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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Protein In A Pod!

Just like beans, peas are legumes – and packed with protein. Snow and sugar snap peas have less protein and B vitamins than green peas since they are eaten when their seeds are immature, but are still higher in protein than most green veggies, and have almost twice the calcium and more iron and vitamin C.

Favorite Pea Recipes

Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

1 lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 4 cups)

1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/ 4 cup)

2 teaspoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Toss peas, shallot, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast at 475 degrees until the peas are tender and beginning to brown, about 12-14 minutes.  Stir once halfway through.  Serve warm.

Pasta with Peas and Mushrooms

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups fresh peas, shelled

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

12 ounces pasta

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Saute the onion with a dash of salt and pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and peas and cook for about 8 minutes longer.  Toss with cooked pasta, the remaining olive oil, and the cheese, and enjoy!

Kid-Friendly Recipes

Orange Glazed Sugar Snap Peas

2 lbs. sugar snap peas

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon orange rind, grated

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup butter

salt and pepper to taste

Heat orange juice, sugar, orange rind, and cornstarch in a pan and stir until cornstarch is dissolved.  In a separate pan, steam peas until just tender.  Add steamed peas, butter, salt and pepper to the orange mixture.  Stir and heat until sauce thickens.

Potatoes and Peas

1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and cubed

2 cups sugar snap peas, chopped in halves

2 teaspoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

Cover potatoes with water and a dash of salt and bring to a boil in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until tender, 5-8 min.  Add peas, cover and cook for 2 min. more.  Drain, add butter, salt and pepper to taste, and mint.  Heat for 1 min, and serve warm.

Preparation Tips:

  • Cut the tips from both ends of the pods of snow peas, and remove the string that runs around sugar snap peas before cooking.
  • To shell green peas, pinch off the stem and pull the string the length of the pod, allowing it to pop open, after which you can push the peas out with your thumb.
  • Snow, sugar snap, and green peas can all be eaten raw; if cooking them, be sure not to cook too long, because they will lose a third or more of their vitamin C content – and their crisp.

Other Ways to Serve Peas:

  • Serve raw alongside carrot and celery sticks with your favorite dip.
  • Add chopped snow or sugar snap peas to salads.
  • Blanch snow or sugar snap peas in an uncovered pot of boiling water and watch carefully – it should only take a few seconds for the pods to turn a bright green from the time that the water returns to a boil.  This method tenderizes the pea pods and brings out their brightest color.
  • Steam green, snow, or sugar snap peas in a 1/2 inch of boiling water and simmer until the peas are bright green and barely crisp-tender; 5-10 minutes for green peas, 1-2 minutes for snow and sugar snap peas.
  • Stir-fry snow or sugar snap peas in sesame oil or vegetable broth and soy sauce with onion and garlic, red bell pepper, carrots, and water chestnuts for 1-2 min.
  • Add cooled, blanched snow or sugar snap peas to cold pasta or vegetable salads and toss with a light vinaigrette.
  • Puree cooked green peas and thin with vegetable broth and a little skim milk for a quick pea soup.  Season to taste with herbs, salt and pepper.

** Peas are a great source of many vitamins and minerals commonly found in vegetables such as Vitamin C and Folacin, and also a good source of lesser known but equally important nutrients such as Niacin, Thiamine, Copper, Phosphorus, and Iron.  So enjoy nature’s candy – in the pod and out!

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