Peas, in my opinion, are an underrated veggie. They’re that stereotypically hated green part of the meal that kids in movies hate, but actually, when you eat them as an adult, cooked well, they’re so delicious (and so easy to add to meals). Peas are one of my favorite vegetables to always have in the freezer because I think there’s no easier vegetable to add to a dish. They add a minimal flavor, but a great boost of greens and nutrition. It’s a bit of a vegetable life hack, in my mind.
But if you’re not sold, here are some of the benefits peas offer when it comes to your health:
- Lots of antioxidants. You hear about antioxidants all the time, and some of the fruits and vegetables that have them, but what are they actually good for? Antioxidants boost your immune response and possibly keep you from developing some diseases like heart disease and cancer, by protecting cells from free radicals.
- They support digestion and stomach health. With a high fiber content, peas keep the food in you moving along at a healthy pace, aiding in overall gut health. But studies have also even shown that daily intake of peas and legumes reduced the risk of stomach cancer by 50%.
- They keep your eyes healthy. Peas contain carotenoids, nutrients that reduce risk of eye-related conditions like cataracts and degeneration that tend to happen with age.
- They’re loaded with beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Particularly helpful for fighting inflammation, vitamins A and B, along with coumestrol, caffeic acid, and other nutrients are found in peas. This means they can help fight or prevent inflammatory diseases, which include diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.
So, now that you’re sold on incorporating peas into your diet on a regular basis, here are some of my favorite ways to do so:
- Use peas to make homemade pestos! Pesto doesn’t have to follow the ultra-classic basil recipe alone. Sure, get plenty of basil in there, but then step it up by adding some super fresh peas. It’s just as delicious and adds all those extra benefits.
- Add them to most pastas or soups. This is a classic for me, but when I’m putting together a veggie pasta or an alfredo pasta or anything else, I always toss in some frozen peas. That added bit of greens brings not only all the extra health benefits and nutrients, but a little extra freshness too. You can also find pasta recipes that put peas in the spotlight.
- Throw them on a pizza. Bear with me. Not every style of pizza will go with peas, sure. But if you’re getting a little creative with pizza toppings, why not do alfredo pizza with peas? Tandoori chicken and peas on a pizza? Pea and prosciutto pizza, if you’re feeling fancy?
- Add a little health to pre-made or boxed meals. While you may try to always make healthy homemade meals, most of us fall short from time to time and are too busy or overwhelmed to cook. On those nights when you decide to turn to that boxed mac and cheese in your pantry, I have some solace. You can add a little vegetable content by just tossing in some frozen peas. You’ll barely notice they’re there (except a nice snappy texture) and you’ll step up that pantry meal just a bit.