Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Roasted Almonds and Parmesan
This is a recipe I need to be careful with. Not because it’s dangerous, unhealthy, or hard to make. Quite the opposite. I need to be careful because when I develop a recipe that I’m crazy about, I tend to go overboard. I make and serve it so often that my family cries, “enough”, and doesn’t want to see it again for months, if not years. And so, in the interest of keeping this fabulously crunchy snap pea salad in everyone’s good graces, I’m taking my time. I’ve served it to my family just twice, while I’ve eaten it four times. They remain as smitten as I am.
About Sugar Snap Peas
The idea of using sugar snap peas as the main event for a salad is new to me. Up until now, I’ve relegated them to snacking, stir fries, and supporting cast members. But snap peas are so crisp and gloriously green, they’re worthy of a starring role. They’re different than English peas in that you can eat the entire thing, not just the seeds inside. And they are firmer, fatter, and crunchier than snow peas. I also like that they tend to taste pretty darn good year-round, though spring is when they really shine.
How to Prep Sugar Snap Peas
You can see for yourself this salad is simple, with just a handful of ingredients. That said, sugar snap peas usually require a bit of prep. There is a fibrous string that runs along the edge of the pea that should be removed (this is less of an issue with tender young peas). To do so, pinch off the tip of the stem end, pull away the string, and discard. Some packaged snap peas are stringless, so you can skip the prep. Another way to save some time with this recipe is to buy roasted almonds rather than roasting them at home (though I do provide instructions for the latter and it’s pretty darn easy).
How to Serve Sugar Snap Pea Salad
I like to make a single portion of this salad for a quick lunch, with a little something else, like leftover chicken or avocado toast. For dinner, it makes an excellent side along with any of the following main dishes:
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers, a recipe I developed for Simply Recipes
Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Toasted Almonds and Parmesan
This salad delivers crunch with a capital C. The combination of sugar snap peas and roasted almonds is a texture bomb that you'll want to dig into again and again. The sweet flavor of the peas is balanced beautifully with lemon juice and olive oil. For a dash of color, add a few thinly sliced radishes and swap Pecorino for Parmesan.
- 1 pound sugar snap peas
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds (see note)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 3/4 cup loosely packed Parmesan shaved with a vegetable peeler
Snap the tip of the stem end off the peas and peel away the attached string (you can skip this step for stringless peas and young snap peas that are less fibrous). Cut crosswise on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
In a medium bowl, toss together the snap peas, mint, almonds, lemon juice, olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Taste and add more salt as needed. Add the shaved Parmesan and toss lightly. Serve.
To roast almonds, heat a medium skillet over medium-high. When the pan is hot, add the raw almonds. After 1 minute, begin turning the almonds in the pan every 30 seconds or so until they’re fragrant and mottled with brown spots, minutes total. Keep a close eye on the nuts, since they are quick to burn if left unattended.