Super Fresh Green Pea Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
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This green pea salad features a mix of shelled peas and thinly sliced, raw snap peas or snow peas. It’s so bright, so crunchy, and so fresh! The salad is a perfect accompaniment to any springtime meal and a perfect means of adding more green color to your table.

What kinds of recipes do you think about when you think about peas?

Me, I think about pea soup, mac and cheese with peas, rice and peas, or spring pasta primavera.

In other words, soups and grain dishes.

Rarely do I ever think of peas as the starring ingredient in a zippy little salad.

But here they are, stepping into that very role, along side a different kind of green pea: thinly sliced snap peas or snow peas.

The result is a crunchy, sweet, ultra fresh green pea salad with the most beautiful color. I’m excited to tell you about it.

The return of the side dish

Side dishes have made a comeback in my kitchen this year.

It’s not that I don’t whip up side dishes at home. I do prepare simple vegetable accompaniments to eat with my vegan mains.

I shared some of my favorites, like stewed green beans & tomatoes and garlicky braised kale, in my cookbook, The Vegan Week.

No matter how routinely I prepare them, however, veggie sides haven’t been a major focus of my recipe development.

There are two reasons for this. The first is that the recipes I share on this blog reflect my focus as a home cook.

For a long time, especially when I was in grad school, side dishes that required any more than a bare minimum of work felt like a poor investment.

All that time in the kitchen, only to end up with something that was only a portion of a meal? No thank you.

I stuck to the easiest sides I could think of: steamed broccoli, simple green salads, microwaved bags of green beans topped with vegan butter.

At the same time, I was conceptualizing Power Plates. This book grew out of my observation that one of the main habits that hold people back from having a balanced diet is the failure to pay attention to all three macronutrients—protein, fat, carbs—within meals.

I developed every single recipe in that book to be a complete meal that included some food from each macronutrient category.

Since then, and because I spend so much time talking to my clients about the value of eating three square meals a day, I think in complete meals.

It’s a muscle memory that doesn’t quit. My internal question after I read through so many recipes is, “how would I turn that a meal?” What would I serve it with, or on?

And that’s how I gradually became distanced from sides.

This year, however, they’ve been making a comeback.

Lean in (to veggies)

As is so often the case, my recipe creation grows out of the problem-solving that I do with my clients.

At some point this past fall, a lot of my clients told me that they were finding it difficult to include vegetables with their meals.

There were probably a number of reasons for this. The weather was getting cooler, so side salads—an default vegetable side for many families—were less appealing than they had been in the summertime.

Collective fatigue may have had something to do with it, too. I wrote Power Plates in the pre-Covid world. We’ve all been through so much, and continue to go through so much, since then. People are tired, understandably so.

And produce, like many grocery items, is getting more expensive.

Whatever the case may be, clients were feeling uninspired when it came to vegetables.

Though I do still spend a lot of time working with clients on macronutrient balance, I also try to guide them toward lunch and dinner plates that are generous with vegetables.

“Generous” doesn’t have to mean the half-plate portion suggested by MyPlate. That’s a well-intentioned guideline, but it’s not for everyone.

I just invite clients to think about the vegetables that they enjoy already, and then I invite them to lean in.

Stir vegetables into soups and pasta dishes. Maximize color in lunch bowls. Add veggies to sauces or dressings.

Or, in order to make a meal more satisfying and complete, serve it with a stellar vegetable side dish.

An inspiring spring salad

A few months ago, I ate at a restaurant that featured a baby spinach and snow pea salad.

I wouldn’t normally order this, honestly. I tend to go for leafy green salads first and foremost, and at that time, I was at the height of a late winter chicory obsession.

But there the salad was, and it was the only starter salad on the menu. I figured I’d give it a shot.

I’m so glad that I did.

It was one of the best restaurant salads I’ve had all year. The chef, Shaun Hergatt, kept it so simple. There was a shallot vinaigrette and there were crumbled, roasted and skinned hazelnuts on top.

But these were really just finishing touches, and I’d already omitted the ricotta salata that the salad was normally served with.

The stars of the salad were truly the sweet, super crispy snow peas, along with some very thinly sliced baby spinach. So different from other mayonnaise and cream-laden pea salads I’d seen in the past.

This was one of those restaurant dishes or foods, much like the yum sauce that I shared on Monday, that I knew right away I’d try to create at home.

That’s how my fresh green pea salad with champagne vinaigrette was born.

Peas, please

Before I say more, I should offer a few notes about the types of peas in this green pea salad.

There are two kinds. The first is shelling peas, or English peas, which have been shelled.

You can use fresh peas or frozen peas: whichever is easiest and most appealing.

I actually tend to prefer frozen peas to fresh: I find them to be sweeter, less starchy tasting, and more uniformly tender. (Plus, I’m a frozen vegetable enthusiast.)

However, if you have shelling peas in a home garden or want to celebrate their season at the farmers market, go for it!

An overhead image of snap peas in a small, round white bowl.
Both sugar snap peas and snow peas can be used in this dish. The peas are included raw and thinly sliced.

The second type of pea that you’ll use are sugar snap peas or snow peas.

These aren’t the same vegetable, but they can be used interchangeably in the pea salad. So long as you take care to slice them super thinly, both types of peas will work.

Speaking of the slicing, here’s a little more detail on how the salad comes together.

How to make a super fresh green pea salad

First, what makes this salad so fresh?

I think it’s the fact that the snap or snow peas—and you can use either of these, by the way—are raw. In their raw state, they taste sweet and verdant.

