Peas belong to the family of plants known as legumes. With most legumes, the seeds of their pods are often dried and re-hydrated during the cooking process. Peas are one exception in that the pod can be snapped open and the seed can be eaten as a fresh vegetable. They make a delicious and satisfying snack during the early days of summer when they are readily available.
Peas offer several health benefits and are a source of several phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants some of which are listed below.
- Peas are a source of both protein and fibre. 1 cup of cooked peas offers just over 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre, mostly in the form of insoluble fibre. This is excellent news for your digestion.
- Peas provide 22% of your daily needs for folate, which is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division, especially important for expectant moms
- Peas are an excellent a source of antioxidant nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin C and A. 1 cup of cooked peas provides 26% of your daily vitamin C needs. If consumed raw however, approximately 3/4 cup of peas offers 67% of daily vitamin C and 26% of vitamin A requirements. Both these vitamins act as powerful antioxidants helping to remove free radicals from the body. Vitamin C also supports the immune system and vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy membranes, skin, and eyes. Green peas are also rich in many phytonutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which also support eye health.
- Peas are an excellent of vitamin K, with 1 cup of cooked peas offering about 40% of your daily requirements. Vitamin K is necessary for the maintenance and building of healthy bones.
- In addition to these nutrients, peas are also a good source of many other essential B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. They are also rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.
Whether you decide to eat them cooked or raw, peas make a nutritious and fun addition to any snack or dish. Kids especially seem to enjoy snapping the pods and popping the sweet seeds into their mouths. For a quick and easy summer pasta dish, try pasta e piselli, or pasta with peas. They can also be made with frozen peas if you do not have any fresh peas on hand. Enjoy!
Pasta e Piselli
- 350-454 g dried pasta
- 2 cups of fresh peas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 2-3 leaves fresh basil
- Grated Parmesan
Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until it begins to brown slightly. Add fresh (or frozen peas) and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the peas begin to soften. With a wooden spoon, crush about ½ of the peas.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain well, reserving about ½ cup of cooking water.
Add the pasta and reserved water to the skillet and saute until well combined. Add chopped or torn basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
Remove from heat and place in a serving dish. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and goat cheese.
Linda@ The Wholesome Kitchen