A delicious bowl of PEA SALAD deserves a place on your lunch or dinner table. A dish you can serve as a side on regular days or even the holidays. It’s savory, tangy, with a kick of heat – a simple salad that will surely entertain your palate!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
This recipe reminds me of the holidays where the classic version of this dish is always present. It kinda became a holiday staple food that you can place beside the buttered corn and mashed potatoes.
If you ask any southern grannies, they’ll know everything about making cold pea salad. And this somehow sells as quickly as the crowd-favorite mashed potatoes. Let me tell you why.
What’s in a Pea Salad?
Pea Salad is just exactly what it is, a salad with peas. The simplicity of this dish is what makes it so tasty and a holiday staple. You can use this dish as a substitute for regular macaroni or potato salads. However, I do suggest to serve it side by side.
You can easily make this recipe by mixing in chopped onions, bacon, cheddar, and of course the peas. The game-changer will have to be the dressing, often mayo-based. You can play with different spices like mayo, cream, and herbs to make the dish totally your own.
The southern grannies had different recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. The recipe today is a version of pea salad that I’d surely pass down to the next generations.
What’s special about this side dish is its creamy and fresh texture with the tasty bits of bacon and a kick of heat from my homemade Creole Seasoning. It stays true to the original recipe with just a few tweaks. Here is how you can do it, too.
How to Thaw Frozen Peas?
Most of you know frozen peas as an ice bag for curing hangovers, headaches, or bruises. I really can’t deny that it works! You’ll have the thawed greens by the time your headache is gone, a win-win situation!
Well, it happens that you can also use those for your tasty salad!
The best way to thaw frozen peas for pea salad is to take them out of the bag and place them in a sieve. You’ll run the peas over cold running water until it’s all thawed down. The cold water ensures that the veggies will be defrosted without cooking them.
You’ve probably seen microwave ovens that promise to instantly thaw out anything. The peas will thaw down nicely but be careful not to cook the peas in the microwave with high heat.
Pro Tip: Adjust the time in the microwave depending on how much peas you’ll thaw.
Do You Have to Cook Frozen Peas for Salad?
You don’t have to cook frozen peas to use for this pea salad although you have to thaw it first. You might wonder if this is safe. It is totally safe to eat these greens without cooking them.
Pro Tip: You’re gonna want to use fresh peas immediately because they can easily become starchy and mushy.
Frozen peas that you get from the grocery store are quickly blanched, ran through hot water, before being rapidly frozen. This technique cooks the greens just enough to retain their color when you’re ready to cook them. The technique also helps retain the shape of each pea so that it doesn’t turn into mush.
Pea Salad Recipe Variations
Southern Pea Salad Recipe
We can achieve a truly southern flavor by simply adding a few simple ingredients like basil, apple cider, your choice of smoky ham, and spices. Mix ‘em all together and you’re good to go!
Healthier Pea Salad Recipe / Mediterranean Pea Salad
Replace part of the mayonnaise with unflavored Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese then season it with herbs. The result will give you a creamy texture with a Meditteranean flair. And don’t forget about the olive oil!
Sweet Pea Salad Recipe
Corn is just like peas in the sense that it can easily be frozen and used immediately. The sweetness of the corn will complement the natural earthy taste of the peas. It will still have the original taste of the pea salad with just an added sweetness from the corn.
Storage and Make Ahead Instructions
A bowl of Pea Salad will be good for up to three days. Make sure to cover the bowl with cling wrap and placed it away from moisture in the fridge. The mayonnaise in the recipe may become the catalyst for moisture and turn your peas mushy.
Don’t thaw out the peas if you’re specifically planning to make this dish a day ahead. Simply make the dressing ahead and keep it safely in the fridge. The frozen peas, onion, and cheese easily oxidize so better to prepare those when you’ll serve the dish.
I personally recommend eating this salad as soon as possible. It’s not really a problem in my house because the people around here always finish this dish quickly.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes
How to Make Pea Salad
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-based pot. Sauté the bacon over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes or until the crisp bacon is crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and creole seasoning. Salt to taste. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, add the frozen peas, and onion. Add the prepared mayonnaise sauce to the bowl and thoroughly mix. Stir in half bacon and cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste with more creole seasoning and or salt and pepper. Top with reserved bacon and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Watch How To Make It
- 6-8 bacon strips , chopped
- 1 pound frozen peas, defrosted
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ⅓ cup chopped red onion
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-based pot. Sauté the bacon over medium heat for about 6-7 minutes or until the crisp bacon is crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and creole seasoning. Salt to taste. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, add the frozen peas, and onion. Add the prepared mayonnaise sauce to the bowl and thoroughly mix. Stir in half bacon and cheese.
- Adjust seasonings to taste with more creole seasoning and or salt and pepper.
- Top with reserved bacon and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.