Fresh Pea Salad Recipe

A pea salad jazzed up with spicy mint-date dressing and tossed with shredded romaine and toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch and texture. A tasty, off-beat, almost burner-free recipe.

Fresh Pea Salad
The truth is, I was all set to feature a recipe from the Wagamama Cookbook. I had the recipe all picked out. Then, in characteristicly random fashion, San Francisco decided to usher spring forth with an intense heat wave. That, of course, turns everything upside down in my world, because who wants to hang out in a 90 degree kitchen if you don't have to? The Wagamama recipe was on the intensive side, so that was out. On the other hand, it seemed a shame to go out to eat when my refrigerator was overflowing with the bulk of a CSA box a neighbor left with us, as well as all sorts of goodness from the Tuesday market. So, here's what I did...I jazzed up a pea salad with a spicy mint-date dressing and then tossed in some shredded romaine lettuce and a few toasted pumpkin seeds for added crunch and texture. Aside from a few minutes of burner time to blanch the peas it was a tasty, off-beat, burner-free recipe. Wayne showed up with some grilled tempeh and we made a nice meal of it. Fresh Pea Salad Recipe I love the minty, spicy, sweetness of this dressing. If you have any left-over you'll be able to use it on eggs, pasta, grains, and sandwiches. You can make this salad as-is, or build on the general concept. I can imagine adding a few cups of cooked wheat berries and having a great potluck salad on your hands. Or take it in an entirely different direction and toss in a pound of cooked ricotta raviolis. The one thing I would really encourage is here is sourcing good peas. This is the sort of salad that isn't quite the same when you use frozen peas. The farmers markets here have great peas this time of year, and if you don't mind splurging a bit you can often find pre-shelled peas.
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Fresh Pea Salad Recipe

If you end up with a dressing that is too spicy for your tastes, tame it with a dollop (or two) of plain yogurt. If you know you are sensitive to spiciness you can always remove the seeds and veins in future versions. If you like a bit more kick, add more serrano chile a small piece at a time.
1 cup fresh mint leaves 2 dried dates, pitted 1/2 of a small serrano chile, stem removed a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and zest from that lemon 1 1/2 cups fresh peas 1 small head of romaine lettuce, cut into shreds 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds fine grain sea salt
To make the mint-date dressing, puree the mint, dates, chiles and lemon juice and zest using a food processor or hand blender. Blend until uniform in texture. Thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water at a time until it is a consistency that you can drizzle (the photo up above is before I added 2-3 tablespoons of water to thin it out). Taste and adjust for lemon and spiciness. When you go to cook the peas, the key is not overcooking them. Fill a big bowl with ice water and set aside. Add some salt (as you would pasta water) and the peas. Bring six cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. You are just going to boil the peas for a very short time. Don't leave the stove. Somewhere between ten and twenty seconds.You want them just barely tender, so they still pop in your - mouth. Quickly drain and dunk the peas in the bowl of ice water. Just before serving gently toss the peas, lettuce, and pumpkin seeds with about half of the dressing and a couple pinches of salt. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Finish with a pinch or two of your favorite finishing salt. Serves 2 - 4.
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I made this for my husband's birthday picnic dinner. I used a tiny sliver of habenero pepper in the dressing, and (hmmm, surprise, surprise) TOO spicy for the salad. So we used a commercial (fairly natural) sesame dressing on the salad, and used the mint dressing on our presse sandwiches, which had fresh mozzerella on them and needed a little extra kick. It was perfect on a sandwich with cheese and hearty bread. It was a great meal - we all loved it.


I just tried this recipe, and it's lovely... a great way to finish up spring vegetables. Also, my husband and I just catered our own wedding last month in the central coast, and we served your pumpkin seed salad. Everyone loved it. Thanks so much for these amazing recipes. HS: I love that pumpkin seed salad - and I'm so happy to hear it made an appearance at your special day! Thanks for the note Jessica.


So good....I can't wait to try this. Love fresh peas....super!


This recipe was fabulous. The flavor combinations are so interesting. Fresh, healthy, easy. YUM!!!! I'm in Colorado so don't have fresh peas yet. Can't wait to officially try it "fresh"


I've never had a pea soup, but this sounds SOOOOOO refreshing! I'm going to have to try this some time soon! GREAT RECIPE!


Wow, that looks delicious. Very fresh and the perfect dish for a hot summer day... Will definitly make this once summer is back here. At the moment it's freezing. Cheers, Sarah


I love peas with mint!!!!! Looks fantastic!!! My kitchen overheats in the summer, I'll definitely have to keep this on standby.


