Spring Fever has officially hit. Mulch is in the air, mini-skirts are on the streets, and farmers’ markets are in full bloom.

I couldn’t resist these brilliant green sugar snap peas the other day. Sweet, crunchy, and juicy, I’ve even been chomping on them raw. Grassy and tender, they taste like pure Spring.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad // lickmyspoon.com

Snap peas are a cross between snow peas and garden peas. Like the snow pea, the pods are edible; like the garden pea, the pods are round rather than flat. When sugar snap peas are young and in-season like they are now, you don’t even need to “de-string” them (removing that pesky fibrous strand that runs lengthwise from tip to tip), making them perfect for an easy, light salad.

Snap Pea Prep // lickmyspoon.com

I blanched the snap peas first for a few minutes before shocking them in an ice bath. This made them tender but still delightfully crunchy. For texture, I shelled half of them, popping out the little round peas, and then julienned the empty pods into matchsticks. The remaining half of the snap peas I left whole, although, you could certainly continue slicing up the whole bunch.

Snap Pea Prep // lickmyspoon.com

To the sugar snap peas, I added a handful of refreshing mint, toasted almonds, and sweet caramelized onions. The dish is finished off with a simple, brightly acidic vinaigrette of lemon, rice vinegar, and olive oil.

Onion to be caramelized // lickmyspoon.com

This vibrant, fresh green salad is an interesting alternative to your normal leafy salad. It would also make a great substitution for coleslaw given all the crunchy textures.

Snap Pea Prep // lickmyspoon.com

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Mint, Almonds, and Caramelized Onions

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

A perfect spring salad of tender sugar snap peas, refreshing mint, toasted almonds, and caramelized onions.


  • 1 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion into half moon slivers. Allow to caramelize over medium-high heat in an oiled sautee pan (about 25 minutes).
  3. Wash the sugar snap peas and de-string them if necessary, snapping the tip and removing the fibrous strand running lengthwise. If the snap peas are young though, you won't have to do this. Drop the sugar snap peas into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes, then strain out and drop them into an ice bath.
  4. Once the snap peas are cooled, strain them out and place half of them in a large bowl. Shell the other half, adding the peas to the bowl. Julienne the remaining pod shells lengthwise and add to the bowl.
  5. Roughly chop the mint leaves. Toast and roughly chop the almonds. Add mint, almonds, and caramelized onions to the bowl.
  6. Mix together the rice vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and drizzle over the salad. Toss well, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

This post was published on KQED’s Bay Area Bites on April 15, 2011.