As Spring continues, more yummy veggies are coming into season. Green peas, much reviled from many a childhood, are a colorful addition to your Spring-time plate. Cooked, freeze-dried, in milk or powder form, peas are a versatile, nutritious food.
While primarily carbohydrate, peas are high in protein and fiber. Just ½ a cup has almost 4 grams of each. With a decent dose of iron and vitamins like A, C, and K among others, peas provide powerful nutrition in a little package.
Processed pea products, like pea protein as a supplement or ingredient in plant meats and milk, such as Ripple brand, are very popular. If the high fiber and FODMAP content of peas causes bloating, as it may in some, keeping portion sizes smaller, ½ cup or less, and eating cooked versus raw peas, and reducing concentrated forms in powders and milk, should help you avoid tummy troubles.
Phytonutrients found in peas, phytic acid and lectin, can inhibit absorption of specific nutrients, but they also play an important role as anti-oxidants. Reduce lectins by soaking and cooking beans and peas. Having garlic and onions along with foods containing phytic acid helps to absorb minerals that the phytates block. Research consistently shows those who eat beans and peas regularly reduce risk for cancer, so including beans, along with many other nutrient rich plant foods, will help you get and absorb vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, and zinc.
To enjoy peas at their very best this Spring, try out this delicious pea salad recipe.
Spring Pea and Orzo Salad
Makes 4-6 servings.
1 cup orzo
You can substitute another starch/grain such as couscous or quinoa
1 cup raw, shelled Spring peas
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped.
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
You can use any fresh herbs that sound tasty to you. Basil would be great too!
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice from ½ a lemon
Cook orzo and let cool. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch peas for 90 seconds. Remove the peas and mix with orzo. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan; add shallots and zucchini. Cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Combine remaining olive oil with lemon juice. Add shallots, zucchini, and olive oil lemon dressing to orzo. Mix together. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Cover and place in refrigerator for an hour before serving.