Love your approach to peas. Spice-upBLAND VEGGIE. Look at blog HOMESICK TEXAN. She is doing another take on peas. Spring 2009 must be the year of the Pea! As I live in Texas and my Uncle lives near Anchor Brewing, I hear the temps are brutal. He is 88 and does not have A/C. Try and stay cool. Love the recipes. Sometimes the ingredients are not available in my area.


I've never been a big pea fan, but my wife is and I this recipe makes me want to give them a fair try. The dressing looks fantastic. Recently went vegetarian (plus very rare fish) so I'm all about expanding my diet now!

Matt (NoMeatAthlete)

the salad looks so fresh and appetizing! Siri


This sounds delicious! I love fresh peas in spring.


Everyone's showing fresh peas and they are a month away here. I love that dressing - that would be fabulous on the peas and so many things.


I love when recipes come up and I have the ingredients already in my kitchen. Going on a picnic tomorrow and taking this with me. Again- wonderful inspiration.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

I love when recipes come up and I have the ingredients already in my kitchen. Going on a picnic tomorrow and taking this with me. Again- wonderful inspiration.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

Hi! Just made the salad and it tasted absolutely gorgeous. As we are still in early spring, I used frozen peas steamed only just enough to defrost them. Not quite as fresh, but close enough! Loved the chili in mint sauce, a nice extra touch! Forgot to buy fresh chili so used a tiny pinch of the chili spice. Finally, I know that this site is vegetarian and I'm a fish-eating vegetarian probably 98% of time, but this sauce will taste great with roast lamb!


This sounds, looks, probably tastes wonderful! But just a question: why wait to add the salt? Couldn't you just as easily add it when blending the dressing?


What an interesting mix! I love putting dates in salads. And I've never had fresh peas before-- only frozen/canned-- isn't that sad??? I need to fix the situation immediately.


That dressing is divine! It's perfect for the peas, but I can imagine it making magic of many things.


Great dish for the warming weather.


An inspired recipe!


love your recipes so so much but DO remember that many of the people that love this site do not live in the abundance of california..The northlands North dakota and extreme northern minnesota do not have the Foods YOU guys get to enjoy temper your recipes (if you can ) to those of us that do not have any form of a FARMERS MARKET till ..lets say ..late june and even better for us up here is not till late august..then winter sets in once again ..really !! HS: Hi Gail, stay warm up there! I understand your frustration. One thing I might suggest is this - there are six years+ of archived recipes on the site, feel free to poke around. I have a page listing recipes by key ingredients. So, for example, if you're still seeing lots of winter squash or cabbage where you're at, you can hop straight to those pages. Hope this helps a bit.


love your recipes so so much but DO remember that many of the people that love this site do not live in the abundance of california..The northlands North dakota and extreme northern minnesota do not have the Foods YOU guys get to enjoy temper your recipes (if you can ) to those of us that do not have any form of a FARMERS MARKET till ..lets say ..late june and even better for us up here is not till late august..then winter sets in once again ..really !!


Hey there! You know I LOVE all of your recipes... but, I have a question. Is 6 CUPS of water really necessary for 1.5 cups of peas. That seems like so much in this drought ridden state of ours... but I don't know if there is some cooking rule that I am not aware of. I know I can cool it and use it to water the garden... but if I don't even have to start with that, I would prefer not to. Love to know... thanks xo shell

shelley Boyle

well us up here in FARGO just survived 18 inches of snow 3 weeks ago and then the floods and now to get snow the next few days?? god save us ..fresh peas?? not!!..I WISH FOR 90 degrees up here..frozen peas MUST be ok ..any suggestions??


mint-yummy. We had peas over romaine and other lettuces with basil, tomatoes and mozarella tossed in. And some leftover shredded bbq chicken. mmm


Thanks for this idea. I'm feeding more like 6-8 people but don't have enough peas, so I'm going to add some of the soft baby lettuce, baby yellow squash and edible flowers that I got in my produce box. I'm also making a variation of your pasta salads with some vegan artichoke ravioli, chard and asparagus.


I make something similar and throw in chopped unpeeled fresh pear tossed in lemon or lime juice


Hi Heidi, not sure if this is addressed any where on your site, but I did read that your cookbook is vegetarian. Do you have recipes based around animal protein? I have to eat meat/Paleolithic style because diabetes and obesity run in my family. Just wondering. The pea salad looks fabulous. Never thought to pair it with a mint sauce!

Lauren B

Love fresh peas. Try this - take fresh peas, lightly blanch. Then add to fresh baby spinach, add some crumbled feta and squeeze lemon juice over the top with a bit of olive oil. So fresh, delicious and easy.


Thank you it looks great. I just brought back dates from the famous Hadleys to Maui and will make after a trip to my farmer's market

Maui Bon

Great dish.....I made it in a fuss...had it with simple curd n toastd bread.Yummyyyy .....


