If there’s one “fresh” vegetable I keep on and at all times, it’s frozen peas. They’re affordable, ready in a flash, keep for months, and fit in dozens of dishes from cuisines the world over.
Another giant plus: unless you’re harvesting peas straight from the garden, frozen ones (which are picked and frozen right at their peak) will be more tender than their in-shell counterparts. And while shelling peas is calming and satisfying, it sure doesn’t feel that way when you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table.
Peas are tiny green heroes in these 18 weeknight recipes. They’re perfect for times when you’re low on other ingredients and need a splash of color and veggie power. When spring arrives but its promised seasonal delights are slow to come, nothing feels springier and fresher than a few handfuls of enlivening green peas. If that’s a cheat, then I’ll gladly be a cheater for life.
No cooking and no fresh produce required for this cheerful and flavor-packed pesto. Just let a cup of peas thaw on the counter and you’re off to the races. It’s divine on toast for a quick and satisfying lunch, but of course it’s perfect on pasta. Half of the fun is devising new uses for it!
Simple Peas and Onions
Ever had one of those “oh snap!” moments when you realize your produce drawer is virtually empty? Frozen peas to the rescue! There’s barely a meaty main that doesn’t go with good old peas and onions. A little stock and butter (or even water and olive oil) and you’re all set to round out dinner.
Green Goddess Pasta Salad
Will we ever reach peak green goddess? The combo of an herb-flecked dressing and upbeat green veggies never wears out its appeal. This is a fine salad to make for potlucks, or for eating on all week long for lunches or dinner sides.
Skillet Chicken and Rice
The trusty “throw some peas in right before serving” maneuver transforms this dish from monochrome chicken and rice to an appetizing dinner that pops. It’s a pantry-friendly, one-pot meal the whole gang will embrace.
Shrimp Fried Rice
If you stock frozen shrimp as well as peas, you’ve got the makings of this fast supper. Use up that container of leftover takeout rice and create a nearly instant meal.
Yogurt and turmeric are the keys to the light sauce that envelops this vegetarian Indian-style curry. It’s a fine fridge-cleanout recipe, one where you can swap or omit ingredients as needed.
An Italian-American restaurant favorite hailing from Chicago, chicken Vesuvio features browned, bone-in chicken that’s cooked with lemon-kissed white wine and potatoes for an all-in-one meal that delivers for special occasions. If you prefer the peas stay brighter, add them later in the cooking.
Cold Pea Salad
Retro charm abounds in this salad, which has the crunch of smoked almonds and water chestnuts. The ingredient list is short and the knife prep is minimal. It’s a great back-pocket recipe for times when you need to bring a fun, fresh veggie side to a gathering.
Curried Ground Turkey With Potatoes
You’ll have a meal in 40 minutes and plenty of leftovers with this simple recipe that’s loosely based on the Indian dish aloo keema. Use any ground meat you have in the fridge―beef, chicken, or plant-based grounds.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
One of our most popular recipes, this shepherd’s pie puts dinner on the table for thousands of hungry households all over the world. Swap the other vegetables to supplement the peas as needed, and play around with the seasonings as you like.
Lemony Spaghetti With Peas and Ricotta
Here’s a glorious wing-it dinner you can lean on when you’ve not planned out a menu for the week. If you have a tub of ricotta, a lemon, peas, and panko, you can magic the package of spaghetti in the back of your cupboard into a gratifying and quick dinner that offers plenty of textures.
Spring Vegetable Salad With Peas and Asparagus
There’s a little more of a shopping list for this one, but with all of the springy green action here, we couldn’t resist including it. Sweet sugar snap peas, radish slivers, mint leaves, toasted almonds, and a simple creamy dressing make this salad a showstopper in any season. The green peas dot it like confetti.
Risi e Bisi
Hailing from Venice, this Italian comfort food classic leans on risotto rice, chicken stock, and peas (the name literally means rice and peas). It comes together easier than you’d guess. Omit the pancetta cubes or substitute any kind of ham you have around.
Spring Minestrone Soup
What, exactly, makes this a spring minestrone? Asparagus and peas give this a more seasonal vibe. Make a pot for a day when you need some warming comfort in the midst of unpredictable spring weather.
Pasta With Ham and Peas
Here’s a go-to for times when you have leftover ham. A little cream and Parmesan add some richness. We’re using fusilli, but pasta shapes like penne, cavatappi, or even good old macaroni will all shine here.
Fresh Pea Hummus
No chickpeas? No problem! Technically chickpeas are exactly what makes hummus hummus, but by replacing them with tender green peas, you’ve got a playful take on a refrigerator staple. Use this to fill pitas, as a dip for veggies, or even to top cooked salmon or chicken.
Fresh Green Pea Soup
A bag of frozen green peas forms the base for this smooth soup that’s enriched with cream and has a whisper of mint. It comes together in a flash, which is certainly not the case for its dried split pea counterpart. Serve it warm or, on hot days, chilled.
Creamy Pasta With Salmon and Rice
Maybe you have leftover salmon, or frozen salmon filets. Use them to make a pasta dish that’s a little off the beaten path but still crowd-pleasing. Milk makes the base for the creamy white sauce, and a sprinkling of Parm makes it extra extra.