What is life without good food? Inspired by home cooking and travel, I create easy recipes for the everyday.
I don't like canned peas. Compared to their bright green fresh counterparts, canned peas are dull in colour, mushy and lacking in that sweet flavour. But I still find myself picking them up in supermarkets, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic. Although they are not as nutritionally dense as fresh or frozen, canned peas still pack a punch. But while they work well in stews and curries, on their own, they are all too uninspiring.
While flicking through my recipe books, I came across Jamie Oliver's 'Braised peas with spring onion and lettuce' from his book, Cook with Jamie. It was as if a lightbulb had lit up over my head. "This is how I'm going to make canned peas taste good," I thought.
I ought to warn you that this recipe will probably not produce the best braised peas you have ever tried—for that, you should try Jamie Oliver's recipe. But it is a way of making tinned peas taste good. It is a useful store-cupboard recipe to use leftovers. It is also great when you can't get fresh or frozen peas.
My Alterations and Substitutions
- Cooking fat: Jamie Oliver's original recipe calls for butter, but I don't have any and I wanted to keep this vegan, so I used some good quality olive oil I have in my cupboard.
- Liquids: It also calls for vegetable or chicken stock, but the water from the can has a lot of flavour that would otherwise go to waste, so I use this instead. It is also the perfect amount of liquid to cook the peas in.
- Onions: Spring onions (or scallions) provide a sharp depth of flavour in Oliver's recipe, but I don't have any. Instead, I use some white onion scraps I have saved from other meals.
- Lettuce: The original recipe calls for little gem lettuce, which would be delicious if I had it. I do have a few scraps of leftover salad lettuce and spinach, so I throw them into my pan.
- Seasonings: Finally, I season with a generous pinch of salt, black pepper, some dried thyme and a teaspoon of lemon juice.
As well as making an unloved ingredient tasty, this recipe is about using what you have to hand and making the most of leftovers. You can easily swap most of the ingredients for something similar. Instead of lemon juice, you can use a light vinegar to brighten the dish. Thyme can be swapped for parsley or mint or left out altogether. Darker leafy greens like kale or cabbage can replace lettuce and spinach. If you want to make this dish a little more exciting, you can swap the lemon for lime and the pepper for chilli flakes. If you're feeling fancy, add a little white wine to the braising liquid. I would also like to try a 'darker' version of this dish, using a dash of malt vinegar and some Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. How about an Asian-inspired version with pak choi, rice wine vinegar, ginger and soy sauce?
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Approximately 4 portions
- 1 (290 grams / 10.2 oz) tin garden peas in water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, mint, or parsley
- 10 grams / 0.4 oz (approximately) scraps of white onion, spring onion, or leek, finely chopped
- 20 grams / 0.4 oz (approximately) scraps of leafy green such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, or pak choi, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon cornflour or cornstarch
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Slowly heat olive oil in a pan.
- Add the cornflour, stirring continuously to ensure that no lumps form.
- Partly open your can of peas so that the liquid can 'escape' but not the peas. Pour out the water from the can into the pan with the oil and flour.
- Stir to mix the stock with the flour and oil.
- Turn up the heat and add your peas, onion and leafy green scraps, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, herb and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- Cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Taste and correct your seasoning if necessary.
- Serve up!
I serve these vegan braised peas as a tasty side dish in my British Sunday roast. They are also delicious dolloped on mashed potato alongside a pie, or added to a risotto.
More Store Cupboard Recipes
- Store Cupboard Briam: Briam (otherwise known as Greek ratatouille) is a tasty dish of roasted vegetables and wine. This version is made from ingredients in your pantry.
What do you think of this recipe?
© 2020 Kathryn Worthington
Kathryn Worthington (author) from Oxford, UK on April 17, 2020:
Thanks Lisa Jane! Canned peas are the only ones we can get at the moment, so I needed to come up with something to make them taste good! I really hope you find this recipe useful.
Lisa Jane from Maine on April 17, 2020:
This sounds like a recipe that I need to try. We have tons of canned peas. Great article.