Minted sugar snap peas recipe

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

When I’m not teaching cooking classes, I volunteer as a garden educator for a non-profit organization called Growing Great.  I help students at a local elementary school maintain a beautiful organic garden as well as teach them the fundamentals about growing vegetables and fruit.  I think it’s really important that our kids know where our food comes from.  I am fortunate to have grown up with gardens my whole life.  My father has an unbelievable green thumb and we were lucky enough to be able to go to the backyard before dinner and find something that looked good enough to eat.  Yet, no matter how many times I plant a seed in the ground, I am still amazed at what happens.  With some sun, water and a little TLC, that little granule turns into a gorgeous plant that bears incredible-tasting vegetables.

This year our little school garden had a bounty of sugar snap peas.  We picked baskets upon baskets of them to sell at the school’s annual farmer’s market, although we would have had pounds more but the kids couldn’t resist eating them straight off the vine.  Far be it from me to discourage them!  Sugar snap peas are always the most popular spring vegetable that we sell.  They are even more sweet and juicy when they are freshly picked — a real treat!  They are perfect raw in a lunchbox or as an afterschool snack.  But I just love any peas when paired with mint.  It’s a match made in heaven.

If you can find really fresh snap peas, you won’t have to do much to them to make them taste divine.  This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and delicious in its simplicity.  The only “work” here is trimming the peas and I usually have one of my kids do that.

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

Since the peas cook so quickly, I usually call everyone down for dinner and then turn the heat on under the pot.  I can always count on a little bickering before everyone settles down to his or her seat, so the timing is perfect.  Just keep to the short cook time.  I do think snap peas are better with a little crunch.  This preparation also works with carrots, asparagus, and English peas, too.  If you mix a few together, you’ll just have Springtime in a bowl.

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

Minted Sugar Snap Peas
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced or 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 3-4 Tablespoons water
  1. In a medium saucepan, add all the ingredients. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  2. Remove garlic if that’s what you used. Season to taste for salt. That's all there is to it. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Sometimes I like to add the zest of one small orange, lemon or lime to the pot.


Vegetable fried rice recipe

When parents struggle with “what to make for dinner,” one tip I like to offer is to find a dish that everyone likes to eat when you go out, and try to make it at home.  Fried rice, however, is a food that I thought I could never make at home.  I don’t know why it seemed to be out of my cooking league and only something the family could enjoy on the three annual birthday trips to Benihana.  But the last time we were there for Mr. Picky’s birthday, I watched in amazement at what it took for our chef to make fried rice — not a lot!  I could make this at home!  I took mental notes of what was used on the griddle — cold rice, beaten eggs, a few vegetables, soy sauce and a curious creamy spread our chef told me was “garlic butter.”  Hmmm…..

Before I gave this a go at home, I needed to check around a bit to see if there was anything else I needed to know.  It seems that fried rice is actually pretty straightforward provided you do one very important thing — use cold, cooked rice.  Warnings abounded wherever I turned — one can never, ever, possibly even consider making fried rice with fresh rice otherwise you will have a mushy, disastrous mess.  One thing you need to know about me is that I am a naysayer.  Oh, really?  Well I need to see it to believe it.  And I that’s how I learned….never to use fresh rice when making fried rice because I’m here to tell you that you will indeed have a mushy, disastrous mess.

Fried rice is something that was invented in order to use up leftover rice and whatever bits of vegetables and meat you have from the night before.  It is eaten as a snack in China, never as a meal.  Don’t tell my kids, because they’re getting it as an entree.  When you add scrambled eggs, peas, shiitake mushrooms and broccoli to long-grain brown rice, you have yourself plenty of protein.  I often pack this the next day in a stainless thermos for the kids’ lunch and I have enjoyed it for breakfast as well.  It is actually the perfect little meal with protein, good carbs, and some fat for stable blood sugar and long-lasting energy.

Stir-frying anything requires all your chopping to be done in advance since things move so quickly.  You can get this out of the way as early as the night before, if you want.  If you have leftover rice and all your vegetables are prepped ahead, fried rice can be cooked in minutes.  Traditionally in China, the eggs are added with the rice so that the egg coats each grain of rice.  I do it a little differently since Mr. Picky doesn’t enjoy eggs yet.  I cook the beaten eggs in ghee (a clarified butter great for higher heat cooking) first and then remove them, chop them up and add them in at the end.  That way Mr. Picky can pick out all the egg easily.

You can really add whatever vegetables you have on hand and you certainly don’t need to use as many as I do. (The vegetables above were used in fried rice I made for a class where the recipe was doubled.)  The key is to dice everything pretty small, about the size of peas, although the broccoli can be slightly larger.  That way you can stir-fry them in the wok or pan and you don’t need to blanche them in a separate saucepan.  I like washing dishes as much as Mr. Picky likes eggs.  If your picky eater won’t go for brown rice, he’ll never know it here.  The shoyu is going to change the color of the rice to brown anyway.  To make this gluten-free, substitute wheat-free tamari and you’re all set.  Vegans can drop the egg, use all sesame oil and still enjoy a high-protein dish.  Don’t forget — Chinese New Year begins on February 3rd!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegetable Fried Rice
Serves: 6 as a side dish, 4 as a main
  • 2 Tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more for drizzling if desired
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced peeled, fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • Vegetables:
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • Handful of shiitake mushrooms, stems removed; caps wiped clean and diced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into very small florets and stems diced, about 2 cups
  • 4 cups COLD, COOKED brown rice, preferably long-grain
  • 2 Tablespoons shoyu or more to taste (I tend to go more)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon ghee. Scramble the eggs in the pan until cooked through. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board and set aside.
  2. Add 1 Tablespoon sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon ghee to the wok. Saute the ginger, garlic and scallions until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the vegetables and sauté until softened. Add the rice and shoyu and toss everything around in the wok until heated through. Chop up the cooked eggs and stir into the rice. Taste for seasoning and add additional shoyu or sesame oil, if desired. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for fun!
If you are using leftover cooked vegetables or meat, dice them up and add with the rice.

I shared this recipe with Healthy Child, Healthy World!