We don't usually think about green peas as a superfood in terms of nutrient composition —but we should. Because of their sweet taste and starchy texture, we know that green peas must contain some sugar and starch (and they do), but they also contain a unique assortment of health-protective phytonutrients. Those provide us with key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Even more surprising? They’re a GREAT source of plant-based protein. One cup of green peas has eight grams of protein!
Only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh (pro tip – Trader Joe’s often carries them in their produce section, and they are delicious!); the rest are either frozen or canned. When trying to decide between frozen or canned, know that frozen peas are better able to retain their color and texture so they’ll taste better to you. Both canned and frozen peas may contain relatively high levels of sodium. Unless labeled as low/reduced sodium or something similar, you can expect 650-800 milligrams of sodium in one cup of canned green peas. Some of this sodium can be removed by thorough rinsing, and I’d encourage you to do that.
So now you’re curious, right? What’ll you do with them?
- Hit up Bon Appetit for some gourmet ideas.
- Up your weeknight pasta game with this easy recipe for orechiette with lemon, peas and tuna.
- The naughty name of this “I Have to Pea” smoothie might entice your kids to taste a green smoothie!
- Take a crack at this authentically Italian peas and eggs recipe for a light dinner – couple this with a chunk of good crusty bread, a green salad and a dessert of fresh fruit.
- Two seasonal faves, asparagus and peas are paired up with Shirataki noodles and dressed with lemon, butter and Parm for a luscious, low-carb pasta dinner.
Since peas are in season in the spring, now’s the perfect time to work more of them into your diet. Whether you choose pea soup, sprinkle them in a salad, blend them into a smoothie (they’re really sweet once frozen!), use them in a dip, or just cook them into an entree of your choice, peas are a win.
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