Cold Pea Salad

You can make this salad ahead of time on the day you want to serve it, but add the almonds at the last minute. The salad is still good the next day but it's best served on the day you make it.

You can substitute tamari almonds for the smokehouse almonds, in which case, you do not need to rinse them.

Wonderful served with sliced tomato and avocado and chicken for lunch.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 16-ounces frozen petite peas (do not thaw)
  • 6 ounces smokehouse almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 8 ounces chopped water chestnuts
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1 Remove the excess salt and chop the almonds: In a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water, rinse the almonds to remove the excess salt. Spread between 2 paper towel layers and pat dry. Spread on a cutting board, and coarsely chop with a large knife.

2 Combine the salad ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the peas, scallions, and water chestnuts to the bowl.

Gently fold the salad into the mayonnaise dressing. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3 Add the almonds: Just before serving, stir in the chopped almonds.


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  • Karen

    Just made this with fresh peas from our farmers’ market and took it to a dinner with friends. It got rave reviews from everyone!


  • maia

    I used roasted unsalted peanuts instead of almonds because of the price of almonds, and the peanuts were fantastic in this salad. This salad of yours is much better than the one my mom used to make, mostly because she used mushy canned peas (and little Velveeta cubes). She insisted on calling it Pea Cheese Salad because when anyone just said Pea Salad, we would all snicker.

  • JUDI

    I’m wondering about the mayo – 2/3 cups seems like a lot! Plan to make this week and will adjust to taste and texture.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Judi! Emma here, managing editor. The amount of mayo in this recipe is correct, however you can use less if you prefer. Enjoy!

  • Julie

    One of my favorite BBQ side dishes, I make it all the time. I make it according to the directions, adding a little more green onions if I feel like it. Fantastic!


  • Michael Zubitis

    Made and served this salad for a family reunion last Sunday. Everyone raved about it and wanted to know where I got the recipe; I’m sure they will be looking this site up.

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes you post!

  • Laura

    I shake the peas in a colander after letting them sit out for 30 minutes or so to get rid of excess ice/liquid. I use half mayo and half Greek yogurt instead of 100% mayo. Shake the nuts in a colander rather than rinsing to get rid of excess salt and do not add additional salt. (I am confused as to why you would rinse the nuts and then add salt.) Anything crunchy can be substituted for water chestnuts if you do not have any on hand like apple as others have suggested or celery. Best eaten immediately IMO. DELICIOUS!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laura, sounds great! BTW, we rinse the nuts because they are literally covered with salt. By adding back salt you can more easily control the amount of salt in the recipe.

      • Laurs

        I understand. My appologies for questioning your methods. I was just trying to simplify the process. LOVE your site!

  • Melody

    Made this today with apple and freshly blanched peas from the garden. It’s a keeper! Wonderful flavors and texture. Chopped cooked hard boiled egg might be a nice addition as well….

  • Angelique

    I tried to replace the water chestnuts by an apple, it works well and it is delicious. I make this salad every week!! Thank you!

  • Mary

    This is the salad I bring every year to July 4th community pool party. Great make ahead dish and so easy!


  • Good Thyme Girl (Carel)

    I made it. No one commented, BUT NOT A PEA WAS LEFT IN THE BOWL!. This will become a staple, an “ingredients in my head” recipe that I can make any time. I used garam masala, but next time I’ll try Chinese roasted sesame oil…

  • artedna

    This is delicious! I’ve made it numerous times and it’s always a hit! I normally sub the mayo with plain yogurt. The last time I made it I added english cucumber instead of waterchesnuts and some fresh mint and it was amazing!

  • Katrina Soto

    I have served this twice (and there’s some in the fridge ready for tonight, so that’ll be three). This is an amazing, delicious salad. Took it to a potluck and was told by one diner it was the best thing at the whole party (and there was some pretty darned good food there!) First time, served it to neighbors, one of whom had NEVER (!) had pea salad (can you imagine?), which made me a bit nervous, and she loved it and had seconds!! Called me the next day to rave about it! She’s a gourmet cook, may I add. When I took it to the pot luck, I spread it out in a pretty glass oblong dish, sprinkled the almonds on top, and then just mixed them in immediately prior to serving. This is a perfect dish, and IMHO, should not be messed with one bit.