In the meantime, the shelling peas are cooked. The first step in preparing the salad is to steam, boil, or microwave them until they’re bright green, sweet, and tender.

Crunchy snap peas + sweet, tender green peas = a bright, sweet, fresh effect. It’s springtime in a bowl, essentially.

It’s important to slice both the snap or snow peas and the spinach in this salad very, very thinly. I know that this step is time-consuming, but trust me! Texture is key in this salad.

An overhead image of a mixing bowl, which contains thinly sliced snap peas and baby spinach leaves.
Thinly slicing both the snap or snow peas and the baby spinach leaves along a diagonal is key to this salad’s texture. The pieces should be only about 1/16-inch / 2mm thick.

A balanced, bright dressing

Another part of the pea salad’s overall brightness is the dressing.

A Weck mason jar, containing a creamy emulsified vinaigrette, rests on a white surface. There's a white tiled surface in the background.

I shared my simple champagne vinaigrette, which is the vinaigrette that I make most often at home, in the fall. I’ve gotten some good feedback about it so far, and I’m glad that others find it as versatile as I do!

One of the things that I like about this vinaigrette is its overall balance.

It’s tart, as a vinaigrette should be, but not too acidic. It has a hint of sweetness. Finely chopped shallots add savory notes, but not enough to overwhelm the dressing’s lightness.

The vinaigrette is a perfect choice for the pea salad. It adds depth of flavor and seasons the vegetables with necessary salt, acid, and fat.

You can prepare the vinaigrette up to a few days in advance of making the salad. If you love it, then you can even double your batch.

Mixing and finishing touches

Once the dressing is made, simply pour it over your fresh, chopped green peas and spinach.

I use about six tablespoons, which is less than a full batch of the vinaigrette. (I never have trouble finding uses for the last couple tablespoons at some other point in time.)

Finally, you have the option of adding a little texture and crunch to the green pea salad in the form of chopped, roasted nuts.

Shaun Hergatt’s salad, which inspired mine, featured hazelnuts. I don’t use hazelnuts very often and appreciate variety, so that’s what I’ve been using when I make my own version at home.

A round, fluted white bowl is filled with bright green, fresh peas and thinly sliced snap peas, along with spinach. The vegetables glisten lightly with a vinaigrette. There are finely chopped roasted nuts on top.
The dressed green pea salad can be enjoyed simply, or you can choose to add chopped nuts for some texture and crunch. Hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios are all great options.

No hazelnuts, no problem. Chopped, roasted and salted almonds, shelled pistachios, pecans, or walnuts would all work here.

If you’d like to emphasize the salad’s sweet flavor notes, then you could use my vegan candied pecans or crispy baked candied walnuts instead.

Finely, you have the option to add fresh, finely chopped mint leaves to the salad. They’re a nice addition, and they certainly highly the fresh notes that I keep going on and on about.

That said, I’ve made the salad without and without the fresh herbs, and I really enjoy both versions.

The Vegan Week

Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.

Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.

Meal prep & storage

I tend to think that this salad is best dressed and served right away.

However, you can get a head start on the process by slicing the vegetables a day or two before mixing. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, along with a damp (not wet) paper towel.

The vinaigrette can be prepared up to five days before mixing as well.

Finally, once you dress the salad, you can store it for one or two days in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll lose a little of its crunch, but it will still be tasty!

More spring side dishes

In the spirit of celebrating sides, here are a few more dishes that can complete and contribute to your meals.

I’ve chosen a range of bigger and smaller sides that speak to the flavors and ingredients of spring.

And here’s my newest favorite bowl of fresh, green goodness: pea salad.

A round, fluted white bowl is filled with bright green, fresh peas and thinly sliced snap peas, along with spinach. The vegetables glisten lightly with a vinaigrette.
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Super Fresh Green Pea Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 12 ounces frozen green peas or shelled, fresh English peas (340g, or 2 2/3 cups)
  • 8 ounces raw sugar snap or snow peas  (225g, or 2 heaping cups)
  • 1 ounce lightly packed, baby spinach leaves (30g, or 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons simple Champagne vinaigrette (more as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh mint leaves (5g; optional)
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted, shelled, and roughly chopped hazelnuts, pistachios, or almonds (30g; optional)


  • Cook the bag of as instructed on the package, drain them, cover them with a tea towel, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Alternatively, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the fresh peas. Boil them for 3-5 minutes, or until they’re bright green, sweet, and tender. Drain the peas, cover them with a tea towel, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes.
  • While the peas are cooling, slice the snow peas crosswise on a diagonal very thinly—about 1/16-inch / 2mm. Do the same thing with the baby spinach leaves. Very thin slicing is key to this salad’s character, so it’s worth taking your time with this!
  • Transfer the cooled green peas and sliced snow peas and spinach to a medium mixing bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste the salad and season as desired with additional salt and pepper. If you like, fold in the finely chopped, fresh mint leaves.
  • Serve the salad and if you like, too each portion with a tablespoon of chopped, roasted nuts. Enjoy.

The spring season where I live is short and unpredictable.

In my mind it will always be temperate and last for months, but the truth is that it can be quite cold and rainy through early June. And then, suddenly, it’s full-blown summer.

Spring is therefore a reminder of how fleeting everything is and how important it is to cherish brightness, warmth, and new beginnings while they last.

This salad, which is so much more than the sum of its parts, is helping me to do that. Hope you’ll enjoy it, too!


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Categories: Salads, Side Dishes
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: 30 Minute or Less

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