This sugar snap peas recipe uses the classic trinity of chili, lemon and mint to create a bright side dish.
Sugar snap peas are no stranger to our fridge. To say that Dave loves crudite is an understatement. Sugar snap peas are a fantastic crunchy snack that’s healthier than chips and fantastic in hummus or greek tzatziki.
But most people overlook sugar snap peas as a dinner party worthy vegetable. They aren’t simply an accompaniment to dip. Sugar snap peas are fantastic roasted with garlic and parmesan, sauteed with olive oil and this great grey sea salt or grilled with sesame and ginger.
But my favourite sugar snap peas recipe is fresh and crispy with bright mediterranean flavours. It’s why I wanted to share this easy recipe with chilis, lemon and mint. I love it because it’s great to make ahead and serve at room temperature.
But let’s first talk about peas. There’s more to these pods than you think.
The Difference Between English Peas, Snow Peas and Sugar Snap Peas
Often called sweet peas or garden peas, you may have childhood memories of sitting at the table shelling them with your tiny fingers.
They are beautiful both raw and cooked but they can be time intensive to cook as you cannot eat the pod. But once shelled they are amazing raw or just really lightly cooked. Please don’t overcook english peas. If you spend the time to remove the pod you’re undoing all your hard work.
Outside of North America they are also known as Holland peas as they were first grown there in the 1500s. Snow peas became popular because the small pods make them an easy choice for stir fries. Bonus: if they’re young enough you don’t need to remove the string.
While the majority of snow peas are classically green, you may be able to find heirloom and new varieties at a farmer’s market that are purple or yellow.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas are somewhat new as a cross breed with English peas and snow peas. They are the best of both worlds with an edible pod. They were developed in an attempt to create a variety that was strong enough for commercial freezing but instead became popular with home gardeners.
The initial sugar snap peas still had tough strings that needed to be removed but now varieties, like Mann’s Stringless Sugar Snap Peas make sugar snap peas so easy to use.
How to Cook Sugar Snap Peas
Peas are great cooked but I like mine to be crunchy, especially in the summer. Heat can kill their delicate flavour and pods soggy. On the flip side raw sugar snap peas in a salad can be a bit abrasive if they are left whole.
In this recipe we slice them in the morning and dress them just before serving. They are small so we don’t need to cook them.
If you wanted to keep it as an appetizer you could keep them whole. To keep the balance of flavour and texture we recommend a quick blanch. This keeps them bright green and crunchy but also takes the raw edge off the whole pod.
Blanching seems like an intimidating technique but it’s simply a quick exposure to heat then a dip in ice water to end the cooking process. Actually that kind of reminds me about the time I went from a sauna to a frozen lake in Finland…trust me blanching is much easier.
Chili Lemon Mint Sugar Snap Peas Recipe
This is not a classical Italian recipe. But so many Italian recipes like summer squash include the trinity of chili, lemon and mint. I have to imagine Italians eat sugar snap peas this way as well.
What are your favourite pea recipes? Let us know in the comments below.