Ingredient spotlight: Peas

Healthy Recipes
Peas in a bowl

Peas, small yet mighty, are not just a staple in culinary traditions around the world but also a powerhouse of nutrition and health benefits. They come in various forms including green peas, snow peas and snap peas, each offering a unique flavor, texture and slightly different nutrient profiles. Green peas are considered a starchy vegetable while snap peas and snow peas are in the "other" vegetable subgroup. Peas that are considered legumes are chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), black-eyed peas, cow peas and split peas. Regardless of category, they are a food that deserves attention.

One of the standout health benefits of peas is their impressive nutrient content. They are a great source of plant-based protein, which is essential for muscle repair, growth and overall bodily function. Peas also pack a significant amount of fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting a healthy gut microbiome. This combination of protein and fiber can contribute to a feeling of fullness, making peas an excellent addition to weight management diets.

Furthermore, peas are rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and several B vitamins, all of which are crucial for maintaining optimal health. They offer iron, manganese and phosphorus as well, supporting bone health and the immune system. The high antioxidant content in peas, including flavonoids and carotenoids, combats oxidative stress, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

And while no one food can bestow good health, peas as part of an overall healthy dietary pattern can be a tasty addition to help you on your way. 

Interested in cooking with peas? Try out these two flavorful recipes!

Creamy Arugula Pesto Pasta with Peas & Tomatoes


  • 8 cups water
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 6 cups baby arugula (about 4 oz.)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • ⅓ cup pesto
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
  • Grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts for garnish


  • Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding peas during the last minute of cooking. Transfer 1/2 cup of the cooking water to a blender, then drain. Return the pasta and peas to the pot and cover to keep warm.
  • Add arugula, goat cheese and pesto to the blender; process until smooth.
  • Toss the pasta with the sauce, tomatoes and spring onions (or scallions). Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with Parmesan and pine nuts, if desired.

Recipe adapted from

Quinoa with Peas & Lemon


  • 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 package (10 ounce) frozen peas
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper


  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in peas and quinoa; cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in lemon zest, goat cheese, salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from

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