This snap peas recipe is the type of side dish that would sell me on a whole dish if I were at a restaurant. Steak, fish, pork? It doesn’t matter if I have these snap peas on my plate. They are intensely flavorful with just a few simple, but bold ingredients. You probably have the seasoning ingredients on hand right now. They have a bit of bite from garlic and crushed red pepper; lemon zest and juice provides a tart, fresh zing; and the umami packed pecorino cheese brings it all together.
Like a snack food that will remain nameless, once you pop one of these babies you won’t be able to stop. This recipe can probably stretch to six, but two hungry people could certainly polish off a dish. And honestly, it would make a very satisfying vegetarian meal paired with some rice or other whole grain.
You can also serve this dish warm or cold, so it makes a great dish to bring to a pot luck or BBQ. I like this dish a bit better cold and Sean likes it better warm, so there’s no wrong option.
About Snap Peas
I love snap peas, but find that they are best early in the season when they are the most tender. I like them much more than snow peas which are a little more bitter and less crunchy than a snap pea. Snow peas are a little too floppy, in my opinion. The key to a great snap pea experience is to trim the stem and peel off the woody string that runs along the back of the snap pea.
You can use your fingers to snap the stem and pull the string off, but I find that gets fiddly. I like using some kitchen shears to nick them and then pull off the stem from there. Do all of the nicking first and then pull the stems for the most efficient use of your prep time. Check out this quick Instagram video posted below to see how I do it. (And hey, give me a follow there, too!)
- Shop: Carbon Steel Wok
Charred Lemon Garlic Snap Peas
- 1 lemon zest & juice
- 1 clove garlic grated or minced very finely
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional; see note
- 2 tsp neutral oil (canola, vegetable, or light olive oil)
- 1 lb sugar snap peas trimmed and peeled of string
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pecorino cheese grated; heaping tablespoons
- Zest and grate the garlic straight into the bottom of a large bowl that's big enough to easily toss the snap peas once they are cooked. Add the crushed red pepper to the bowl.
- Heat a large wok or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the pan starts smoking. Add 1 tsp neutral oil and half of the snap peas. Cook, tossing constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula, until the snap peas are well charred and have softened. This will take about 3-5 minutes depending on how hot you have the pan. Remove to the bowl.Repeat this process with the second half of the snap peas adding 1 more tsp of oil. Remove to the bowl.
- Toss the snap peas well with the seasoning plus 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Toss or mix until the snap peas are evenly coated with seasoning and there are no large clumps of garlic or lemon zest. Then add the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss again to coat.
- You can serve these warm or cold. If you are serving them warm, toss in grated pecorino cheese and serve.If you are serving them cold, refrigerate until you are ready to eat then toss with the pecorino cheese before serving.In either scenario, an extra little drizzle of olive oil and some flaky salt sprinkled on top would be a nice, but optional addition.
- If you don’t like spice, don’t add the crushed red pepper. The garlic still adds a nice bite to the dish.
- Shop: Cast Iron Skillet
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