by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH
There is a surprising amount of incredible nutrition in a green peas. Peas pack a lot of nutrition in a tiny pod. They come from the legume family, like cannelli or navy beans and share the same nutritional payloads of fiber, protein and vitamins.
Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables, rich in health benefiting nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Peas are also relatively low in calories in comparison to beans, and cow-peas. 100 g of green peas contains only 81 calories, and no cholesterol. These legumes are a good source of protein and soluble as well as insoluble fiber.
One half cup of peas has just as much protein ( 5 grams) as an egg or one tablespoon of peanut butter, but without the fat or cholesterol. Fresh peas are generally available from April to June, yet frozen peas retain all the taste and nutrition of fresh peas and are available all year long. Canned peas miss the mark. They lose most of their vitamin content and are packed with unhelpful salt and sugar.
In cooking peas, some people pulverize them (no offense Brits) and some people make them an afterthought. I say we start giving peas the respect they deserve and elevate them to higher place on our list of food choices.
You can use peas in a variety of different ways. I love to use them in low fat pasta salads, as a side dish with pearl onions, in green salads, stirred into a rice dish, paired with sautéed mushrooms or even added to freshly made guacamole. Try Heart Easy™ Peas Francoise alongside a rotisserie chicken for a delicious and heart-healthy meal. Or make up Heart Easy ™ Pasta, Tuna & Pea Salad which you can use as a meal or a side dish. Learn to love peas and take them to heart.
8 ounces frozen peas, 1/4 cup water, two scallions slivered into one-inch pieces, 2-3 thin slices of fat free ham, julienned, 1 low fat butter substitute like Smart Balance Light, 1/2 cup of Boston lettuce slivers.
Combine all ingredients, except ham and butter substitute. Cook peas, scallions and water for 2-3 minutes. Pour off any remaining water and fold in the ham strips and butter substitute. Cook until butter substitute melts and ham is heated through. Add lettuce slivers at the last minute and serve.
(Traditional Peas Françoise includes the slivers of Boston lettuce. The lettuce adds both flavor and texture but you can omit if you choose.)
1 (8 oz.) bag whole grain pasta (macaroni, penne, twists)
2 (5 oz.) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
4 celery ribs, diced
1 package (15 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
1/3-1/2 cup low fat Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions, but don’t overcook. Drain and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, celery, peas, mayonnaise. Stir until well-combined.
Add cayenne pepper and salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Top with fresh ground pepper.
– Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding.