Snow peas, commonly used in Asian cuisine, adapt well to all sorts of dishes. Because the pea pods do not need to be cooked, they're perfect raw for adding a little extra crunch and color to a salad. The green, crunchy goodness of a raw snow pea tastes just as delicious in a lettuce-based salad as it does in a pasta salad.
Preparing Snow Peas for Salads
Regardless of whether you cook snow peas, there are a couple of steps to take to prepare them. First, wash them by putting them in a colander and either running cold water over them or immersing the colander in a bowl and swishing them around in the water with your hand. Kids can help with this step. Then, cut off both ends of each pea with a knife, or just snap them off with your hands. If the pod has a thick fiber running along the edge, pull this off as well.
Snow peas are sweet and crunchy when served raw on lettuce or mixed green salads tossed with a creamy dressing. Kids usually enjoy their flavor, so adding the peas is an effective way to encourage little ones to eat their salads. Cut the pods in half or smaller to make them more manageable to eat. For an entree salad, add chicken strips, cashews, mandarin orange slices and crispy chow mein noodles with Asian dressing, which you can make by stirring ranch dressing together with a bit of hoisin sauce, duck sauce or apricot jam mixed with soy sauce.
Use raw snow peas to add color, vitamins and minerals to a starch-based salad. Pasta salads and potato salads are two of the most common types. For these, cut raw snow-pea pods into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices and mix them into your prepared salads. For different taste sensations, try substituting Greek yogurt, creamy dressing or sour cream for the mayonnaise.
Cooked Snow Peas
Any recipe with raw snow peas can use cooked snow peas instead. Cooking snow peas softens them slightly and makes them a brighter green color. You can steam, blanch or stir-fry whole or chopped snow peas. Regardless of the method you use, limit cooking time to no more than 2 minutes so the peas do not become limp, dark and overcooked. Cooked snow peas make a tasty side salad of their own when mixed with soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and some nuts.
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