Recipe by Chef Cindy
Seasonal Sweet Pea Crostini with Mint Gremolata - a refreshing appetizer for spring gatherings! Try this delicious recipe made with fresh sweet peas, spring onions, a blend of herbs, and vegan cheeses.
Seasonal Spring Peas
Although you can have a bag of frozen peas on hand at all times, spring peas are in season in the early spring. Fresh spring peas are often sweeter, and crisper and offer wonderful flavor and bite to any dish they are added to. Peas are part of the legume group which includes plants that produce pods with seeds, beans, or peas inside. Peas were originally grown in Asia and the Middle East but can now be found worldwide.
In addition to being high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, peas are especially great for eye health. Peas contain carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. They are also high in fiber, aiding in gut health and digestion.
Selection & Storage:
Spring peas should be bright green, firm, and crisp. When possible buy them in their pods as opposed to pre-shelled– this keeps them fresh longer. The pods should not be slimy or scarred. Store spring peas in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or airtight container. They are best when consumed within 3 days of purchase. To freeze peas, shell them first then freeze them in an air-tight bag.
If the peas are purchased still in the pods, remove the pods by opening them at the seam and running your finger down the inside to pop out the peas. Then rinse and dry the peas. Some pods, like those of snap peas or sugar peas, are edible. Remove the tough vein that runs along with the pod and rinse before proceeding with a recipe. Peas can be eaten raw or cooked. They make a great addition to salads, pasta dishes, and stir-fries.
Peas, like most legumes, are very sustainable. Peas contribute to nitrogen fixation, adding nitrogen back into the soil they grow in. Farmers often use nitrogen-fixing crops, known as pulses, in their crop rotations to help other crops grow. Nitrogen is very important for growing healthy, nutrient-dense plants and when it is naturally added into the soil, the need for chemical fertilizers is greatly reduced.
You will better your skills in the kitchen and lower your carbon footprint when you focus on cooking with seasonal ingredients. Check out TMF's April Seasonal Produce Favorites for some suggestions.
If you need tips on how to make this recipe, click on the link below:
Seasonal Sweet Pea Crostini with Mint Gremolata
- 1 ½ cups spring onions sliced thin with white and green separated
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 4 tablespoon chives chopped
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ¼ cup mint chopped
- 2 lemons zested
- sea salt to taste
- 1 12 oz package of fresh English peas or 1 ½ cups of shelled frozen peas (set aside a few for toppings)
- 2 cloves of roasted garlic
- ½ cup vegan ricotta cheese Kite Hill brand recommended
- ½ cup grated vegan parmesan cheese Violife brand recommended
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chives chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
- lemon zest
- 1 baguette sliced on a diagonal
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- Heat a medium-size pot of salted water.
- Prepare Gremolata: Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Add the white parts of the spring onions and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Spoon transfer to a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Let cool. Add the cooked onion to a small bowl with other gremolata ingredients, including the uncooked green parts of the spring onion. Mix well and set the mint gremolata aside.
- Skip this step if using frozen peas. Prepare a large bowl with ice and water. Blanch the English peas in a pot of boiling water (use a strainer) for 2 -3 minutes. Shock peas by removing from heat and placing them in the cold water. This will stop them from cooking further and cool them off for the next step.
- Place the peas, and the rest of the pea spread ingredients in a food processor. Blend until creamy smooth, or somewhat chunky if you prefer.
- Toast the pine nuts on low heat in a small pan or oven.
- Toast the baguette slices until golden brown. Remove from the toaster and rub with a garlic clove for a little extra flavor.
- Top each toast in order with pea spread, gremolata, pine nuts, and extra parmesan if desired.