If you like peas as much as I do, you will want to make this bacon-free pea salad. It’s perfect for a summer picnic, cook-out, or easy weekday lunch.
The first time I ever had pea salad, we had just moved to Washington state’s mid-Columbia region from New England. While exploring our new surroundings, we stumbled upon a quaint little restaurant, tucked into an old rail car. That alone was enough to get us in the door, but the salad selections kept us coming back!
One of our favorites was the pea salad. For years, we actually drove 60 miles just to get another scoop of the creamy pea, cheese, and pimiento salad. Sadly, the restaurant changed hands and the new owners started selling burgers and stopped selling homemade salads.
The Versatile English Garden Pea
New Englanders are known for eating plenty of English peas, and I grew up in a family that grew and ate peas in all ways – or so I thought. Peas were one of the few vegetables my father would eat, and thus were served nearly every night with dinner. During pea harvest, we children begged to eat the fresh peas raw instead of cooked. We even ate canned peas on occasion; and canned peas are neither very attractive nor very tasty. My children used to knosh on frozen peas while I prepared dinner, treating them as an unusual first course. And my mother always included peas in her potato salad recipe. But I didn’t know anyone who ate pea salad. Until that fateful trip.
Vegetarian Pea Salad
Today of course, every grocery store deli offers their own version of pea salad. But I find most of them either overpowered with onion, too gloopy with mayonnaise, or full of bacon. Over the years I have tried to recreate that original salad we enjoyed so long ago. If we have plenty of backyard garden peas, I use the fresh kind, but if it’s a barren year, thawed, frozen peas work just as well. As a vegetarian I don’t eat bacon but that’s ok – you want the peas to be the star of this show and bacon has a tendency to hog the palate when it’s included.
I like to let the salad sit for an hour or so after preparing so the flavors mingle. Bring it back to almost room temperature before serving.
Pea Salad Recipe without Bacon
If you like peas as much as I do, you will want to make this
bacon-free pea salad. It’s perfect for a summer picnic, cook-out, or easy
- 2 cups cooked
peas, rinsed and cooled
- 2 Tablespoons diced
- 1/2 small small
red bell pepper, diced
- 4 ounces sharp
Cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 large jicama,
peeled and diced (or use 1 can of water chestnuts instead)
- 1/4 cup avocado
- 1/4 cup low-fat
- 4 teaspoons lemon
- 2 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon dried dillweed
In a large bowl combine peas, celery, bell pepper, cheese,
Make dressing in a small bowl by combining mayonnaise, sour
cream, lemon juice, sugar, and dillweed.
Pour dressing over salad mixture. Gently stir to combine.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.