Make Ahead Smoky Pea Salad With Greek Yogurt
A delicious make-ahead veggie side dish that uses frozen peas, this Smoky Pea Salad couldn’t be any easier! Packed full of veggies and flavor, this salad is gluten-free and so good. Make it ahead of a BBQ or party and watch your guests gobble it up.
This pea salad is the type of side dish that sits alone at the BBQ untouched because it looks really weird. Then, someone brave enough to try it will get the ball rolling by yelling “holy shit, who made this delicious pea thing, and what in the hell is in it”?
I love food that makes people swear.
It gets kind of awkward at church picnics though.
I first tried this Make Ahead Smoky Pea Salad With Greek Yogurt at my mother-in-law’s house, and then promptly asked for the recipe. Actually, everyone started asking for the recipe. I have never been so confused when receiving a copy of a recipe before. The ingredients/directions called for “three chukahs of cumin”.
The recipe was given to my mother-in-law by her friend Florence who loves to sprinkle her speech with familial Yiddish phrases. I asked all my Jewish friends, and not a one knew what in the hell a chukah meant.
So, we guessed that it meant “shakes”, as in “three shakes of cumin”, and went with it. Worked out great.
What Is Pea Salad?
I describe it like a potato salad – minus the potatoes. It’s a cool and refreshing side dish that is guaranteed to be popular at your next BBQ or book club lunch. Keep a small container for yourself at home because you’re going to be bringing home an empty bowl.
This dish is eaten cold, so no need to heat. That makes it perfect for the summer and all your party needs. Though truth be told, I love it in the spring, fall, and winter too.
What Ingredients Are in Pea Salad?
I think you’ll be shocked to find out that peas are the main ingredient in this Make Ahead Smoked Pea Salad. I know. Big surprise.
I use frozen peas (related: Freezing Peas – How to Freeze Peas) because they still have some bite to them when they thaw. Additionally, frozen peas were picked and flash frozen at their peak of freshness. This makes them an affordable and healthy choice all year long. I can find a pound of frozen organic peas at my grocery store for $1.29.
You’re welcome to use fresh or canned, but make sure all the liquid is drained from the canned peas first. Please note, the salad with not be as crispy and crunchy if using canned.
This pea salad recipe calls for a creamy plain Greek yogurt because to say I dislike mayo is an understatement. (Related: Easy Instant Pot Greek Yogurt). But you can use mayo if you don’t have nightmares about it. (Related: Homemade Whole30 Mayo).
It also contains: ground cumin, green onions (spring onions or scallions depending on what part of the world you’re in), smoked almonds, and canned water chestnuts.
Stovetop smoked almonds: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp olive oil or ghee, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and 1 cup of almonds. Stir and toast for 8-10 minutes. Allow to fully cool before pulsing.
If you aren’t serving this to vegetarians, you could also use regular dry-roasted almonds, a pinch of sea salt, and add chopped bacon. Not one person will blame you for making it a pea salad with bacon!
Whole30, paleo, and sugar-free bacon can be challenging to find, so I have rounded up all the Whole30 bacon brands out there. Yah welcome.
And if you enjoy being smart and efficient (and you do), you’ll want to bake up a bunch of bacon at once in the oven to keep in the fridge/freezer.
Pea Salad Questions/Variations:
- Can I add hard boiled eggs? Yes, feel free! I would add them just prior to serving.
- Can I add shredded or cubed cheese? I would say yes but try it first without it. I think what makes this recipe so refreshing is because it is light. Cheese might turn it into a “heavier” side dish. If you do include cheese, add it when you put the peas in.
- Can I make this a pea salad with bacon? By all means, yes! But I would proceed with a light hand with the meat candy. See previous note about the lightness of this dish.
- Make Ahead Pea Salad is an awesome addition to your meal prep containers for the week. Please, do that —-> flavorful, easy, and packed with veggies is a total meal prep win.
Here’s How to Make the Pea Salad:
In a food processor, pulse the almonds until the pieces are small. Pro tip: make sure you chop the almonds in the food processor before the water chestnuts. It prevents the liquid from the water chestnuts causing almond “clumpage”. Empty the almonds into a mixing bowl.
In the food processor, pulse the water chestnuts until the pieces are small and uniform. Empty them into the mixing bowl with the almonds.
Slice the green onions, and dump them into the mixing bowl as well. Add the peas and cumin to the bowl. Add Greek yogurt bit by bit until you’re satisfied there is enough in there.
Mix thoroughly, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. The mixture will seem thick and a bit dry at first but as the peas thaw it will relax and become more pliable. If it is still too thick after 12 hours you can add a bit more Greek yogurt (or mayo).
- Need to make more or less of the recipe? Click and slide the “servings” number on the recipe card and the ingredients will adjust as needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
- Make this dish the day before you want to serve it. It gives the flavors a chance to meld together, and um, it is a dish you can make the night before a party or a big family meal. What’s not to love about that?
- Store in the fridge for up to four days. After that, the whey from the Greek yogurt will start to water down the salad. If you like mayo, using mayo in the salad will allow it to be stored for six days without compromising the flavor.
More Easy Side Dishes You’ll Love:
- Healthy Deviled Eggs With Greek Yogurt
- Fried Cabbage With Bacon
- Air Fryer French Fries (With Roasted Garlic and Parmesan)
- Zesty Instant Pot Quinoa Salad
I know this Smoky Pea Salad sounds weird, but it tastes freaking amazing. Weird and delicious is totally my bag.
And now it’s yours!
Make Ahead Smoky Pea Salad with Greek Yogurt WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS
One serving of Make Ahead Smoky Pea Salad with Greek Yogurt has 3 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.
Make Ahead Smoky Pea Salad With Greek Yogurt
- In a food processor, pulse the almonds until the pieces are small. Pro tip: make sure you chop the almonds in the food processor before the water chestnuts. It prevents the liquid from the water chestnuts causing almond "clumpage". Empty the almonds into a mixing bowl.
- In the food processor, pulse the water chestnuts until the pieces are small and uniform. Empty them into the mixing bowl with the almonds.
- Slice the green onions, and add them to the mixing bowl.
- Add the peas and cumin to the bowl.
- Add Greek yogurt bit by bit until you're satisfied there is enough in there.
- Mix thoroughly, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
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