  • Lisa

    I made this tonight with a few changes. Added 4 slices of bacon, cooked till almost crisp and then added onion and garlic. Cooked until onions and garlic were slightly soft. Added raw white onion instead of green and subbed half of the mayo with sour cream. Also used a bit of cumin with the curry. It was divine and the whole fam loved it.


  • Sarah V.

    Wow… Made this salad for lunch today, and holy balls is it good! I haven’t been able to find the water chestnuts yet, but it was still pretty excellent. I halved the recipe because it’s just me, and I used tamari almonds instead of smokehouse. Oh, and I added a little squeeze of lime juice to brighten it a little (mostly because I like lime).

    Thanks for something really delicious!

  • Sarah V.

    This might be a stupid question but… water chestnuts: should I be looking for those fresh or canned? I’ve eaten them but never cooked with them.

    Great question! You should look for them canned. ~Elise

  • Shandy

    This is so amazing and simple. Sometimes I nuke the peas for a couple minutes just to help them defrost a bit–I watch them because I don’t want them to completely defrost. I have also just used the slivered almonds from TJs and it is still good. I could eat the whole bowl.

  • FayeD

    Yummy recipe! No water chestnuts on hand, but since some had suggested adding a sweet flavor, I used diced pink lady apples. Worked great! I increased the curry powder (by a lot) to suit our tastes. Maybe that is why some have not found it flavorful enough – they need more curry? I also did not rinse the almonds but did not add any additional salt. I can see how it could easily be too salty so maybe rinse some but not all. And I used fat free mayo and no one could taste a differnce. Definitely a hit and I’m looking forward to making this many times.

  • Nelson

    Made some curry for this…delicious!

  • Spreeng

    Question – What about the extra water from the frozen peas? Should it be drained off? I really want to make this dish!

    Yes, drain off any excess water. ~Elise

  • Melinda G.

    It was an Simply Recipes Salad Weekend! Besides making the Napa Cabbage Salad for a party (which was incredible btw), I also made up a batch of Cold Pea Salad to munch on over the weekend. Again, I substituted soyanaise for the mayo. It was SO yummy. I would always use fresh water chestnuts if you can get them – much more crunch! Thanks for another winner Elise!!

  • Alyson

    I’m from Hawaii and this recipe has been in my family for years, it came out of a local cookbook there. And it is quite similar to the “cruncy pea salad” at a local restaurant; Ryan’s. So if you are ever in Honolulu, go to Ward Center and eat the Crunchy pea salad at Ryan’s. Mmm, mmm, good! Oh, yeah, my hubby doesn’t like veggies or almonds, but he loves this salad.

  • anna

    Inspired by your salad with the idea of using what you have, I used pesto rather than mayo and skipped the curry. I knew I would find good dinner options for this hot evening.

  • michele

    I have eaten this salad for years but also make it a little different. You put in what you love in my case bacon,pickles and sunflower seeds. YumO

  • Valerie

    If I use Blue Diamond brand too, do I need to rinse the almonds? I hate to wash away the smokey flavor, and instead of rinsing I won’t add salt.

    Do as you wish. Personally, I find the Blue Diamond almonds much too salty as is. ~Elise

  • Kelly

    I made this salad for a 3 day camping festival over labor day. I converted the recipe for 150 people and used planters smoked almonds (not rinsed.) It didn’t have as much smokey flavor as when I used diamond almonds but was salty enough. I have to say…this was by far the hit of a 3 day party where a myriad of cooks do the meals. People raved about this salad and I had so many requests for the recipe that I finally just posted it in the dining hall. I loved the ease of prep for 150 servings. I used 25lbs of peas, 12 large (10 oz) cans of planters smoked almonds, about a dozen red onions, 1 gallon of mayo, 20 cans of water chestnuts, and 1 cup of penzey’s sweet curry powder and I eyeballed salt and pepper to taste. It was gone in a flash! Excellent easy recipe to use for a crowd


  • Kristy

    This is fantastic! It is interesting, unusual, and addictive. Because I didn’t use the smokehouse brand of almonds, they weren’t as salty and didn’t need to be rinsed. Otherwise, I followed the recipe just as written and it is delicious!

