Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Frugal Superfoods #1: In Praise of Peas


It's always interesting to see what food will be deemed the next "superfood" and become heavily marketed and highly priced. Right now Goji berries seem to be all the rage and they are staggeringly expensive (over $65 a kilogram around here - crazy!!!)

While I'm sure Goji berries have their merits, there are many humble, inexpensive foods that are extremely nutritious that we seem to overlook. I thought I'd start a little series highlighting some of my favourites in the "frugal superfoods" category. If you have a particular food you'd like to nominate for inclusion in this series, let me know.

I'm kicking things off with a nod to what has to be one of the least valued foods I can think of, considering what a nutritional powerhouse they are! While everyone is busy exonerating the spring asparagus, another spring green vegetable - the pea - is quietly coming into season as well.

Peas have an awful lot going for them: They are very inexpensive year round (I can pick up a 2 kilogram bag of frozen peas for well under $5), they are super convenient (frozen peas can be tossed into soups, stews, and casseroles straight from the freezer with no peeling, chopping or slicing required), and, interestingly enough, they are one of the few vegetables that may be more palatable when purchased frozen than fresh (Bon Appétit magazine has deemed the frozen ones are usually tastier, unless you get fresh ones straight out of the garden). And to top it all off, they are packed with nutrients, too! 

Those unassuming little peas contain an array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and zinc.

As if all that weren't enough, peas also provide generous amounts of protein, fibre, and omega-3 fats, as well as an impressive assortment of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds (some of which are found almost exclusively in peas!)

Don't you think it's time we started appreciating these little green orbs just a little bit more? Now that the warmer weather has arrived, one of my favourite ways to feature peas is in this classic Layered Salad.

Do you have a favourite way to serve peas in the spring and summer?

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  1. Fresh from the garden is our hands down favorite, but I also like to combine them with sliced radishes and/or cauliflower, minced green onion and ranch dressing. I've been looking at creamed peas with bacon recipes lately. Hated creamed peas as a kid, don't know why it seems like a good idea now. Maybe it's the bacon.

    1. Oh, I'm sure it's the bacon :) I think I'm getting a new recipe idea here...peas and ranch dressing sound like a great combo!


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