As a kid, I wasn’t a big fan of green peas. In fact, I pretty much hated them. I had a great aunt who would sometimes keep me and I remember her trying to force-feed me peas. And it seems like we had peas every time I was there.
Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, my disdain for the veggie has shifted from hatred to quite a bit of fondness. Apparently, the 10,000 taste buds we have are replaced every few weeks and as we age the number of taste buds on our tongues decreases. So things that we disliked as kids taste different when we are adults.
Now, I’m still not a big fan of canned peas, but I’ll eat them. The ones I love the most are fresh or frozen peas that are just barely cooked or even raw. I think that’s why I love pea salad so much.
Frozen peas are combined with a creamy mayo-based dressing and, in my recipe, with finely diced smoked ham and red onion. This simple combination is my absolute favorite.
To add some extra flavor, I add a packet of ranch mix to my dressing – a trick I learned from a restaurant a few years back. I find the flavor perfect, but you can always use less of the ranch mix if you like.
Even though there are only five ingredients, and all you have to do is stir those ingredients together, you can make it even easier by using the finely diced ham that comes in a little pack in the cold cuts/sliced meats section of the grocery store.
And while I love using frozen peas to make this classic side dish super easy (and tasty), you can use fresh peas as well. Simply blanch them in some boiling water, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and drain them before adding them to the salad. You’ll need about 1 pound of fresh peas, just as with the frozen ones.
Easy Pea Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
1. Allow peas to thaw and rinse under cold water in colander.
2. Drain well and spread out on a rimmed sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and ranch dressing mix.
4. Add the peas, ham and onion and fold together to coat.
5. Refrigerate until serving.
This recipe originally appeared on SouthernBite.com. For more great recipes, visit the website or check out “The Southern Bite Cookbook.”