Frozen or fresh, spring peas are some of the most versatile vegetables. That versatility, their sweetness and their tender bite make them one of the best ingredients to have on hand, especially this time of year.
You’ll find frozen peas in any supermarket, but you might have to do some scouting for fresh ones: Trader Joe’s tends to have them, as does Whole Foods Market in the warmer months. (And of course, they fill farmers markets as soon as they come into season.) No worries if you can only grab frozen ones, though, as cooking times between the two don’t vary by much.
Sauteed Peas With Basil and Pecorino, pictured above. A slight twist on a classic, easy side dish: A little lemon and a dusting of Pecorino complement these peas, which are just cooked enough to preserve their texture and bright green color. Torn, fresh basil adds that herby touch to pull the whole thing together.
Spaetzle With Ham, Peas, Cream and Aged Gouda (Schinkenspätzle). Here, peas are a bright pop of spring in a rich, cheesy pasta dish. Hearty without being heavy, this is what you want for a cool evening.
Farfalle With Pea and Feta Pesto. Swap basil for mint and feta for Parmesan, then add peas to the mix for this creamy, bright riff on a classic pesto. Pine nuts keep the dish close enough to the original so it still seems like pesto, while the peas add an extra veggie backbone.
Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters. Most of the time, peas can just be thrown in as an extra in a dish. Not so with these fritters. Coarsely crushed peas act as the foundation, bound by ricotta and a wee bit of flour. Creamy, salty pockets of feta and a squeeze of lemon make these a delectable party snack, breakfast, appetizer — you name it.
Pea, Ricotta and Mint Gazpacho. This cooling, fresh gazpacho comes to life in under 15 minutes. It’s the perfect starter at a spring dinner party, held of course in a backyard on a warm evening.
Glazed Salmon With English Peas Two Ways. Whole and pureed into a sauce, creamy peas complement this crispy-on-the-outside glazed salmon. You need to let the salmon marinate for up to an hour, but the payoff is worth it.
Tandoori-Style Shrimp With Rice and Peas. Shrimp marinated in spiced yogurt needed a vegetable accompaniment, so here, a carrot and pea rice steps up to the plate. Filling without being heavy, complex without being difficult, it’s just thing to end a day with.
More on Voraciously: