Mother nature gifted us a bountiful crop of peas and pea shoots this season so we're making the most of it. To be honest, I have never eaten the shoots before (unless maybe at an Asian restaurant) and I didn't know what I was missing! They are so tender, tasty, nutritious...and easy to prepare. Such a refreshing change from sauteed chard, collards and kale. Wow! Not to be confused with pea sprouts (which are also incredibly nutritious), pea greens are the stems, leaves and flowers that produce the pea shoots. Pea sprouts, on the other hand, come earlier in the process, and also provide loads of delicious nutrients. I use the sprouts as garnish, in salads (check out our Sprout Salad) and in smoothies. Pea greens are better used like you would spinach or kale or even basil because they are more tender and a bit sweet. I would even try using them in a pesto (instead of basil) like this one.
All you need is:
pea greens (or similar)
good quality oil (I used avocado & sesame)
green garlic (or sub garlic)
apple cider vinegar (or dry sherry)
fresh lemon or lime
and for that special touch...
a tablespoon of Monty's cashew cream cheese
If you aren't in an area where Montys is available (they will be shipping nationwide soon!), you can order online in packs of 3. I recommend starting with the variety pack so you can play! They last weeks in the fridge and freeze well (I tested). Made from 100% sprouted cashews (to remove anti-nutrients and enhance bio-availability) and real food ingredients (such as spices and scallions), they are cultured to add probiotics. And because they contain no fillers, added flavors, and preservatives, the taste is homemade and absolutely delicuous!
Pea Greens are like most leafy greens in that they a good source of beta-carotene (converts into vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes). A 1-ounce serving also delivers an impressive 13% of the RDV for vitamin C, along with folate, protein and fiber and very low in calories.
One thing I've learned about Asian and Southeast Asian cooking from my family is that they almost always have a plate of cooked greens on the table. It's a given. Just look at these morning glory greens that my sister-in-law grew in her Saigon backyard!
Turned into this...
So this is the humble San Francisco version but let me tell you that I will never ever ever throw pea greens in the compost again!
The only trick to preparing them is to clean and cut or pull off the tough stems. The hollow stems are usually soft enough and cook up nicely. For the tough portions, just peel off the leaves as those are still very edible and delicious.
And of course you can save the peas for another dish (I'm using them for a vegan Pad Thai tonight:).
Sauteed Pea Greens with Easy (Vegan) Cream Sauce
1 large bunch pea greens (about 8 cups trimmed)
1 TB avocado oil*
1 tsp sesame oil*
4 stalks green garlic (or 2 large cloves garlic)
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
1 TB coconut aminos (or dry sherry or mirin)
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
fresh lemon or lime for serving
for the sauce:
1 TB Montys NYC brand scallion cream cheese
water or almond milk to thin (about 1-2 tsp)
Whisk until smooth.
1) Prep your pea greens. remove leaves from tough stems. No need to remove leaves from the more flexible hollow stems as they will (usually, not always) cook up to be tender and a bit crunchy. This will save prep time. Wash well and drain - no need to completely dry.
2) Heat a large skillet and once hot, add avocado and sesame oils. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds being careful not to let it change color (garlic burns easily).
3) Add pea greens and begin to sautee. You may need to do this in batches while adding coconut aminos (or dry sherry) and salt to taste.
4) Serve with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon or lime and top with Montys scallion cream cheese sauce.
* note that I typically prefer to sautee in broth or water but in this case I prefer using some good oils because the taste and texture result is better. You can use broth or water, just know that you will end up with more of a "steamed" green.
To your health and some good nut cheese!
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?
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