Finally, we are showing signs of spring! This winter provided us with plenty of snow and cold, and we are all ready for fresh air and greenery. Plus, this time of year always gets me excited to start thinking about my own home-grown garden goodies. I think by now we’ve all had our fair share of comfort food, right? As I ditch my heavy winter clothes, I’m also ready to ditch the heavy dishes, and I don’t think I’m the only one! Many restaurants that keep a seasonal menu have started adding dishes that feature one of my favorite spring vegetables – peas. Pay attention the next time you are dining out and you’ll likely find green, snow and sugar peas popping up on the menus of your favorite eateries. As they should; those little legumes pack a big nutritional punch!
Peas are a great source of vitamins A, C, B1 (thiamine) and B6, as well as iron and manganese. They’re also incredibly heart healthy because they are high in fiber, low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Did you know peas are also a great source of plant protein? One cup of green peas has 8 grams of plant protein, which is as much as 2 tablespoons of peanut butter!
You can add peas to many of your favorite dishes for a tender crunch, but I also like to whip up this hummus for an easy and really tasty snack.
Fresh Green Pea Hummus
1 cup fresh shelled peas
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the peas and cook until tender – about 2 minutes.
2. Drain and run the peas under cold water.
3. In a food processor, combine the peas with the remaining ingredients.
4. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
TIP: If you don’t want to use tahini, simply replace it with 4 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.
By: Erin Pellegrin RD, LDN