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Monday, December 19, 2011

Old Fashioned Cold English Pea Salad

A heritage recipe, English Pea Salad is made up of frozen or canned peas, mixed, at minimum, with celery and onion, and dressed with a mayonnaise or sour cream based dressing. I've added some bacon, dill and chopped boiled eggs in mine here, but it's wide open for personalization.
A heritage recipe, English Pea Salad is made up of frozen or canned peas, mixed, at minimum, with celery and onion, and dressed with a mayonnaise or sour cream based dressing. I've added some bacon, dill and chopped boiled eggs in mine here, but it's wide open for personalization.

Old Fashioned Cold English Pea Salad

Cold Pea Salad is another holiday dish you may remember from your grandma's kitchen during the major holidays. Called English Pea Salad, it's more widely known these days as simply Cold Pea Salad, and is a long held holiday favorite, though it's really a great side dish for anytime of the year.

We were chatting about Pea Salad over on the Facebook page right around Thanksgiving and all of the different variations everybody makes. When I had a baby shower to go to this past weekend, I thought it would be a nice dish to bring and get posted before Christmas.

Pea salad is probably one of those dishes that isn't nearly as appealing to the younger crowd as those of us who've been around a bit, so to be honest, I was secretly hoping there would be enough left for my lunch the next day. As it turns out we had plenty of food, ate plenty enough, and had leftovers too, so I was a happy gal!

To enjoy this salad, it helps if you're a fan of peas, which I am, though I have been told by some folks that family members who won't eat peas, will often eat a pea salad. Unless you're my husband who will eat peas when I set them before him but isn't remotely interested in pea salad at all.

In his defense, he's not much of a salad eater to begin with though. His idea of salad is iceberg lettuce with French dressing, though I don't let him get away with that either.

A traditional Cold Pea Salad will almost always begin with frozen or canned peas, celery, onion of some kind, and a dressing of mayonnaise, sour cream, or a combination of the two. It's also very good with a sweet and sour dressing of vinegar, oil and sugar, and some folks like it with a coleslaw dressing or old fashioned boiled dressing.

From there, much like a pasta salad, you can customize it to your liking. Pickle relish, chopped hard boiled eggs, and diced or shredded Cheddar cheese are almost always the typical add-ins. I've kept the base recipe pretty basic, but included those add-in suggestions and others that were shared by Facebook readers in the Cook's Notes at the bottom.

Get creative, have fun and make it your own!

Here's how to make it.

In a medium sized storage bowl, beat the sour cream with the mayonnaise to loosen it, adding the sugar, salt and pepper; set aside. Cook the bacon, crumble and set aside. Reserve a teaspoon for garnish. Add the peas to the dressing.


Add the cheese and celery.


Add the red or green onion, dill and bacon.


Gently fold ingredients into the dressing and add chopped egg if using. Once mixed, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, allowing 30 minutes for salad to come to room temperature before serving. Transfer to a pretty serving dish and garnish.



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Posted by on December 19, 2011


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