Seared Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a garden staple in the spring. At least around here you plant them in November or December and see them poking out of the ground late February to early March, depending on how warm or cold a winter it has been. In my garden they snake their way up a loosely put together bamboo trellis and if I’m not paying attention, climb over the fence into my neighbor’s yard. As soon as it really starts to get hot, usually sometime in May, the pea vines dry up, telling me it’s time to plant green beans.

And just so we are clear, I don’t cook my garden peas. Why? Because I’m greedy. I snap the peas off their tendrils and eat them fresh and fresh right in the garden as soon as they get big enough. It’s my garden snack bar. One of these days I’ll compost and fertilize and mulch enough to have a harvest big enough to cook and/or share. Still, peas in the garden means local peas at the market, and this easy stir-fry with green onions, lemon zest, and mint, is a great way to prepare them.

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With this method of cooking snap peas, you try to strike a balance between letting the peas sit so they get a little bit of sear, and tossing them, so they get all get cooked evenly and none of the peas get too charred. Just get the pan and oil good and hot before adding the peas, so you cook the peas quickly. Any green vegetable will turn from vibrant green to a drab brownish olive green if cooked for more than 7 minutes. It’s a matter of chemistry. So cook the peas quickly and serve them quickly, so you get a nice sear, the peas are still crunchy, and a pretty green.

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Seared Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Almost all the prep time in this recipe is taking the strings off the sugar peas. Once you have that done, the rest is easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 3-4 scallions or green onions, sliced on the diagonal
  • Salt
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

Method

1 Heat a large sauté pan on high heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and heat it until it shimmers, about 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar peas and toss to coat with the oil. Sprinkle salt over them and toss again. Allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute.

2 Add the green onions and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Toss to combine. Let cook for 1 minute. Toss and cook untouched again, this time leaving everything undisturbed for 2 minutes.

3 Turn off the heat, mix in the lemon zest and mint, then add black pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve at once.

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Links:

Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame and Sriracha - from Kalyn's Kitchen
Herbed Sugar Peas - from Family Fresh Cooking
Five More Ways to Eat Sugar Peas - from The Kitchn

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17 Comments

  1. jmf

    Not sure if the timing works where you are but a similar and delicious recipe with snap peas is to saute with butter and garlic scapes (those curly queue top of garlic plants)…so yummy!

  2. Alfredo

    Looking forward to trying this! I tried your recipe for broccoli with ginger and sesame and it came out brilliantly.

  3. Cooking fan

    HEALTHY! thanks alot Elise, I will try it this week and report back, looks very delicious, I hope you don’t mind if I pin it to my friends so they can enjoy it!

  4. Katrina

    These look so delicious!

  5. mirjam

    My sugarsnaps never make it to the kitchen either, they’re just too delicious! But you’re right, when they’re ready in the garden, they must be on the market too… :)

  6. Natalie

    I LOVE snap peas. These would make a great side dish with an Asian dinner, or perhaps this sauteed shrimp pasta! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Kalyn

    I am crazy over sugar snap peas, no matter how they are cooked and I especially love the idea of using mint with them.

  8. Joanie

    Another great recipe! I can’t wait for my peas to be ready.

  9. Nancy Long

    we don’t really have the garden space to grow them, plus W. central FL is way to hot. Will be watching for them at the market though, one of our fav spring veggies.

  10. KimH

    Yummy!! One of my favs too. We never got enough to take in the house either but the garden was our schmorgisboard and we loved it.
    I cant seem to get sugar snaps to grow here in Ohio.. I think I’ll try again this year. ;)

  11. Kelli

    This recipe sounds so delicious but my family refuses to eat onions or scallions :(. Will it hurt the recipe to omit them, or should I alter the recipe in any way? Thank you!

    Just leave them out, the peas will be fine. ~Elise

  12. mark

    I’m gonna try this, Elise try Burpee’s Sugar Daddy, compact and productive and best of all STRINGLESS !

  13. Jackie

    I made these for dinner this evening, alongside kafta with tzatziki, lettuce and red onion and homemade sourdough wheat pitas. Loved using the mint with peas, such a classic and perfect combination. Thanks for posting this!

  14. Laurie

    Thanks for the recipe. I love sugar snap peas! We use them in our salads and in my stir fry recipe.

  15. story

    Love the dish you used to photograph! Wishing I planted snap peas this summer….

  16. Jara

    Great recipes- easy & low fat – my favorites! I have a family member who is allergic to lemons & limes. What is a good substitute for lemon/lime juice and zest? Should I use vinegar or orange (which he can tolerate)?

    Orange s a great idea, just a little orange juice and zest. ~Elise

  17. Colleen

    Fantastic! I used lime zest (no lemon in the fridge) and it worked really well. This is a really good recipe. And, you really don’t need to use butter – the olive oil works great on its own.

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