• Crispy lamb, pea and mint fritters (Donna Hay)Source: Donna Hay
All we are saying, is give peas a chance...
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2 Sep 2021 - 10:19 AM  UPDATED 5 Oct 2021 - 11:59 AM

It's springtime! Or, for those in the know, it's pea time! This is to say, that exquisite time of year where you can pop fresh peas straight from pod to mouth. Worth every fiddly moment.

If you can't grow your own (or simply can't be bothered), you can buy peas in their pod from a good greengrocer. We're sitting on our front step in the late evening glow, ready to prise sweet green peas from their pods. Get the whole family and your friends involved in this most marvellous past-time. It will make you all feel so good, and you haven't even tucked into these yummy pea recipes yet!

How to grow: Peas
Freshly picked homegrown peas are simply irresistible. So sweet, they rarely make it to the kitchen. Classic green shelling peas are best known, then there’s sugar snaps you can eat pod and all, and crunchy snow peas that are perfect for salads and stir-fries. Peas are great space savers – they grow upwards rather than outwards – and city gardeners can grow dwarf varieties in pots. It’s good to know that peas have the remarkable ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in their roots, so they’re great for improving poor soils.

Rest assured that romance aside, a packet of frozen peas from the supermarket will still bring plenty of springy pea freshness to any of these recipes.

Peas for brekkie

Peas are how you start the day outright. Dipping toast into Adam Liaw's pea-purée baked eggs topped with crisp bacon and parmesan. It's going to be a pea-ticularly great day.

Classic Venetian

Risi e bisi is what happens when peas step up from freezer staple to royal ingredient. This soupy risotto is traditionally offered to the ruler of Venice on St Mark’s feast day.

Risotto with spring peas and prawns

Less is more with this risotto as a handful of simple ingredients bring together a bowl of steaming, costal Italian goodness.

With early potatoes

The only veggie that can rival the pea for spring freshness is new potatoes. So it makes sense to combine them Nepalese-style into a salad to blow your mind. Cue flavour explosion.

Green fritters

Pack some peas into your lamb and cavolo nero fritters and watch the kids gobble them up. Side note: it's very satisfying watching children eat green things.

Pea and ricotta fritti

Light, fluffy and almost dumpling-like, these deep-fried vegetarian treats make such a delicious snack. This is a really quick and easy recipe that's great for parties, and a great way to get the kids eating their greens.

Time for soup

Pea soup is what you make when you think you have nothing in the pantry-slash-freezer. This one adds some fancy crisp pancetta slices, but it's honestly just as good without. Peas stand alone.

With broccoli too

Broccoli and peas make quiet companions, matched by colour and complemented in flavour. This creamy soup makes the most of the last of winter's broccoli and early spring peas.

Mash it good

Add some freshly-shelled peas to a simple new potato mash for pops of fresh flavour. Serve it with a jerk pork belly on the side...

Aloo there peas

Jimmy Shu adds Indian flair to a pea puree in this spicy aloo bonda. Pea puree is an excellent resting place between bites of spice-packed fritter.

Minty peas

Mint and peas have long been excellent dance partners and here they join feta in a quiche extravaganza. Leftovers are excellent cold for lunch the next day. Hmmm... better make two.

Tarty peas

If you've got some broccoli in the fridge, use it in a cheddar tart.

This broccoli, pea and cheddar tart is everything a Saturday lunch in spring should be. Take it outside onto the deck, terrace, patio, balcony or lawn. 

Shiny peas

A humble Greek salad that proves that fresh peas don't need a lot to shine. The greens rest on a cauliflower puree and are sprinkled with both oregano salt and a fresh lemon dressing.

Pea-ella

Every good paella deserves peas. The little green flavour bombs add just the right amount of simple freshness to the complex dish.

Pea salsa

We've established by now that peas go with pretty much everything, but especially salmon. Here Lyndey Milan pairs a spiced pea soup and crunchy raw pea salsa with Japanese-inspired pan-fried trout.

Fresh peas, burrata and horseradish

This dish is all about beautiful fresh produce. The peas have to be freshly podded, the horseradish freshly grated, the burrata fresh and creamy, the best anchovies and the olive oil top quality, otherwise it will fall a bit flat.

Muffin without peas

Asparagus, pea and mint frittata

Thank you, kind and versatile peas. At breakfast, lunch, dinner or during muffin frittata snack time, we thank you.

Peas and thanks
Spring vegetable penne with pea pesto

This pasta is wonderfully fresh and super flexible. It’s a lovely, quick recipe too, all coming together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.

Curried lentil shepherd's pie

Warm, simple and so very comforting - who doesn’t crave a good hearty pie every so often? The flavour is even better a day or so after making the pie, so it’s a great meal to cook up on the weekend to keep you going on busy weeknights.

Preserved lemon and pearl couscous salad

A warm, wholesome salad with tender couscous, chargrilled zucchini and a fresh lemon and olive oil dressing.

Ibizan Easter stew with greens, broad beans and mint (cuinat)

A silverbeet version of an Easter favourite that is traditionally made with wild greens.

Baccala with two peas

Baccala is a salted, dried cod which can be stored for long periods of time. It must be soaked in water at least 24 hours ahead to hydrate the fish and remove excess salt. Changing the water during soaking helps reduce the salt levels.

Fish pie with mashed potato crust

It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but a good fish pie is right at the pointy end of the comfort food pyramid for me.

Drunken rice with chicken

This recipe has been a favourite for several generations of my family.

Squid braised with anchovies, saffron and peas

There are two ways to cook fresh squid - for a very short time or long and slow. This recipe opts to go the latter route, delivering deep flavours and extremely tender squid. Frozen peas make everything easier here, but by all means use fresh podded peas if you have access to some. Podded, peeled broad beans are also a delicious alternative. Spoon a little tapenade on top of each serve, if you like.

Braised artichoke, broad beans and peas (frittedda)

Try to find tender, young baby artichokes that only need halving. If unavailable, cut larger artichokes into quarters. It’s best to use tender young broad beans for this recipe, too.