Whether it’s mushy peas with fish and chips or crisp green beans in a summery salad, we love a side order of veg with our main meal. But peas and beans can shine on their own too – read on to learn how to make them the stars of your summer meals.
There are over 130 known varieties of green bean, ranging from extra-fine to thicker, robust varieties. Green beans have a fresh, mild flavour and are as good served cold in salads as they are warm. Make them the star of the show in this healthy green bean curry or combine with even more fresh veg for a simple side dish of spring beans, peas and feta.
Runner beans are popular for their crunch, with sweet beans inside their edible pods. To prep runner beans, trim their tough ends, then remove the fibrous string by running a peeler down the edges. Bought too many at once? Preserve runner beans in this speedy piccalilli and stash in the fridge for spooning alongside sandwiches, cold meats and cheeses.
These plump beans have a creamy flavour and grow in large pods. The outer skins of older beans can be tough, so for a sweeter flavour, try ‘double-podding’ by squeezing the bright green beans from their skins. Use to top a summery griddled chicken, broad bean and rocket pizza or bake into mini broad bean and cheddar quiches that are perfect for a picnic.
Edamame beans are young soya beans. They have a nutty flavour and high protein content, and must be cooked before eating. Try adding to a colourful Hawaiian-style smoked salmon poke with mango, radishes and wild rice for a healthy lunch. Edamame beans are also popular in Japanese cooking – make this yaki soba for a speedy 20-minute dinner.
Chances are you have a bag of garden peas in the freezer. Thanks to their sweet flavour and quick cooking time, peas are a family favourite. Recreate a seaside classic and make mushy peas with chips and poppy seed-crusted haddock or let the peas shine in this stylish starter recipe for smashed pea bruschettas.
Translated as ‘little peas’, petit pois are garden peas that have been picked early for a sweet, delicate taste and tender texture, making them another handy freezer staple. Blitz into a light pea and lettuce soup topped with a poached egg or include in these crispy prawn paella cakes.
Mangetout means ‘eat it all’ in French – and that’s exactly what to do with these young, flat pods containing very small young peas. They are delicious both raw or cooked: slice into a green garden salad, simmer in a vegan veggie curry or add to a Chinese beef and vegetable stir-fry.
A larger, sweeter version of mangetout, sugarsnap peas are also eaten whole, raw or steamed. For an easy healthy snack, try these charred sugarsnap peas, cooked until smoky and served with a tangy satay dip. If you need a proper meal fast, this warm halloumi salad with sliced sugarsnaps takes just 10 minutes to make.
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