  • Katie

    OH My this was gorgeous.I have made it twice.. I used low fat mayo and less then called for.. kept the curry powder the same. Everyone at our party LOVED it and we had to have it again this week. Thanks!

  • Wally

    It sounded good on paper, but I made it and was not impressed. Maybe I can mix the rest with pasta as suggested above and make it palatable.

  • Marcia

    Very cool for these dog days of summer. Husband, who loves peas, thought outstanding. Made exactly as written. Nicely complex flavors that paired well with plain grilled chicken.

  • Jeana

    This was awesome! The only thing I did differently was to use Miracle Whip instead of mayo; I think it gave it a little extra something (and less fat). Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  • Angela

    Thank you for posting this recipe, it was delicious, and I think the fact that the peas are frozen & not fresh is the best part!
    I also added tuna and used fat-free mayo, in an effort to lighten it up a bit =)

  • Claudine

    I added cooked rotini pasta, a TBSP of apple cider vinegar and a handful of chopped mint leaves to this recipe to make it a bit more kid friendly. The mint nicely complimented the fresh flavor of the peas and spice of the curry powder.

  • laura

    Just have to say I wasn’t too sure about this in the beginning, but my boyfriend wanted to try it, so we did. I have to say it was shockingly delicious. I would recommend this to anyone who would try it. The curry is addicting.

  • Sara

    I just made this and liked it, but felt it was missing some dimension. I was thinking it needed something sour, but Steph, I think you’re right on with the raisins. I’ll have to toss some in the leftovers with my lunch tomorrow.

  • sjayne

    I just made this tonight and it was delicious! I did change a few things for the tastes in my house (no water chestnuts & 1/2 the amount of mayo) – regardless this is fantastic, easy and different – YUM!

  • Steph

    I made this the other night when I needed a quick “green side” to add to my dinner. My boyfriend LOVED it. The crunch was most excellent. My only addition was to toss in some raisins (since his philosophy is that everything is better with raisins), which added another delicious flavor dimension.

  • Mike

    You could try Garam Masala as a replacement for the curry powder. It would have more of a cinnamon/cardamom flavor, but still retain some of the sweetness.

  • Allyn

    Could I replace the yellow curry powder with another spice? I would love to try this, but my husband swears he’s allergic to curry so I’m not willing to chance it. Thanks!

  • Dawn

    I don’t like curry — what seasoning could I use instead? Thanks!

  • Madison Fan

    Try this with peanuts instead of almonds OR for something truly spicy use Trader Joe’s Thai Chili Lime peanuts or cashews. Yum!

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Preeta – The brand I used was Blue Diamond, but this would probably work with any smoked almonds.

  • Preeta

    Oh my, this looks so, so delicious, particularly to someone who eats frozen peas straight out of the bag as a snack! The picture is lovely, too — those colours go so well together! One question: do you use a particular brand of smoked almonds, or buy them from a particular store?

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Betty and Pamela – You use frozen peas so that they won’t mush up as you are mixing together the salad, and it’s supposed to be a cold salad. If it is used as a picnic salad, then it helps to have frozen peas because the salad will stay cold.

  • Jaden Hair

    Holy Smokey Almonds! I just made this just now as my…um….after dinner before dessert snack. I don’t know how many servings this was supposed to be, but I ate half of it myself. Its so addictive. I’ll prob have the last half for bfast!

  • Pamela

    Why are you using frozen peas? I bet this would be fabulous with fresh shelled peas, especially at this time of the year. This salad does sound awesome and I think I am going to try it with fresh…

  • Betty

    You don’t thaw the peas? Surely you aren’t eating the peas frozen. Do you wait long enough for them to thaw out in order to give the flavors time to meld?