Snow Peas with Asian Peanut Butter Dip

Why snow peas? Their sweet crunch appeals to tiny (and grown-up) palates, they have a fun shape that's easy to handle, and kids can participate in the preparation. Also, kids tend to like their veggies raw, and snow peas stay crunchy even when cooked. If your children take a liking to them, you can substitute snow peas in any recipe that calls for regular cooked peas. Or, simply sauté them in a little butter, stirring occasionally, until they're bright green, about 3 minutes. Sticking with raw? They're perfectly shaped for dipping in peanut butter, sour cream, or cream cheese.

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 15 minutes

Ingredients

    1/2 lb. fresh snow peas
    1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
    1/4 cup honey
    3 tbsps. soy sauce
    2 tbsps. rice vinegar
    1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
    1 chopped scallion (optional)

Directions (for Mom and Kid)

  1. Child: Rinse the snow peas in a colander, then snap off both ends of the pod. (Larger snow peas may need to be "stringed": When you snap off the stem end, if it remains attached to the pea by a "string," just pull to remove.)
  2. Mom: Measure out the ingredients.
  3. Child: Dump all ingredients (except scallions) into a food processor or blender and hit blend button (parent supervised) until smooth.
  4. Mom and Child: Transfer dip to a bowl and sprinkle with scallions.

Nutritional Information
Per Serving (1/4 cup dip): 315 Calories, 12g Protein, 30g Carbs, 4g Fiber, 7g Sugar, 18g Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 863mg Sodium, 0mg Cholesterol.

What's Good for You
Believe it or not, a mere 1/2 cup of snow peas completely covers your child's daily vitamin C needs — it contains 118% of the U.S. recommended daily allowance.

Fun Facts
Snow peas are technically fruits. Pea plants blossom before producing peas; once the petals fall off, the flowers' ovaries swell until they become the pods we recognize.

Snow peas and sugar snap peas are actually two different things. Snow peas have flat pods with small, undeveloped flat peas. Sugar snaps, which are plump with fully developed peas and edible pods, are a cross between English peas and snow peas. In French, both peas are called mange-tout (pronounced mawnzh too), meaning "eat it all."

Snow peas' curly tendrils, which look like pigs' tails, act as the plant's arms, reaching up and grabbing hold of nearby plants or a trellis for support. The tendrils are also tasty — toss them in a salad or add to a sandwich (like sprouts).

Where did snow peas get their name? Some say it's because they sprout very early in the spring and occasionally get caught in a late spring snowstorm.

Grow Your Own
If our serving suggestion doesn't get your kids hooked, we've got plenty of other tactics for piquing their interest in this veggie.

1. Soak snow pea seeds (available at burpee.com) in water overnight.

2. Fill a couple of 6- to 7-inch flowerpots with potting soil, then plant a few seeds in each pot, pushing the seeds about an inch down into the soil. Poke a long straw or a straight stick into the soil, as peas require trellising (a longer stake may be needed as the plant grows taller).

3. Have your child water the seeds every other day, and in about two weeks, you'll see the little green points of the first leaves pushing up.

4. As the weeks pass, watch for stemlike shoots and then the trademark corkscrew tendrils.

5. Once the pods start growing o­ the vine, check them daily, picking them as soon as they're big enough to eat (anywhere from 2 to 4 inches) but still flat.

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