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This Southern Pea Salad is cool, crisp, creamy and packed full of sweet flavors and healthy ingredients! It’s a crowd-pleasing, easy side dish recipe for all of your spring and summer gatherings.

Southern pea salad in a white bowl surrounded by fresh flowers

I kept this pea salad healthy by using plain Greek yogurt and just a little bit of mayo for the dressing. The bright green peas, the yellow bell pepper, the purple onion, and the red pimientos make it colorful and fresh.

Now that the weather is warmer and folks in Virginia have come out of “hibernation,” it’s the season for outdoor picnics and potlucks! I often volunteer to bring a salad or side dish to these gatherings, but I also don’t want to toss together the same old tired lettuce greens with cucumbers and tomatoes. Potlucks are the most fun when we get to taste a variety of different foods!

What’s in Pea Salad?

This simple fresh pea salad is a beautiful fresh take on Spring! It’s a great option for a brunch or party, but it’s also easy enough to serve with some grilled chicken, ham, or pork for an easy weeknight dinner. Trust me — if Keith and all 3 of my boys enjoy the peas in this recipe, you know it’s a keeper!

You’ll need the following ingredients for this salad with green peas:

  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Greek style yogurt
  • Basil
  • Red onion
  • Diced pimiento
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Seasonings: seasoned salt, garlic, sugar and pepper
  • Fresh or frozen peas

How to Make Pea Salad:

This is so simple, friends! Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the peas. Mix well.
  2. Gently stir in the peas and coat them with the dressing.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 3-4 hours. Enjoy!
Overhead shot of pea salad in a white bowl

Can you freeze Pea Salad?

I do not recommend freezing this pea salad. The creamy dressing will not hold up particularly well, and the fresh vegetables will get mushy and soft when thawed.

What to serve with Pea Salad:

Here are a few great options that go nicely with this cold sweet pea salad recipe:

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • If you’re serving a smaller family, cut the ingredients in half. The rest of the instructions remain the same! If you have leftovers, the extra salad will keep fresh in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 days.
  • This is a Pea Salad without Bacon, but you can make a Pea Salad with Bacon by adding cooked, crumbled bacon to the salad just before serving.
  • Make this Pea Salad with Lettuce by serving the creamy pea mixture over a bed of crisp, fresh greens.
  • Make a Pea Salad with Ham by adding diced ham to the salad. This would be a great way to use up those holiday leftovers!
  • This is a pea salad recipe with mayonnaise, but you can substitute additional yogurt or even sour cream for the mayonnaise if you prefer a pea salad with no mayo.
  • Make a pea salad with sour cream by swapping out the Greek yogurt and replacing it with an equal amount of sour cream.

Close up front shot of half a bowl of southern pea salad

Other spring-inspired pea recipes that you might enjoy:

Southern pea salad in a white bowl surrounded by fresh flowers

Southern Pea Salad

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours
Total: 15 minutes
Servings 8 cups (about 16 servings)
Calories 78.6 kcal
This Southern Pea Salad is cool, crisp, creamy and packed full of sweet flavors and healthy ingredients! It’s a crowd-pleasing, easy side dish recipe for all of your spring and summer gatherings. 

Ingredients
  

  • ½ yellow bell pepper finely chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup plain Greek style yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon finely diced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons diced pimiento
  • ½ teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 lbs. shelled fresh peas or 2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen tiny peas, thawed

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except peas. Mix well.
  • Stir in peas until completely coated with dressing.
  • Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 3-4 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Serving a smaller group? You can easily cut the ingredients in half for a smaller portion. The leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days, too!
Want to Prep Ahead? This salad is best if it’s been sitting in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours!
  • This is a Pea Salad without Bacon, but you can make a Pea Salad with Bacon by adding cooked, crumbled bacon to the salad just before serving.
  • Make this Pea Salad with Lettuce by serving the creamy pea mixture over a bed of crisp, fresh greens.
  • Make a Pea Salad with Ham by adding diced ham to the salad. This would be a great way to use up those holiday leftovers!
  • This is a pea salad recipe with mayonnaise, but you can substitute additional yogurt or even sour cream for the mayonnaise if you prefer a pea salad with no mayo.
  • Make a pea salad with sour cream by swapping out the Greek yogurt and replacing it with an equal amount of sour cream.
Recipe adapted from Country Living magazine

