Seared Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are seared quickly in olive oil to retain their crunch. They get an extra burst of flavor from green onions, mint, lemon zest and black pepper.

Seared Sugar Snap Peas
Elise Bauer

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.

Sugar Snap Peas
Elise Bauer

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.

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.

Seared Sugar Snap Peas

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

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.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed

  • 3 to 4 scallions or green onions, sliced on the diagonal

  • Kosher salt

  • Pinch sugar

  • Zest from 1 lemon

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Lemon juice, to taste


  1. Sauté sugar peas:

    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 to 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 green onions and sugar:

    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, add seasonings:

    Mix in the lemon zest and mint, then add black pepper and lemon juice to taste:

    Serve at once.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
97 Calories
5g Fat
12g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 97
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 59mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 58mg 290%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 304mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.