How to Cook Lady Peas

by Natalie Smith, Ph.D.

A woman is holding a handful of peas.

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Lady peas are a rare delicacy in supermarkets and farmers' markets, because they are not grown commercially on a wide scale. If you can get ahold of this Southern favorite, you are in luck, because lady peas are small, tender and have a more subtle flavor than the plant's more assertive cousins. Lady peas do not require a long cooking time, because they are always boiled for a short time to preserve their delicate skins. Enjoy your lady peas as a light side or eat them with other peas and lentils in a hearty salad.

Place the lady peas in a colander and rinse them thoroughly to eliminate any dust or debris.

Pour 3 cups of water into the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add ½ tsp. salt.

Add the lady peas and cook them, uncovered, for eight to 10 minutes, or until the peas are tender, but not mushy.

Drain the peas into a colander. Serve them hot as a side, or allow them to cool slightly and serve them as part of a pea and lentil salad.


  • For a Southern twist on your lady peas, boil the peas with ham hocks or bacon to add savory pork flavor to the peas.

    To enjoy a savory vegetarian version of the lady peas, add garlic and a quartered onion to the water and boil them with the peas. Remove them before you serve the peas.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.