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 78.6kcalCarbohydrates: 8.7gProtein: 3.8gFat: 3.4gSaturated Fat: 0.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 3.1mgSodium: 167.3mgPotassium: 97.6mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword: easy side dish, Pea Salad, Pea Salad Recipe
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe for Southern Pea Salad was originally published in April, 2014. It was updated in April, 2017.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

    1. I make mine with cut snap and snow cut snow peas and yellow peppers, red onions, and bacon, I toss with ranch dressing. Easy peasy.

  1. Hi Blair! I’ve never had pea salad before and I love finding new salad ideas for vegetables! Thank you so much for sharing at Best of the Weekend and your photo looks fabulous – pinning! Hope you have a happy Sunday and a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Cindy! It’s definitely the perfect way to eat some spring veggies. 🙂

        1. That’s right, Colleen! The recipe form doesn’t give me an option for “chill” or “refrigerate,” so I just added the 3 hours under “cook time” so that it would show that it’s not a last-minute recipe (I just want to be sure that you allow some refrigeration time). There’s not actually any “cooking” involved. 🙂 Hope that helps, and enjoy!

  2. I didn’t know pea salad was a southern thing, but I do like it. I’ve made one that’s dairy-free. It’s nice to have something that’s healthy and delicious!

    1. Yep — healthy and delicious is important when it comes to veggie side dishes. My family really likes this one! 🙂

  3. I love peas and this salad looks delicious! All the flavors in it, the red onion, basil, pimento, and apple cider vinegar….YUM! Pinning this 😉

  4. Ooooh, I love these kinds of salads! I’m so glad you shared this at Treasure Box Tuesday- pinned and tweeted! 🙂

  5. We love peas, and we all agreed that this was a fantastic tasting pea salad, especially when served with a light meal on a hot summer’s day. Thanks Blair 🙂

    1. Hi, Erin! I think so, although I’ve never made it quite that far in advance. I’d give it a good stir the next day and you should be good to go! Let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear if it works or not. 🙂

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      1. This looks delicious; my mother used to make creamed peas that were just delicious. She never taught me how to make them and, I have never been able to find a recipe for them. Do you have one that I could see?

        1. Hi, Barbara! I’m sorry — I don’t have a recipe for creamed peas. But I love the idea and I’ll add it to my list to try! 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Blair, is it possible to add rice to this? I had a salad similar to this at a family reunion years ago, but no one in my family remembered making it. Please, let me know, if you would!

        Thank you,
        Randall

        1. Hi, Randall! Absolutely, I think rice would be a great addition. Maybe just decrease the peas and substitute rice for some of them so that you keep the other proportions the same. Hope you enjoy!

  7. This sounds a lot like a cold version of a creamed pea recipe my mother used to make when I was a child. I never knew how to make it creamy. Was the yogurt what made this one creamy?

  8. Made this salad and perhaps the frozen (thawed) peas didn’t drain enough or juice from peppers makes it seem runny before refrigerating… any tips? Has this happened to anyone? Idk if it will thicken up at all.

    1. Hi, Ashleigh! I haven’t had that problem, so I’m not sure what the issue might be. The peas definitely need to be well drained, and you want to make sure that you’re using high-quality mayonnaise and thick Greek yogurt (I like Duke’s mayo and Fage brand yogurt). Low-fat or fat-free varieties tend to be more watery, so maybe that was an issue. It’s hard for me to know exactly, but that would be my guess from afar. Hope it still tasted good — even if the dressing was thin! 🙂