The dates are an interesting addition. Sounds like a rather healthy salad. The dressing on a sandwich would be good now that you mention it.

The Duo Dishes

Sounds delish as usual. I live in Pea Country, so this is definitely a good time of year! For that next SF heat wave, here are some blender pasta sauces, including one made with raw peas. Also, I just ordered Vegan Soul for the store; as an ex-Ga. boy, looking forward to it!


Well we have a family recipe that goes back a few generations. Nothing clean & fresh like this? We only make it once or twice a year because it is too rich. This is a nice quick idea and love the peas. Best from Santa Barbara, s

s. stockwell

that mint dressing sounds so nice. i really do love your healthy recipes :)

vicky from culinary dishing

You can still include some burner-intensive recipes for those of us who still have winter most of the time! (Seattle) :-)


Una ensalada buenisima!!!


What a great dish. My 6 year old loves peas and is getting more adventurous with his salads. I'm sure he will love this recipe.


That sounds incredibly refreshing! YUM! I love how you use dates to sweeten the dressing.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

This looks great. I'm starting to really love and use your sauces. I tried your Walnut Miso Sauce earlier this week - yum! Can't wait to try this one out. I'm also interested on you opinion of Wagamama...


Heidi, that looks positively delicious! With spring in the air, all of your green dishes are so lovely. Oh, and I tried your asparagus stir fry, and it was a big hit all around! I wish that I went to the same Farmers Markets as you do though, your produce looks fantastic. Tegan


YUM!!! I think I'll make this tonight along with gnocchi in vodka sauce.


Michelle, for fresh shelling peas in the Boston area head to the farmer's markets (when they open...June around here? ugh), join a CSA, or go to Russo's in Watertown: 560 Pleasant Street. I don't know if they've got the shelling peas out quite yet, but they will!


It's so pretty. I am slightly jealous of fresh produce. It is still early spring here and not much growing yet. Except my indoor lettuce garden, It saves me!


Lovely salad, can't wait to try it. I'll follow your recipe exact to make it for my husband and mother. For me, I'll sprout the peas.


With mint overflowing in my backyard already, I am game for this. Anything green makes me so happy. Especially peas. I want to put this in some hand-made ravioli. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Angela@Spinach Tiger

Awesome! I have a question about fresh peas...why can't I ever find them? When I was a kid I remember my mom buying them and we'd sit together opening up the pods and retrieving our sweet reward. But now all I ever can find are frozen. Is Boston just too far out of pea country?

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

So perfect for spring! I bet a little ricotta salata would be nice in here as well. And may I say, you are really on a roll with the salad dressings. I'm loving the walnut miso one from a few posts back!


All I can say is YUM!!!!


You always find such pretty lettuces! I know it's just romaine, but the hearts are gorgeous. I'm so into all the green on green dishes this Spring, and this one is gorgeous! I'm also such a hard cheese fan and would consider a light sprinkle to this salad. Gran padano perhaps? Thanks for sharing the recipe, it's great.

Maggie at EatBoutique

Your dressing look delicious! with a salad, or perhaps with rice or pasta... nice idea, I'll try soon. Thank you...

Dominique (de vous à moi...)

This sounds great - perfect for Spring!


This is such an original recipe - I love it! I swear, dates are so underused - they taste so delicious and they are so healthy


I love greens! spring gives us a wonderful excuse indeed!


This looks fantastic. I just love fresh peas. You can even eat them raw and they are delicious! I have been eating as many of them as I can get my hands on. What a great idea to use that dressing for a sandwich.


I've been taking advantage of the fresh peas around this time of year as well! I love throwing them into pretty much everything. I'm so jealous of the Wagamama cookbook. I hope you'll be featuring some of their recipes soon! I go every time I'm in London.


Danica -- I highly recommend the Mariquita Farms CSA -- you get a great mixture of typical vegetables (cooking greens, onions, salad greens, artichokes) along with more unique vegetables (cardoon, amaranth greens, orach, fava beans etc). If you're down on the peninsula, Hidden Villa also has a good CSA, but you have to pick it up on the farm in Los Altos Hills, whereas Mariquita has drop off sites all over the bay area

Jen (Modern Beet)

Are you part of a CSA? I'm new to the Bay Area and am looking at the many options out there. I'd love a recommendation!


That looks delicious. I LOVE peas with lettuce and mint. The SF heat is killing my cooking aspirations as well...all of the sudden I have reverted back to my childhood predilection for OJ and PB&J. Great post and AMAZING pictures! Thanks!

Michelle @

I'm incredibly intrigued by the flavor combinations in this salad. Thanks for the wheat berry suggestion, I think it would make a perfect light lunch!


sounds like a great dish!


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