Let’s be real: peas don’t get a lot of love. Like its fellow green friend the lima bean, the pea is a vegetable we love to hate. I’m not pointing fingers – I used to push my peas around my plate with my fork, too, hoping I could eat enough of everything else on my plate that my parents would excuse me from the dinner table.
Flash forward 30 years and I’m loving peas. I eat them every which way I can find them: fresh, sauteed or pureed … in soups, salads, stir-fries and savory pies. If there’s a pea to be eaten, I’d like to do just that – especially the fresh peas we’ve enjoyed this spring. That’s why I absolutely love this crisp and crunchy salad that puts a trio of peas in all their glory right smack dab at the center of the recipe.
Health Benefits of Fresh Peas
Peas are at their best when they’re in season in Spring. Sweet, snappy and popping with nutrients, spring peas are the stars of this plant-forward salad recipe that tastes as good as it looks. Bonus that it’s vegetarian (easily modified for a vegan salad), based on whole foods and is naturally gluten free and low in sodium.
This spring salad recipe calls for three types of peas: sugar snap peas, snow peas and English peas. Collectively, this trio of peas boasts powerful health benefits, including heart-healthy minerals, antioxidants, immunity-building Vitamin C, folate and fiber. Peas also contain phytochemicals, which are known to reduce inflammation and regulate hormone levels, and are plump with plant-based protein.
The BBC recently shared an informative article about the nutritional profile of peas. Check it out to learn more about the health benefits of fresh and frozen peas.
Spring Pea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette Recipe Ingredients
This bright spring salad with homemade vinaigrette is crisp, healthy and easy to make. It’s a plant-forward recipe you can feel good about. Here’s what you’ll need to make this gluten-free spring salad recipe.
Spring Pea Salad:
- Spring mix and/or arugula
- Sugar snap peas
- Snow peas
- English peas
- Fresh Herbs
- Goat cheese (optional)
- Spring onion (optional)
- Fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Champagne vinegar
- Raw, unfiltered organic honey
How to Make Spring Pea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
This whole food, plant-based recipe is versatile, quick and simple to throw together. The salad yields 4 servings as a side salad and serves 2 as a meal-sized salad. Let’s dive in!
Step 1. Make the Spring Pea Salad.
Wash and prepare the vegetables. Divide the salad ingredients among four bowls (two bowls for a meal-sized salad). Garnish with crumbled goat cheese and spring onion (green parts only) – both of which are optional garnishes.
Step 2. Make the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette.
Add the fresh basil leaves, fresh lemon juice, champagne vinegar, garlic and raw, unfiltered organic honey to a small food processor and process until the ingredients are emulsified. Add the extra-virgin olive oil to the processor and blend for another 15-30 seconds until combined. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Store leftover vinaigrette in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Spring Pea Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette: Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a gluten-free recipe?
Yes, this recipe leans on plant-forward whole foods that are naturally gluten free.
Can I make this a vegan salad?
Absolutely! This Spring Pea Salad is easily modified to make a whole foods, plant-based vegan salad recipe. Simply eliminate the crumbled goat cheese (feel free to use a vegan alternative) and replace the honey with agave nectar or maple syrup.
What proteins pair well with this salad recipe?
Bulk up this salad with plant-based proteins like cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas or even black or green lentils. The flavor profile of this salad also lends itself to salmon, shrimp or the white fish of your choice and grilled chicken breast.
Is this a low-sodium recipe?
This recipe is naturally low in sodium with no added salt. Goat cheese does contain salt and most vegetables have trace amounts of sodium but, again, we have intentionally made this recipe low in sodium.
Can I make this salad in advance?
Delicate salads are always best made fresh in terms of appearance, but you won’t compromise on quality or taste if you prepare the salad up to 24 hours in advance and store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve it. I would wait to add the goat cheese until you’re ready to serve.
Can I make the Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette in advance?
Yes! In fact, I recommend it. This is one of those salad dressings that tastes better the next day. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The oil may try to separate or harden when cold, so set it out about 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve and give it a good shake or stir before you drizzle the dressing on the salad.
Can I make this recipe oil free?
Yes, make an oil-free vinaigrette by replacing the extra-virgin olive oil with water that equals half the amount of oil the recipe calls for. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil – make it oil-free by replacing the oil with 1/4 cup water. Add water by the tablespoon if the vinaigrette is too thick. As always, taste as you go to ensure the vinaigrette isn’t overly tart.
Spring Pea Salad:
- 6 ounces spring mix and/or arugula
- 8 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2–3 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, divided
- 1 cup snow peas, divided
- 1/2 cup English peas
- Fresh Herbs, such as dill, basil or mint
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese, for garnish (optional)
- Spring onion (green parts only), chopped, for garnish (optional)
- 1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon raw, unfiltered organic honey
- Wash and prepare the vegetables. Divide the salad ingredients among four bowls (two bowls for a meal-sized salad). Garnish with crumbled goat cheese and spring onion (green parts only) – both of which are optional garnishes.
- Add the fresh basil leaves, fresh lemon juice, champagne vinegar, garlic and raw, unfiltered organic honey to a small food processor and process until the ingredients are emulsified. Add the extra-virgin olive oil to the processor and blend for another 15-30 seconds until combined. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad.
- Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette can be mixed by hand with a whisk if a small food processor is not available.
- The vinaigrette stores in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Recipe modifications for vegan and oil-free dietary guidelines are listed in the body of the article.
- Prep Time: 15 mins.
- Cook Time: 5 mins.
- Category: Salads
- Method: By Hand
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: spring pea salad, plant-forward recipe, spring salad recipe, homemade vinaigrette, whole-food, plant-based