus, peas are nutritional wonders. A mere ½ cup of peas have 4 grams each of both protein and fiber and they have a healthy dose of Vitamin A, folate and magnesium.
- Fresh or frozen peas: If you happen to grow a garden fresh peas are great in this recipe, but if frozen peas are available go ahead and use them. Just remember you only want to take the chill off. The peas are ready when the color is still a vibrant, bright green and they are slightly firm.
- Kosher salt: This kitchen powerhouse just uplifts all the other flavors. If you taste something and it seems kind of one-note you probably just need to add a pinch of salt.
- Olive oil: This pea salad recipe draws the line between sweet and spicy so any high quality olive oil will do. I must admit, however, that our Spanish Hojiblanca is a personal favorite, but if you want something with more of a subtle fruity finish, then our Greek Koroneiki works great too.
- Minced yellow onion: The natural sugars in the onion break down to help reinforce the sweetness of the peas.
- Aleppo pepper: I only use ¼ teaspoon of Aleppo pepper in this recipe because I didn’t want to overpower the peas, but if you like things with a little heat then feel free to increase it to ½ teaspoon.
- White wine vinegar: A little acidity brightens the flavors in this salad, if you don’t have it feel free to swap it out for lemon juice.
- Radishes: If it grows together it goes together! Radishes are another spring vegetable that adds a little color and subtle spice to this recipe.
- Fresh herbs: The fresh cooling flavors in mint balance out the dish, while fresh chives provide a soft and subtle onion flavor without overpowering the dish.
- Feta or shaved parmesan: I’ve made this green pea salad with either cheese and I like them both. Feta is a little saltier and adds a creamy texture whereas the Parmesan is a harder cheese and kind of stands out. Really either one will work. Use what you have on hand.
How to Make Pea Salad
If you're using frozen peas you can add them directly to the pan after you add the onion, which makes this recipe even faster. If you’re using fresh, you'll have to blanch them first. I’m a big believer in preparing everything before I get started, so take a few minutes to chop the herbs, slice the radish, and mince the onion before you begin.
- Boil the peas: Bring a small pot of water to a boil, and add 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Next, add the peas, and cook for about 5 minutes until the peas are bright green and still have a little bite to them. You don’t want mushy, wrinkled, army green peas. You want bright green, slightly firm, but tender peas.
- Drain the peas: Shut off the heat, and drain the peas.
- Make the sauce: In a medium skillet set over medium heat add the olive oil, minced onion and Aleppo pepper. Saute until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, and remove from heat.
- Finish and serve: Add the sliced radishes and drained peas. Fold in the fresh mint and chives. Crumble feta over the peas. Taste. Add more salt or pepper to your liking. Transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Serve, warm, room temp or cold.
What to Serve with Green Pea Salad
When it comes to sides, this pea salad recipe is pretty versatile. Spring weather can be tricky, if it’s cooler outside I like to serve it alongside a Roasted Chicken. If I’m feeling fishy, Baked Cod is always nice and the lemony colors look so pretty with the peas. My husband likes pork so Pan Seared Pork Chops are also on the menu from time to time.
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Hojiblanca Spanish EVOO
Extra virgin olive oil from the Southern Andalusian region of Estepa gives this pea salad a peppery kick.
Spring Peas with Radish and Mint
- 1 pound (4 cups) fresh or frozen peas
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced yellow onion (about ¼ small onion)
- ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 to 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup packed cup mint leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- 2 ounces feta or shaved parmesan
- Boil the peas: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, and add the peas. Cook for about 5 minutes until the peas are bright green and still have a little bite to them. You don’t want mushy, wrinkled, army green peas. You want bright green, firm but tender peas.
- Drain the peas: Shut off the heat and drain the peas.
- Make the sauce: In a medium skillet set over medium heat add the olive oil, minced onion and Aleppo pepper. Saute until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Remove from heat. Add the sliced radishes and drained peas. Fold in the fresh mint and chives. Crumble feta over the peas. Taste. Add more salt or pepper to your liking.
- Serve: Transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Serve, warm, room temp or cold.