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10 Fresh, Fun Ways to Use Spring Peas

Spring's a great time to celebrate fresh green flavors, whether straight from the countryside at the farmers market or right there in a neighborhood grocery store. One of the finest indicators that spring's really here is the arrival of fresh peas. Sweet and bright when fresh either in the pod or shelled, they're too often overlooked — or just taken for granted, thanks to their frozen or canned cousins. These 10 creative recipe ideas will cast the humble pea in a new light.

1. Sweet Pea"Mockamole"

No avocados for guacamole? Lots of peas? Problem solved! The combination of sweet peas with traditional Mexican spices like cumin, garlic and chili peppers makes a unique dip for tortilla chips or veggies, and is just the kind of thing that'll have people asking what the secret is. (This is also a prime candidate for making the trendy Avocado Toast.)

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Sweet pea mockamole. Photo by Melissa Goff

2. Stuffed Pea Pods

This appetizer takes the adorable route by stuffing fresh pea pods with a mixture of cream cheese and herbs, with an optional shrimp topping and a garnish of whole peas.

3. Pea and Avocado Salad

Somewhere in between a guacamole and a shrimp salad, this springtime dish pairsthe sweetness of peas with that of shrimp, then mixes them both in with creamy,fresh avocado. Placing the whole salad back into the skin of the avocado makesfor an especially cute presentation.

4. Mushy Peas

A pub staple in Great Britain, mushy peas is a dish not as well-known in the United States. Think of it like mashed potatoes, but with peas. This recipe ramps up the rich, satisfying factor with butter and heavy cream.

5. Green Pea Pesto

This twist on a traditional basil pesto produces a sweeter, denser pasta condiment.(It's great simply spread on crusty bread, too!) Peas take the place of pesto's traditional pine nuts to add a little chunkiness and body to the sauce, while cheese, garlic, lemon juice and fresh basil keep the flavors bright.

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Credit: Irisphoto/Flickr

6. Curried Peas

Look globally for ways to spice up your pea harvest. This Indian-inspired dish marries peas with tomatoes and onions, but the real kicker is the coconut milk,which provides a luxurious background from which the peas' natural sweetness really shines.

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Credit: Naples34102

7. Peas and Pancetta

Italians know the importance of letting great ingredients speak for themselves. Wine and herbs complement the counter balanced main ingredients — peas for their sweetness, pancetta (Italian-style bacon, more or less) for its saltiness.

8. Green Pea Sauce

Peas get combined with onions, garlic, vegetable broth and evaporated milk,then blended until smooth for a creamy, unique condiment. Try it over potatoesor with steak, suggests the recipe author.

9. Cheesy Peas

Sometimes you just want to take the indulgent route, and the fresh bright sweetness of peas can stand up to a rich dish like this. Gooey cheddar and a blend of herbs makes this a luxurious side dish.

10. Pickled Peas

Okay, so you've had plenty of peas already, but you've got plenty leftover? What to do with such an abundance? This tarragon-and-garlic-accented recipe solves your problem, presenting you with a preservation method for pickling your spring peas — perfect for adding to sandwiches, garnishing a Bloody Mary or simply snacking for months to come.

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About Christopher Hassiotis

Loves food, culture, travel and music, and shares that passion by writing about them all. Doesn't understand the big deal about lobster. Will try anything twice. Probably three times, just to make sure.