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Peas Please

One of my favorite books to read with my daughters is called “Little Pea”. It’s about a little pea who only likes to eat vegetables and is forced to eat candy by his parents… blech! Every time my daughter and I read this book, I would inwardly laugh hysterically because I remember the disgusting, mushy, tasteless peas I was force fed as a child.

But what if peas could actually be made to taste good? Believe it or not, peas are now one of my favorite vegetables and, if prepared properly, can be absolutely delicious!

Peas were not always second class citizens! Peas were first cultivated in the Middle East and became one of the most cultivated crops in France as well as Great Britain. In 17th century France, King Louis XIV (who was obsessed with peas) made eating peas – both raw and cooked – a delicacy, and even Thomas Jefferson planted several varieties on his land! Not a bad pedigree.

Why should you eat them?

As an athlete, it is not only important to be meticulous about your training but also to make sure that you are fueling your body with the right foods to give you energy as well as help your body recover after heavy workouts.

Not only are peas high in fiber, but they are also high in magnesium (boosts immune system, enhances nerve and muscle function, balances blood sugar and blood pressure), phosphorus (repair connective tissues and cells, maintain PH balance, form strong bones), potassium (balances electrolytes, muscle contraction, kidney function), and iron (helps prevent anemia and counter balances blood loss and tissue repair that goes along with training)! Peas are also very high in manganese (energy production and metabolizing protein rich foods, contains SOD which prevents our bodies from free radical damage and inflammation, heals injuries such as sprains, regulates blood sugar, supports thyroid function.) Enough said. You should eat them!


Here are some of my family’s favorite pea recipes:

Pea Pasta

Ingredients:

  • Penne, Rigatoni or Farfalle pasta (I like to use gluten-free Tinkyada)
  • Peas (fresh English peas preferable, but frozen will do in a pinch)
  • Chopped, fresh mint
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Boil the fresh peas until they are very soft (or defrost frozen ones.)
  2. Drain peas in a colander and mash with a wooden spoon until they are a mushy consistency.
  3. Place in an omelet pan with several leaves of fresh mint that has been chopped and a healthy dash of olive oil.
  4. Stir mixture on low to medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes while cooking pasta as noted on the package.
  5. Spoon pea mixture on top of the drained pasta and serve with grated Parmesan and you have a balanced, delicious meal!

Pea Brushetta

Ingredients

  • Fresh or frozen peas
  • Chopped fresh mint
  • Olive oil
  • Rustic country bread (or any other bread really will do)
  • Shaved Parmesan

Directions

  1. Boil peas until soft then place in a colander and mash with a spoon.
  2. Transfer peas into an omelet pan with some olive oil and the chopped fresh mint.
  3. Cook mixture approximately 5-10 minutes on low heat.
  4. While peas are cooking, slice your bread into ΒΌ inch thick pieces and lightly brush with olive oil to brown.
  5. Top the bread with the pea/mint mixture and then decorate with shaved parmesan. This is a great variation on the pea pasta!

Written by

Katherine Pennington is a diet and lifestyle coach, writer, and founder of Be in Balance, which helps women and men lose weight, reduce stress and achieve more balance in their lives. Katherine is also an avid runner and marathoner and also advises athletes on how to fuel for maximum performance and health.

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