This bright, fresh salad combines sweet peas with goat cheese and candied hazelnuts for the ultimate springtime dish or light weeknight dinner!
Spring is such a great season for fresh veggies! There are so many options to choose from and it's always a great idea to take advantage of what's fresh and in season. If you make the hazelnuts ahead of time, this salad is ready in less than 30 minutes making this the ultimate fresh weeknight side dish.
This English Pea Salad is one of my newer takes on something mostly veggie-based, and I have to say, I'm kinda loving it and I know you will too!!
This is the perfect recipe to add to your everyday meals recipe collection. Read on to learn more about how to make this English Pea Salad, or jump straight to the recipe to start cooking!
The full list of ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
- English peas: Using fresh peas is the key to this recipe. You could substitute frozen but it just won't be quite the same so definitely try to find fresh English peas in their pods if possible. If your grocery store doesn't carry them a local farmer's market would be a good place to check. My grocery store carries them when they are in season, as do most Whole Foods and other major chains. Whole Foods also carries a pre-shelled version which works too.
- Hazelnuts: You want whole hazelnuts, which can usually be found in the bulk food section of most grocery stores. Since you'll roast them yourself there is no need to purchase roasted nuts.
- Meyer lemons: In most areas, Meyer lemons are in season from December until April.
- Produce: You'll need a shallot and some fresh mint.
- Crumbled goat cheese: I typically purchase pre-crumbled goat cheese.
- Spices: cracked pepper, sea salt
- Pantry staples: Olive oil, honey, white wine vinegar, sugar
How to make this recipe
This recipe requires a few different steps but it's pretty simple to pull together. The complete instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Candy the hazelnuts. Making candied nuts involves mixing nuts and sugar together. Since you need the sugar to stick to the nuts, you'll warm it in a saucepan and make it liquid by adding a bit of water. Then you add the nuts to the pan and stir to coat. Transfer the nuts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them cool.
Make the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, honey, lemon juice and zest together in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and continue whisking until blended. Since you'll be using it quickly, leave it out of the refrigerator.
Steam the peas. The best way to steam veggies is by using a steam insert in a saucepan. You add a bit of water then bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. It takes about 12 minutes for the peas to steam.
Assemble the salad. Remove peas from the pan and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Add the shallots, salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Then top the salad with goat cheese, hazelnuts and minced mint leaves. Serve immediately.
MEAL PREP TIP
If you want to have these peas ready for an easy weeknight side dish or lunch add the hazelnuts to your weekly meal prep plan and store them in an airtight container after they cool. They will keep for about a week. When you are ready to eat just steam the peas, toss the salad and you are ready to go. If you decide to make extra I recommend keeping the peas and dressing separate until you are ready to serve.
Additional notes from the kitchen
What are English peas?
English peas are just actually your regular garden variety peas. Unlike snap peas or snow peas, their pods are not edible so you need to shell them before you eat them. If you can find them super fresh or grow them in your garden you can actually eat the peas raw though they are typically steamed before serving.
Why Meyer lemons?
I love using Meyer lemons when they are in season, which is technically late winter and spring. They are a bit sweeter than regular lemons so they give dishes and dressings a slightly less tangy taste than regular lemons. Since Meyer lemons are only in season until about the end of April you can always substitute regular lemons. The dressing will just be a bit more tart.
How do you store candied nuts?
Candied nuts make an excellent, slightly sweet snack and go really well on just about any salad! Once they have cooled, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Tools you may want for this recipe
OXO Mini Measuring Cup – I love to use this mini-sized measuring cup when making dressings. It makes it really easy to measure out all the liquid ingredients.
Handheld Juicer - I love these juicers. They come in three sizes - lime, lemon and orange. I just have the largest one - for oranges, so it works for everything!
This pea salad makes a great light lunch or dinner on its own but for a complete meal, I'd pair it with this Apricot Glazed Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
More side dish recipes
English Pea Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 4 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice, about 1 ½ lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- ½ cup whole hazelnuts
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ cups fresh shelled English peas
- ½ tablespoon minced shallot
- ½ teaspoon cracked pepper
- dash of salt
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 mint leaves, minced
- Heat the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 15 minutes. Let the nuts cool while you make the vinaigrette and then rub the skins off of the hazelnuts.
- Make the viniagrette. Whisk the vinegar, honey, lemon juice and zest together in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and continue whisking until blended.
- Candy the hazelnuts. Add the sugar to a small non-stick saucepan and add 2 teaspoons of water. Heat over medium-high heat and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Cook for 2 more minutes and then add the hazelnuts. Continue stirring until the hazelnuts are coated. Remove the nuts from pan and spread them onto parchment paper to cool. Try to separate the nuts so they don't stick together in clumps as the sugar cools.
- Steam the peas. Insert a steamer basket into a medium saucepan filled with about 2" of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the peas and reduce heat to medium. Cover and steam for 12 minutes, until peas are tender.
- Assemble the salad. Remove peas from the pan and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add the shallots, salt and pepper, mix well. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Top with goat cheese, hazelnuts and minced mint leaves. Serve immediately.
This post was originally published in May 2016. It was updated in April 2022 with some new information and photos. No changes were made to the original recipe.