Discover how to make the perfect Classic Pea Salad with this easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipe. Ideal for Easter, picnics, or any occasion, this salad blends crispy bacon, sharp cheddar, and sweet peas in a creamy dressing. Follow these instructions to create a delightful dish that’s sure to impress!
Can I use fresh peas instead of frozen peas?
It’s best to use frozen peas for this recipe. Frozen peas will be starchier and have a firmer bite. Fresh peas are more delicate and will turn mushy when combined with the dressing.
What type of bacon works best?
A thick-cut, smoked bacon is ideal for getting nice hearty bacon bits in the salad. Look for bacon sliced about 1/8-inch thick. Turkey bacon can also be substituted.
Do I need to cook the bacon first before adding it?
Yes, you’ll want to cook the bacon until crispy before crumbling it over the salad. This helps render out some of the bacon grease. Uncooked bacon will make the salad oily.
Can I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?
Yes, you can substitute Greek yogurt for an equally creamy but tangier dressing. Just make sure to use plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt.
How long will the salad keep in the fridge?
The pea salad will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. The flavors may intensify as it sits. Give it a stir before serving if it’s been chilled for a while.
Can I prepare this salad in advance?
Definitely! Prepare the salad up to 1 day ahead, store it covered in the refrigerator, and give it a brief stir before serving. The dressing and flavors will blend together even more over time.
What’s the best way to thaw the frozen peas?
For best results, thaw the peas overnight in the refrigerator or thaw in the microwave. Then be sure to drain and pat them very dry before assembling the rest of the salad.
What can I serve this pea salad with?
This versatile salad pairs well with grilled meats like burgers or chicken. It’s also a great side for a picnic or potluck spread served alongside potato salad, pasta salad, or coleslaw.
- Frozen Peas: 4 cups (thawed and patted dry)
- Red Onion: ¼ cup, chopped
- Bacon: 6 slices, cooked and crumbled
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: 1 cup, cut into small cubes
- Sour Cream: ½ cup
- Mayonnaise: ¼ cup
- Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 teaspoons
- Salt: ¼ teaspoon
- Black Pepper: ¼ teaspoon
- Sugar: 1 tablespoon
- Prep the Peas: Begin by ensuring your 4 cups of frozen peas are completely thawed. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This step is crucial as it helps the dressing adhere better to the peas.
- Combine Salad Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix the thawed peas with ¼ cup of chopped red onion, 6 slices of crumbled bacon, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese cubes.
- Create the Dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together ½ cup of sour cream, ¼ cup of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of sugar to form a smooth dressing.
- Dress the Salad: Pour the dressing over the pea mixture. Gently mix until all ingredients are well-coated with the dressing.
- Serve and Enjoy: Your Classic Pea Salad is ready to serve! This dish is ideal for Easter celebrations, picnics, or as a refreshing side dish for any meal.
Tips for the Perfect Salad
- Dry Your Peas: Make sure your peas are as dry as possible. Excess moisture can make the dressing runny.
- Choose Frozen Peas: Opt for frozen peas over canned peas. Frozen peas have a better texture and a snappy bite that canned peas lack.
- Customize: Feel free to add your own twist to the salad. Some people enjoy adding diced hard-boiled eggs or a sprinkle of fresh herbs for extra flavor.
- Enjoy your Classic Pea Salad, a simple yet delightful dish that brings a burst of flavors and textures to your table. Whether it’s for a special occasion or a regular weekday meal, this salad is sure to be a hit!