When you think of all the healthy and delicious vegetables out there, you probably don’t think much about peas. They show up in so many dishes, but they aren’t usually the main ingredient. Peas quietly add color and flavor to so many dishes … but now it’s time for the humble pea to get its time in the spotlight as well.

Peas are a low-fat food that is a good source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They also contain beta-carotene, phytonutrients, and vitamin E. Peas have been found to help with weight management, blood sugar regulation, boosting immunity, and preventing stomach cancer and other diseases including Alzheimer’s, bronchitis, and arthritis. To learn more about the health benefits of peas read Green Peas: A Protein-Packed Star Spring Veggie to Enjoy for Good Health!

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Besides being healthy, peas are also versatile. They can be made into soups, sauces, and pesto. Despite the controversy known as “Peagate,” peas make delicious hummus like this Spring Pea Hummus and guacamole like this Knock-off-amole (Guacamole Made with Fresh Green Peas). Peas can be a side dish, part of an appetizer or a colorful part of a main dish. It’s time to give peas a chance with these 20 awesome recipes that celebrate green peas.

1. Inner Peas: Perfect Pea Purée

Inner Peas: Perfect Pea Purée [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Instead of seeing food prep as a chore, some repetitive tasks can be quite meditative and peaceful – like shelling peas. This Perfect Pea Purée makes a delicious side dish, spread for toast or crackers, salad dressing, or a creamy pesto for pasta or grains. Eating this will definitely move you toward inner peas.

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2. Pea Ravioli with Basil Pesto

Pea Ravioli With Basil Pesto [Vegan]

This Pea Ravioli with Basil Pesto puts a green spin on the traditional Italian pasta dish. The homemade ravioli dough is filled with green peas, lemon, and vegan parmesan. The basil pesto sauce is bright, garlicky, and so good. Who said it’s not easy being green?

3. Greek Peas (Arakas Kokinistos)

Greek Peas (Arakas Kokinistos) [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

These Greek Peas are a whole new way to eat this familiar veggie. Green peas swim in a sauce of tomato, onions, dill, and of course, Greek oregano. You’ll want to have lots of crusty bread to help sop all the extra sauce in this simple but tasty dish.

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4. Green Pea Avocado Spread

Green Pea Avocado Spread

Green peas and avocados are best buddies in this Green Pea Avocado Spread. This vibrant green spread has the sweet, refreshing taste of green peas combined with creamy avocado, green onions, chives, and lime. Not only is it super-healthy, but it’s also super-versatile. Use it as a dip for your favorite veggies, add a scoop to your salads, or add it to a wrap.

5. Peas With Shallots, Mushrooms, and Tarragon

Peas with Shallots, Mushrooms, and Tarragon [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

In this dish of Peas with Shallots, Mushrooms and Tarragon, peas are the star of the show. This is a wonderful side dish to share at a family gathering, or even just to have for dinner. The fresh flavor of the green peas goes so with the buttery shallots, rich mushrooms, and peppery tarragon. So yum!

6. Spring Onion Farro Fritters with Fresh Peas, Asparagus, Radish and Tahini Mint Dressing

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These Spring Onion Farro Fritters with Fresh Peas, Asparagus, Radish and Tahini Mint Dressing is a beautiful and colorful dish. This hearty salad is fully loaded with healthy seasonal vegetables and crispy fritters made with farro. The mint tahini dressing is the perfect topping for this amazing salad.

7. Smoky Eggplant Pasta with Bok Choy and Pea Pesto

Smoky Eggplant Pasta With Bok Choy and Pea Pesto [Vegan]Smoky Eggplant Pasta With Bok Choy and Pea Pesto [Vegan]

This Smoky Eggplant Pasta with Bok Choy and Pea Pesto puts together ingredients you may not be used to seeing in one dish. The pesto is made with bok choy and green peas instead of the usual basil. It is the perfect sauce for the pasta and pan-fried eggplant.

8. Pasta-Free Baked Cauliflower and Cheese with Peas

Pasta-Free Baked Cauliflower and Cheese With Peas [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Pasta-Free Baked Cauliflower and Cheese with Peas is a lighter way to enjoy the taste of mac and cheese but without the “mac” part. Cauliflower stands in for pasta and is tossed with a homemade cheese sauce and bright green peas. It’s so good; no one will miss the macaroni.

