This vegetarian English Pea Salad is healthier than a traditional green pea salad, but is still plenty creamy and delicious!
Table of Contents
Why Make This Recipe
- Vegetarian Version of a Classic: Traditional pea salad often includes bacon. While of course that tastes fantastic, this salad is plenty flavorful on its own. It’s perfect for vegetarians or anyone looking to reduce their meat consumption.
- Great for Potlucks: This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck—stunning and more unique than the usual salads. You can easily make this a few hours in advance as well.
- Embrace the Season: When sweet peas hit the market, I want to use them as much as possible. I’m always on the lookout for fresh pea recipes like this one! If you’re the same way, you may want to see my recipe for Sweet Pea Ricotta Crostini as well.
- Peas: This recipe calls for fresh peas—you may find them called garden peas, English peas, or sweet peas (they’re all the same!). That said, if it’s not fresh pea season, you can use frozen peas instead.
- Red Onion: You can replace this with shallots or green onions.
- Crème Fraîche: This recipe uses crème fraîche for a version of English pea salad without mayonnaise. That said, you could use mayonnaise if you prefer. You could also replace the crème fraîche with Greek yogurt, or do a half and half mixture of mayo and yogurt.
- Fresh Dill: This salad can be made with other types of fresh herbs as well, such as fresh thyme, chervil, or parsley.
- Lemon: Where possible, look for organic lemons when you are going to zest them. If not, at least wash them well before zesting. And, use the same lemon for juice. Fresh squeezed lemon juice is always more delicious than any store-bought lemon juice.
🥣 Step-by-Step Instructions
Shell 2 pounds of fresh peas, and place peas in a strainer. Rinse with cold water, then pour into a medium-large saucepan and add ¼ cup of water.
Put saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until peas are bright green and just barely tender, about 2 minutes.
Drain and rinse with cold water. Pour into a large bowl lined with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Rinse 8 ounces of radishes, trim off the tops and bottoms, then halve and slice into half-moons. Finely chop ½ of a small red onion. Peel 3 hard-boiled eggs, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together ¼ cup crème fraîche, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Remove towel from bowl with peas, and stir in radishes and red onion. Add dressing and stir, then gently stir in chopped eggs. Serve garnished with chopped fresh dill.
🧐 Recipe FAQs
For the best look, taste, and texture, make this salad within a couple of hours of serving it. That said, if you have leftovers, it will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You will want to stir it in case the dressing has separated a little, but it will still taste good—the colors will not be as vibrant though, and the radishes will lose a little of their crunch.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this dish. Anything with a creamy sauce will generally not freeze well, and this dish is no exception. Also, you’ll lose the crunch on your vegetables.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
This salad calls for raw red onions, which may have too much of a bite for some people. You can make the onion flavor more mild by chopping your red onion, then placing in ice water for 15-20 minutes. Then drain, chop, and add to your salad!
Fresh peas are the star of this recipe, but peas can go from perfectly bright green and round to darker green and wrinkly very quickly. Watch them as they cook—you are really just blanching them, as it’s likely you won’t need to cook them more than a couple of minutes. When they are bright green and just tender, drain them quickly and stop the cooking process by running them under cold water. It’s best to use them as quickly as possible—even perfectly cooked peas will start to wrinkle as time passes.
This English pea salad recipe calls for hard-boiled eggs, and if you don’t have a favorite method for hard boiling eggs, I’ll share mine with you. I use the foolproof boiled eggs method from Cooks Illustrated, which starts by placing eggs in a saucepan and covering them with cold water by at least an inch. Bring them to a hard, rolling boil, then turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes. Then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.
This method has consistently performed the best for me in terms of perfectly cooked yolks and whites with no greenish yolk outline. That said, there are other methods that may be better for easily peeling your eggs. The Cooks Illustrated article linked above has details!
Love peas as much as I do? Don't miss this delicious Pea Pasta Sauce recipe from our friends at Luci's Morsels.
Other Delicious Salad Recipes
If you enjoyed this English pea salad recipe, you might want to check out some of my other favorite salads.
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below—I read them all, and your feedback is invaluable to me. And please follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter. I'd love to inspire you with more delicious, healthy, and seasonal recipes!
- 2 pounds fresh peas (about 2-3 cups, shelled)
- 8 ounces radishes
- ½ small red onion
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- ¼ cup crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Shell peas, and place peas in a strainer.
- Rinse with cold water, then pour into a medium-large saucepan and add ¼ cup of water.
- Put saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until peas are bright green and just barely tender, about 2 minutes.
- Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Pour into a large bowl lined with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel and pat dry.
- Rinse radishes, trim off the tops and bottoms, then halve and slice into half-moons.
- Finely chop red onion.
- Peel hard-boiled eggs, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together crème fraîche, lemon juice, dijon mustard, lemon zest, fresh dill, salt, and pepper.
- Remove towel from bowl with peas, and stir in radishes and red onion.
- Add dressing and stir, then gently stir in chopped eggs.
- Serve garnished with chopped fresh dill.
Ingredient Notes: This recipe calls for fresh peas, but if you can't find them, you can use frozen peas instead. In that case, you will need about 2-3 cups. You can also subtitute Greek yogurt or mayonnaise (or a combination of the two) for the crème fraîche.
Make-Ahead Instructions: For the best look, taste, and texture, make this salad within a couple of hours of serving it. That said, leftovers will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You will want to stir it in case the dressing has separated a little, but it will still taste good—the colors will not be as vibrant though, and the radishes will lose a little of their crunch.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 291mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 14gSugar: 16gProtein: 18g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.