April 12, 2013

Feature Ingredient: Spring Greens

Pea Shoots

In DC, we seemed to have skipped straight from winter into summer. Either way, one thing that is really special about this time of year (besides the cherry blossoms!) are fresh spring greens. On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I was attracted to a box of pea shoots. I had no real plans for them nor even knowledge of how to use them, but suspected that these could inspire something interesting. So here goes.

They taste just like fresh spring peas, go figure. But their shape allows for a wide variety of uses, in much the same way one might use baby spinach - raw or sauteed, salads or soups or even sandwiches. Really the only limitation here is your imagination. I decided to lightly saute these with sliced garlic & a bit of olive oil. Afterwards, I tossed the sauteed pea shoots with some basil pesto we happened to have on hand. This was superb & the pesto helped lend a light nutty flavor.

Encouraged by these results, I experimented a bit more. We happened to have a sweet potato on hand, which inspired me to try a variation of a stuffed potato. I baked the sweet potato for about 45 minutes, until tender to the touch of a fork & then scooped out the orange insides.

I mixed the sweet potato insides with a generous handful of raw chopped pea shoots, approximately 1 tbsp mayo, 1/2 tsp sriracha, and a bit of salt & pepper.

Then we filled the sweet potato skins with this mixture & topped with pea shoots wilted with olive oil & garlic on the skillet. 

We served both the garlicky, sauteed pea shoots with pesto and the stuffed sweet potatoes with steamed cod (more or less following the recipe found here). Some flaky Maldon salt proved all the garnish this combination required. These results were light, refreshing & a nice welcome into a new season of flavors. 

Dont let your creativity expire with these few suggestions, check out some other enticing offerings here. Happy weekend all - any special plans? What's cooking this weekend? 


  1. Looks delicious. Great colors, and healthy too. Looking forward to trying it. Can you suggest any substitutes for mayo that would achieve a similar result?

  2. Sure there are plenty of substitute options if you prefer to steer clear of mayo. You could try cream cheese, sour cream, or even plain Green style yogurt. For a vegan option, you could try a generous splash of coconut milk. You want the bright taste of the greens to shine through here - so aim for a taste that will not be competing.