9. Mint Biryani with Garden Peas

Mint Biriyani With Garden Peas [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

A simple of dish of rice and peas gets tons of flavor in this Mint Biryani with Garden Peas. Garlic, turmeric, cloves, coriander, cumin, chiles, and ginger are just some of the spices that fire up this dish. Fresh mint adds brightness and is a common pairing with peas.

10. Indian-Style Quinoa and Peas

Indian Style Quinoa and Peas

This Indian-Style Quinoa and Peas is a simple dish that’s not too spicy. It’s made with peas, coconut milk, chiles, and lots of Indian spices. The quinoa makes this dish is filling enough to be enjoyed on its own, or as your go-to-bed of grains for a variety of curries.

11. Thai Spring Pea Soup

Thai Spring Pea Soup [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Thai Spring Pea Soup is thick, creamy and just a little spicy. It’s made with green peas, lemongrass, yellow curry, and coconut milk. The color is amazing and makes a beautiful presentation. Enjoy this soup hot or cold.

12. Mushroom Mutter Masala — Easy Indian-Style Vegan Mushroom and Green Peas

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MMM! Those three “M”s may stand for Mushroom Mutter Masala, but they’ll also be the only thing you’ll be able to say when you enjoy this dish. It’s an easy, Indian-style dish of mushrooms and green peas. It’s ready in less than thirty minutes. This is great as a main dish served with rice, but can also make a delicious side.

13. Super Simple Potato Curry

Super Simple Potato Curry [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Super Simple Potato Curry is a perfect weeknight dish. It takes less than half an hour to prepare, and it can feed a crowd. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and peas are cooked in coconut milk and lots of flavorful spices for a simple and satisfying dish that’s also delicious.

14. Magnifiqué Millet with Spring Vegetables

Magnifique Millet With Spring Vegetables [Vegan]

This Magnifiqué Millet with Spring Vegetables is a beautiful dish. Millet is the healthy base for fresh, seasonal produce like carrots, radishes, asparagus, and peas. You don’t need to speak French to know this dish is délicieuse.

15. Clean-Eating Portobello Burgers with Pea Pesto

Clean Eating Portobello Burgers With Pea Pesto [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

If it’s burger night, make these Clean-Eating Portobello Burgers with Pea Pesto for a yummy change from the usual bean burgers. They’re topped with a tri-color pepper salad and a flavorful pea pesto. Once you taste the pea pesto with its little kick of spice, you’ll never use ketchup on your burgers again.

16. Protein and Calcium-Rich Green Peas Cookies That Taste Amazing!

Nutrient Rich Green Peas Cookies [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Cookies made out of peas? What?? Get ready to be pleasantly surprised when you make these Green Pea Cookies. Made with green peas, calcium-rich tofu, and protein-packed almond flour, these cookies are nutritious and delicious. Surprise!

17. Cauliflower Chickpea Cashew Curry

Cauliflower Chickpea Cashew Curry

There may be four “C”s in this Cauliflower Chickpea Cashew Curry, but you’ll give it an “A” for taste, texture, nutrition, and presentation. Green peas add color and protein to this dish filled with cauliflower, chickpeas, and tofu. Cashews and coconut milk add another couple of “C”s and make this dish rich, creamy, and delicious.

18. ‘Samosanadas’ (Seasonal Pumpkin Samosa Empanadas)

#5under5: 'Samosanadas' (Seasonal Pumpkin Samosa Empanadas) [Vegan]

Peas are familiar ingredients in both samosas and empanadas so, of course, when you put those two dishes together, peas have to be part of the recipe. These ‘Samosanadas’ are a fusion of two favorite filled hand pies. Roasted pumpkin stands in for the traditional potato filling. Dip these in your favorite chutney or salsa.

19. Oscar Worthy, Star-Studded Healthy Pea Soup Shooters

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You may not think of soup as a party food, but when you serve it in small glasses as shooters, it becomes the life of the party. These Pea Soup Shooters are made with green peas, basil, and spinach plus they’re star-studded with sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Sure, you can serve this in a bowl, but shot glasses are fun and festive.

20. Fiddlehead Fern Risotto

Fiddlehead Fern Risotto [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Fiddlehead Fern Risotto from Blossom on Columbus in NYC celebrates all that’s spring and green. The risotto has a green pea sauce made with peas, spinach, and lemon. The dish is topped with sautéed seasonal vegetables including carrots, fennel, and the unique-looking fiddlehead ferns.

Most of us have eaten peas all our lives but probably never stopped to really appreciate them. These recipes where peas are center stage will certainly change all that.

Lead image source: Peas with Shallots, Mushrooms, and Tarragon