Classic Pea Salad is a traditional American dish known for its simplicity, vibrant color, and comforting flavors. This salad typically features sweet green peas as the star ingredient. The peas are often used frozen, then thawed to retain their bright green color and fresh taste. However, in some recipes, canned peas may be used for convenience.
The peas are mixed with a variety of other ingredients that add texture and richness. Common additions include crispy, chopped bacon, which provides a smoky, savory depth to the dish. Diced red onion is also a staple, offering a sharp contrast in both flavor and color. Cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes, adds a creamy and slightly tangy element that complements the sweetness of the peas.
One of the distinctive features of Classic Pea Salad is the dressing. A creamy dressing, often made from a blend of mayonnaise and sour cream, is the usual choice. This dressing is seasoned with a touch of vinegar or lemon juice for acidity, and sometimes sugar, salt, and pepper for balance. The dressing coats the peas and other ingredients lightly, ensuring each bite is flavorful but not overly heavy.
For added crunch and variety, some recipes include chopped hard-boiled eggs or celery. Fresh herbs like dill or parsley can also be sprinkled on top for a burst of freshness and color.
This salad is typically served chilled, making it a refreshing side dish, especially in the warmer months. It’s a popular choice for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues due to its ease of preparation and its ability to be made ahead of time. The flavors of the Classic Pea Salad meld beautifully as it sits, making it even more delicious after a few hours in the refrigerator.
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste as needed
- 4 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, cubed small
How To Make Classic Pea Salad
- In a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and salt until combined.
- Add peas, bacon, onion, and cheese to bowl and gently stir to coat in dressing.
- Chill until ready to serve, but at least 1 hour. Garnish with more crispy bacon if desired before serving. Enjoy!