Green peas don’t get the respect they deserve. All too often they are the spot of green in a TV dinner or boiled to a paste in Britsh pubs ( aka mushy peas). IRL peas actually pack alot of nutrition in a tiny pod. Peas are a legume like cannelli or navy beans and share the same nutritional payloads of fiber, protein and vitamins. All too often, nutritionists disparage peas for their carbs ( 25 grams in 1/2 cup) and calories ( 80 in a cup). However these are the same nutritional statistics for every nutritionists favorite- dried beans- and IMO green peas taste better.
One half cup of peas has just as much protein ( 5 grams) as an egg or one tablespoon of peanut butter, but without the fat or cholesterol. Fresh peas are only avilable from from April to June, but frozen peas retain all the taste and nutrition of fresh peas at a fraction of the cost and are available all year long. Canned peas are not so lucky. They have lost much of their vitamin content, taste funky and are packed with not that helpful salt and sugar. One half cup of green peas ha over 200 mg of soldium– while the sodium load of frozen peas clock in a about 70mg.
I use green peas in a Cuban chicken salad, stirred into a risotto and paired with sauteed mushrooms. But my favorite way to eat green peas is called “French Style” cooked with slivers of ham and scallions. Serrved alongside a store bought rotisserie chicken it is the making of the meal.
Ingredients: 8 ounces frozen peas, 1/4 cup water, two scallions, slivered, in one inch pieces, 2 slices of low sodium boiled ham, slivered, 1 teaspoon butter
Directions: Combine all ingredients , except ham and butter. Cook peas scallions and water for 2-3 minutes. Pour off any remaining waterr and fold in ham and butter. Cook until butter melts and ham is heated through.
One final thought: Traditional Peas Francaise also includes slivers of Boston lettuce. No one in my family would eat it this way, so I just left over this standard ingredient. If you have less picky eaters in your home, the lettuce adds both flavor and texture.