Creamy Pea Salad: A Summer Classic

8 servings
15 min

Creamy Pea Salad with bacon is the perfect side dish for all your summer cookouts. The dressing is creamy and tangy, and the crunch from the fresh peas and bacon is totally satisfying.

No matter what’s coming off the grill, this old fashioned pea salad pairs well with it. There’s a reason it has stood the test of time for so many years. It’s been a cookout and potluck staple for as long as I can remember. Plus, it’s so easy to make, and everyone always loves this salad, even those who don’t think they will.


This summer classic is a perfect pairing of slightly sweet and savory. The sweetness comes from the peas themselves and just a tablespoon of honey, plus the rice vinegar is just a little sweeter than typical vinegars. You also get a burst of savory in every bite from the smoky bits of bacon.


You and your guests will love this fresh and easy pea salad recipe. It’s so simple to make, and is full of zesty, savory flavor.


FAQS:

Can I use canned peas to make pea salad?I wouldn’t recommend canned peas for this salad as they do not have the same crunch that fresh or frozen peas do.

Do I need to cook the peas?Nope, frozen peas have already been blanched, so you simply need to thaw them. If using fresh peas, you can blanch them for a minute or so in boiling water if you choose, but I don’t find this step necessary.

Can I make this salad ahead of time?Absolutely, and I actually recommend that you do. Give the salad at least an hour to chill out in the fridge before serving, and this is definitely one that you can make a day ahead of time. Just give all the ingredients a good stir before serving.

How long can I store green pea salad?Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.


HOW TO PREPARE CREAMY PEA SALAD:

You will need these ingredients ⇧
  • If using frozen peas, place in a colander in the sink to thaw. Run under cool water to speed up this process. If using fresh peas, simply rinse them to ensure they are clean.
  • Place 8 slices of bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for ten minutes. Remove from the oven, and carefully turn over each slice of bacon. Return to the oven to cook for 4 more minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, crumble or chop the bacon into small bits.
  • Dice the onion, and shred the cheddar cheese.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  • Add all the salad ingredients to the dressing mix, and carefully fold everything together.
  • Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving to give the flavors a chance to fully incorporate.
Add mayo, Greek yogurt, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper to a large bowl.
Whisk together.
Add remaining salad ingredients.
Carefully fold together all ingredients.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

  • Try adding in some fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, tarragon, or thyme.
  • Chop a few hard boiled eggs to mix in.
  • For extra crunch, add some chopped celery, water chestnuts, or almond slivers.
  • You can also dice the cheese rather than shred it if you’d like.
  • Serve along side Smoked Pork Loin, Rosemary Smoked Chicken, Grilled Garlic Sage Chicken Thighs.


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INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Cheddar cheese: Try using smoked gouda, parmesan, or Monterey jack. Any hard cheese you like will work in this salad.
  • Greek yogurt: Sour cream can also be used.
  • Mayonnaise: You can mix in a tangy ranch dressing in place of the mayo.
  • Bacon: Substitute turkey bacon or diced pancetta. You could also use diced ham or prosciutto, but you won’t have the same crunch that the bacon or pancetta provide. To make pea salad even easier, you can even use bacon bits saving you the time of cooking the bacon.
  • Red onion: Really, any color onion will work in this recipe. You can also substitute chives, green onion, or shallots.
  • Vegetarian: Omit the bacon, and add 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. You may need to add a little extra salt—taste and adjust if necessary. Adding some slivered almonds would add a nice crunch to the salad.


RECIPE NOTES:

  • If serving Green Pea Salad outside, take care to keep the salad cold. Either store it in a cooler, or place the bowl of salad inside a larger bowl with ice to keep it cold.


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Creamy Pea Salad: A Summer Classic

Recipe details

  • 8  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 15 min
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Ingredients


  • 8 slices bacon (1/2 cup cooked and crumbled)
  • 4 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions


If using frozen peas, place in a colander in the sink to thaw. Run under cool water to speed up this process. If using fresh peas, simply rinse them to ensure they are clean.
If your bacon isn't cooked yet, place 8 slices of bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for ten minutes. Remove from the oven, and carefully turn over each slice of bacon. Return to the oven to cook for 4 more minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to cool. When cool enough to handle, crumble or chop the bacon into small bits.
Dice the onion, and shred the cheddar cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Add all the salad ingredients to the dressing mix, and carefully fold everything together.
Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving to give the flavors a chance to fully incorporate.

Tips

  • If serving Green Pea Salad outside, take care to keep the salad cold. Either store it in a cooler, or place the bowl of salad inside a larger bowl with ice to keep it cold.
  • Try adding in some fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, tarragon, or thyme.
  • Chop a few hard boiled eggs to mix in.
  • For extra crunch, add some chopped celery, water chestnuts, or almond slivers.
  • You can also dice the cheese rather than shred it if you’d like.
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