By now, you’ve heard us wax poetic about the magic of yellow peas, and spit mad facts about their many attributes and assets. These loveable legumes are the foundation of all of ZENB’s entire roster of delicious, gluten-free pasta, and though we admire all plants and their unique superpowers, we think yellow peas are truly the best!
However, we don’t want to give you the wrong idea. Yellow peas aren’t only good for making pasta (though they really are so dang good for that) — they’re no one-trick pony! These protein-packed peas can be used for lots of other culinary dishes. We’re talking versatility, mmkay?
Here are four of our favorite ways to incorporate yellow peas into cooking … besides ZENB pasta, obvs.
Split yellow peas are a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine; in Hindi, they’re called Toor dal, as dal is the term used to broadly refer to all pulses. There are a lot of ways that yellow peas are used in Indian dishes. There are very simple dal recipes, where yellow peas are simmered with spices and salt, then seasoned with spiced, sauteed onions.
Some dal recipes are more elaborate; Tamatar Chana Dal, for example, where the yellow peas are cooked down with cubed potatoes, and then flavored with chopped tomatoes and smoky, toasted chiles and spices. Dal Saag is a rustic dish where the yellow peas are cooked until very soft and creamy, then tomatoes, spinach, and an array of spices and aromatics are added.
Much like the umbrella term of “curries,” there are so many kinds of dal and methods to make them, and which you choose is totally up to your taste and preference.
Split pea soup is a well-known comfort-food dish across the world. Lots of countries and cultures have their own versions: the Pie Floater in Australia (which has an entire meat pie for a garnish); Québec’s soupe aux pois, made with yellow peas, salt pork, and herbs; Swedish ärtsoppa, served with mustard and dried herbs on the side; and London Particular, a thick yellow pea soup served in Britain and Ireland, named after London’s famous thick yellow smog (from back in the day before the Clean Air Act). That’s just to name a few!
Split peas, both the yellow and green varieties, lend such a creamy starchiness to soups as they cook and break down. Plus, they’re so nutrient-dense, it’s no wonder that they are a cornerstone of this hearty peasant food.
Lots of things can be fritter-ified, that is, basically formed into patties and fried until crispy and golden. Perhaps you’ve had black bean or chickpea fritters, and guess what? Yellow peas make a tasty fritter, too.
There is an Indian version, paruppu vadai, which often includes onions, carrots, chiles, curry leaves, and cumin seeds. But you can make them all kinds of ways: with the cooked peas left intact or pureed; with onions, garlic, and herbs; with an egg or flax egg for extra binding power; or add other seeds and spices, like sesame seeds, paprika, fennel seeds, and zaatar.
You’ve got to give it up to Greek food: From messy gyro to thick Greek yogurt to addictive salads showered with olives, feta, and other goodies, this ancient island’s cuisine is always fire. One slightly more obscure Greek dish that should be incorporated into your repertoire ASAP is favosalata.
Favosalata is a hummus-adjacent dip that’s made from cooked yellow peas (simmered with broth for a bit more flavor), pureed in a blender or food processor with water, salt, olive oil, garlic, and turmeric. There are lots of ingredients you can add to boost the flavor, like black garlic, feta, tomatoes, olives, red onion, and white wine.
Serve this fabulous plant-based dip with flatbread, crackers, or raw veggies for a delightful, globally inspired snack.
Prefer your yellow peas in ZENB pasta form? We’ve got plenty of that in our epic recipe collection! For more cooking tips and kitchen advice, check out the ZENB blog, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.