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This English pea salad is made with simple ingredients that make this salad cool, crisp, and full of flavor. It makes the perfect crowd-pleasing side dish for all your spring and summer gatherings.
Who else grew up in the south? I might be showing my age a little bit here, but growing up in the south in the '80s, all BBQs had someone's grandma's version of a pea salad on the table. This recipe is still one of my favorites and is now one of my family's favorites too. I usually have to make a double batch so my kids can eat on it and still have enough for whatever I plan to serve this English pea salad with.
English pea salad - the perfect side dish!
Trust me; I know peas are one of those vegetables that can get a bad reputation because hello peas? I'm sure that most people's memories of peas are probably those squishy pale green mess that gets poured out of a can. This is not those peas. I mean, it is technically, but it's not. These are the GOOD peas!
Ingredients for Pea Salad
This southern English pea salad has really simple ingredients, but they come together perfectly.
- Cheddar Cheese
- Bacon - If you want to make pea salad without bacon, you can by subbing in chopped ham or your choice of chopped meat. You can also leave the meat out entirely and make this a vegetarian pea salad.
- Red Onion
- Sour Cream - You can substitute greek yogurt for sour cream if you prefer.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper
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Tips for making the best pea salad.
I do not recommend canned peas for making pea salad. I always use frozen peas and let them defrost. There is no need to cook the frozen peas before making pea salad.
Remove the peas from their package and place them into a colander over a bowl. Place the peas in the fridge overnight or on the counter while you prep the remaining ingredients. If the peas are still slightly frozen when you make the pea salad, they will defrost as the salad rests.
You can choose to add hard-boiled eggs to pea salad or not. I prefer pea salad without eggs, so I tend to leave them.
You can sub in more sour cream or greek yogurt to make this English pea salad without mayonnaise.
How to make pea salad.
- Thaw the peas.
- Cook and chop the bacon. I prefer to make my bacon in the oven, so it's less messy.
- Dice the red onion and cheese.
- Make the sauce.
- Toss it all together and chill till you're ready to serve.
How to serve pea salad.
- This pea salad is best served cold.
- Pea salad makes the perfect spring and summer side dish. It can go from being an Easter side dish to a fourth of July BBQ side dish to even just enjoy on a weeknight.
- My kids will make this pea salad a meal by adding it into some lettuce cups and eating it in their lunches.
- My grandmother used to make this as a layered pea salad to make it look "extra fancy" for those special occasions. Creating a layered pea salad is simple: just toss the peas and dress together, and form layers with the remaining ingredients in the order you like.
Storing leftover pea salad.
The best way to store leftover pea salad is in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
Can You freeze pea salad?
In a word, no, freezing pea salad is not recommended. The reason for this lies mainly with the sauce. If it freezes, it will separate and get grainy. You will likely end up with a sloppy mush of a salad if you freeze it.
Can you make pea salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can make pea salad ahead of time. Pea salad will hold in the fridge for a few days, so feel free to make it the day before. The flavors will pop more, giving it time to rest and chill.
More Easy Sides
Classic Southern English Pea Salad
- 16 Ounces Frozen Peas
- 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese small diced
- ½ Cup Red Onion small diced
- 3-4 Slices Cooked Bacon or about ½ cup diced ham
For the Dressing
- ¾ Cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ Cup Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Dill
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- Place the frozen peas into a strainer over a bowl. Set them aside to allow them to defrost.16 Ounces Frozen Peas
- Cook and chop the bacon into bite-size pieces. If you are using ham, dice the already cooked ham and place it into a bowl.3-4 Slices Cooked Bacon
- Dice the cheese and onions, and add them to the bowl with the bacon or ham.1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, ½ Cup Red Onion
- Add the peas, onions, cheese and bacon into a bowl together.
- In a separate bowl, add the mayonnaise with the sour cream, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and salt and pepper rest of the for the dressing and stir till combined.¾ Cup Mayonnaise, ¼ Cup Sour Cream, 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder, ½ Teaspoon Dill, ½ Teaspoon Salt, ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
- Pour the sauce over the bowl of mixed peas and gently mix.
- Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve and enjoy!
I do not recommend canned peas for making pea salad. I always use frozen peas and let them defrost. There is no need to cook the frozen peas before making pea salad. What is the best way to defrost peas for making pea salad?
Remove the peas from their package and place them into a colander over a bowl. Place the peas in the fridge overnight or on the counter while you prep the remaining ingredients. If the peas are still slightly frozen when you make the pea salad, they will defrost as the salad rests. Does pea salad have eggs?
You can choose to add hard-boiled eggs to pea salad or not. I prefer pea salad without eggs, so I tend to leave them. Can you make pea salad without mayonnaise?
You can sub in more sour cream or Greek yogurt to make this English pea salad without mayonnaise.