Sugar Snap Pea Salad is an explosion of colors, flavors, and textures: sweet and snappy sugar snap peas, cool and refreshing cucumbers, earthy red bell peppers, pungent red onions, and citrusy mandarin oranges. Toss it in a homemade sesame soy dressing for a simple yet bold taste.
The hearty ingredients make it perfect to pack for a barbecue, picnic, or as a quick side dish for lunch or dinner.
The Sesame Soy Dressing
I wanted the dressing to be a strong contrast to the bright vegetables. Equal parts soy sauce, rice vinegar, and vegetable oil create a lightly emulsified dressing that’s not too heavy or overpowering. Some honey helps to balance the savory and tangy notes. Freshly grated ginger and minced garlic adds pungency.
What are Snap Peas?
Level up your typical salad repertoire with sugar snap peas. Snap peas are a type of legume, also known as sugar snap peas for their undeniable lingering sweetness and super crispy bite. The rounded, thick outer pod is smooth and bright green in color.
Peel them back to reveal little spherical peas inside. What’s great about this vegetable is you can enjoy them raw or give them a quick blanch. Plus, you can eat them whole—no peeling required. For a pretty presentation, I like to halve a few to place on top of the salad, revealing the peas inside the pod.
Sugar Snap Pea Salad: Substitutions
Sugar snap peas can typically be found in the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store. There are many vegetable and other ingredient options that will be just as delicious.
- Snow peas can be used. They have a similar crunch but are flatter in shape and less sweet. Snow peas have a tough outer string that is easy to remove: Break the stem end off and the string will pull off.
- Other vegetables that can be added or swapped are shredded carrots, purple cabbage, and orange or yellow bell peppers.
- To make the recipe gluten-free, use coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari instead of the soy sauce.
- Instead of honey use sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or pure maple syrup.
- Any neutral cooking oil can be used for the dressing like avocado, grapeseed, peanut, vegetable, safflower, or canola oil.
Ways to Serve Sugar Snap Pea Salad
Serve Sugar Snap Pea Salad as a side dish with baked salmon, grilled chicken, shrimp, beef, or tofu, for a vegetarian alternative. Slice or chop chicken or steak into bite-sized pieces to toss with the salad for a more filling standalone dish.
This would also be a nice lower carb complement to sides like a rustic potato salad, steamed rice, or cauliflower rice.
Planning Ahead and Storage
The salad can be made up to three days in advance. Leftovers can also be refrigerated for up to three days. This gives the vegetables time to marinate in the dressing, infusing more flavor into each piece of vegetable. It actually tastes better over time! Just make sure to toss everything together again before serving.
The dressing can be stored separately, two days ahead of time, then whisked again right before tossing with the salad to ensure the dressing is emulsified.
More Quick and Easy Salads
Sugar Snap Pea Salad
For the salad
14 ounces (4 cups) sugar snap peas
1/2 large English cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and cut into 1/8-inch slices
3/4 cups canned mandarin orange segments, drained
1 small red onion, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
For the dressing
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil
Combine vegetables and fruit:
In a large bowl, add the sugar snap peas, cucumber, bell pepper, mandarin oranges, and red onion. Set it aside, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it if not serving immediately.
Make the dressing:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the sesame oil and peanut oil, whisking constantly until fully combined.
Assemble and serve:
Drizzle about three quarters of the dressing over the salad and toss with a large spoon to combine. Garnish with the sesame seeds. Serve the remaining dressing on the side. This salad tastes even better after the vegetables get a chance to soak up the dressing a bit, about 30 minutes to 1 hour, in the fridge.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 17g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|Total Sugars 12g|
|Vitamin C 96mg||478%|
|*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.|