Pea and cheese salad. Have you heard of it? It is definitely a thing in my family and maybe it will be for your family, as well.
This is one of those family recipes that has been “handed” down loosely with little more than verbal direction. You know, the “a little of this, a little of that” approach. I remember my mom making this when I was younger and my dad was a big fan. When I called her to get some more details on the recipe, she somewhat chuckled and said, “well, it has peas and cheese in it and rest is up to you.”
Although I can’t replicate exactly what my Granny (my mom’s mom) made, I can replicate my mom’s recipe as much as possible while also throwing in some of my own flare. And that is what I love doing! The kitchen becomes much more fun when you take a few chances and experiment with recipes.
With only 6 ingredients, you will be surprised at the flavor this pea and cheese salad boasts. Most of the time with salads we think a bowl of lettuce greens topped with a random array of veggies, then seasoned with some vinaigrette. Well, this salad is different. This pea and cheese salad is both salad and comfort food.
Although I grew up with this salad, I decided to make some tweaks to my mom’s version of the recipe. I wanted to add an herb I have recently grown to like a lot and that is tarragon.
Do you like tarragon or use it often? It was one of those herbs that I only stumbled across during holiday recipes, but then never really used again as it wilted away in my fridge. After getting tarragon in my recent CSA box, I took a quick taste of one of the leaves and realized I loved the stuff. It tasted lightly of black licorice without being overpowering. It was delicious!
Yes, I know I said it tastes like black licorice, but only ever so faintly. Don’t worry, though, this pea and cheese salad will not taste like licorice. The tarragon compliments the peas and the creamy white cheddar cheese adding a subtle flavor.
Are you a bit hesitant to try out a new ingredient? I get that way as well, but it is also fun to discover new items and add them to your kitchen arsenal so you are not stuck in a rut. Ruts are what ruin out kitchen experiences in my opinion. Those “ruts” are what make me want to pick up the phone and order pizza rather than cook another meal with the same-ole-food again and again.
The quick and easy how-tos.
This is an easy salad to mix together and it tastes even better after sitting in the fridge over night. My mom used regular orange cheddar cheese, but I prefer the white cheddar, especially the grass-fed New Zealand cheddar cheese from Trader Joe’s. SO good! As for the peas, use whatever is easier for you, fresh or frozen. Lastly, the mayonnaise. I am quite picky with mayo and will only eat it if I make my own. If you are interested, check out my post on making a quick mayo at home; otherwise use any mayo you have in the fridge.
Let this pea and cheese salad add some variety to your weekly dinner or pack it up and take it for a picnic in the beautiful spring weather. Peas are so quintessentially spring, which is why I have been obsessing over them lately.
What are your favorite ways to eat peas? They are so easy to add into soups, salads, risottos, or eaten one individual peat at a time. I recently shared my mint and basil pea spread recipe as well, which is a fantastic way to incorporate a quick and healthy pea recipe into your menu.
I hope you go pea crazy like me this spring and enjoy this recipe!
Pea & Cheese Salad
- 2 cups fresh peas, cooked and cooled
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups is about 5 oz)
- 3 tbsp. shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp tarragon
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- In large mixing bowl stir together peas, shredded cheese, shallot, and tarragon.
- Once combined, add in the mayonnaise (check here for my homemade mayo recipe) and Dijon mustard. Stir until combined.
- Seas on with additional salt and pepper.
Your Granny would be proud her granddaughter is passing on her recipe.