It can be difficult to think of non-dairy side dishes around the holidays when milk allergies or lactose intolerance are a concern. For Easter, cheesy potatoes and macaroni abound, but over the next couple of weeks, we’ll offer some delcious dairy-free options, including this recipe for fresh herb peas with ham.
Please note that for those of you who are vegan or keeping kosher, there are some great vegan ham options but the peas, herbs, and seasoning are also delicious on their own, no ham required. Particularly if you can get your hands on some fresh peas. Spring is the season for peas, and though I love frozen peas, I was blown away by fresh peas from the pod. They are difficult to find, but CSA’s, farmer’s markets, and co-ops often carry them. Fresh peas are so pleasantly crisp that you can eat them straight from the pod, or just gently boil them for a few minutes for a more tender green.
If peas with ham is doable for your menu, but you are concerned about the ingredients and processing, here are a couple of quick tips:
- Always check the ingredients where milk allergies, other food allergies, or lactose intolerance are a concern. Many brands may contain dairy ingredients in small amounts (see our dairy ingredient list as a guide).
- Nitrate-free and antibiotic-free hams are available, though not always easy to find. Heritage International offers Berkshire Ham that is nitrate-free and ingredient conscience, while Vermont Maple takes it a step further with no antibiotics used. For more options, ask at your local natural food stores. Also, you may have local farms in your area with good options.
Luck enough to have leftovers? For a quick meal post-Easter, stir any leftover peas with ham into brown rice or pasta (regular or gluten-free). This recipe was slightly adapted from www.porkbeinspired.com.
Special Diet Notes: Spring Herb Peas with Ham
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and generally top food allergy-friendly – just use caution when selecting your ham (see notes above).
And don’t feel you need to pass this recipe up if you are vegan, vegetarian, or keeping kosher. Your favorite vegan ham alternative will also taste good, or you can simply omit for a delicious fresh pea side.
- 4 ounces cooked ham, cut into ¼-inch dice (see post above for vegan, vegetarian & kosher option)
- 3 cups peas, fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine cut into 4 to 6 pieces or 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a medium-sized saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes depending on size of peas.
- Drain the peas, reserving 2 tablespoons cooking water. Return the peas and reserved cooking water to saucepan.
- Add the ham, margarine or oil, mint, and tarragon, stirring until everything is combined.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the peas with ham to a serving bowl, and garnish with mint and tarragon sprigs to serve, if desired.