Pea Salad with red onions and cheese is a quintessential recipe for spring and summer with its creamy texture and taste. And talk about an easy and colorful salad recipe!
If you can mix, you can make, which means this classic pea salad is done in mere minutes to free you up for summer fun.
Why you should make Pea Salad!
Not that you would know it by the temperature outside in most of America, but summer IS on its way. That means tons of time at the beach, parks, picnics – which also means plenty of hungry friends and family.
This delicious summer salad dish is so creamy that it’s a perfect combination with bacon, red onions, and cheese that will have your guests begging for more. Always on the table in the south, this refreshing salad recipe is the one you grew up with; flavorful and easy to indulge.
Plus you won’t believe how easy it is to make! With no baking or cooking needed, this simple salad can be ready to walk out the door quite quickly.
Separately these ingredients are delicious but together they make a perfect side dish that will complement all your upcoming meals!
This cold dish is fantastic to be served with fried chicken, BBQ, grilled meats, or even just have in a bowl as a main dish (which is what I do).
- frozen peas – Frozen peas hold up texture (unlike canned peas). Simply remove from freezer and let thaw then drain excess moisture before using in salad.
- bacon – Bacon should be cooked through before adding to salad. In quick cases its fine to use pre-made bacon (think microwave bacon).
- cheese – shredded cheddar cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese work the best in this salad. Many people prefer CHUNKS of cheddar cheese and that is a style choice that is fine.
- diced red onion – Red onion is a fairly strong ingredient. If you like red onion but do not want it to overpower the pea salad, soak red onion pieces in cold water for up to 30 minutes, drain, dry, and then add to salad.
- salt and pepper
- bacon bits – Totally optional, but bacon bits can be added on top for additional crunch and presentation.
How to make Pea Salad with Cheese
- In a large mixing bowl combine thawed peas, bacon, onions, both kinds of shredded cheese, mayonnaise and mix well so that all your ingredients are covered.
- Season with salt and black pepper and mix a few more times, adding a dash here or there to make sure you get full coverage of your spices.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to make sure flavors and creamy homemade dressing blend and are cold upon serving.
- Mix green pea salad well one more time before dishing out.
Transferring cold food for Potlucks
Taking this salad (or any of my salad recipes) on the go? Make sure your food stays super cold in the heat by using a Thermo carrier that protects hot and cold dishes.
Yes, it’s best to thaw frozen pieces to remove excess moisture in the salad. We tend to leave the frozen bag in the fridge the day before we have to make the salad. However, if you need to make the salad immediately simply remove peas from the bag and rinse with cold water until defrosted.
Pea salad is one of my favorite recipes so I would say it only lasts a day! But this flavorful salad can be stored and eaten for up to 3 days (as with most foods) in the fridge. Because of the shelf life, it’s fine to make a day ahead of time to serve.
Old fashioned pea salad can be stored for quite a few days just fine in the fridge. Seal in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If pea salad is a little dry from the cold, add in a bit of mayo (a little at a time) till creamier consistency. Please note that any bacon in the salad will likely go soft in the salad.
Can canned peas be used in pea salad?
No. You do not want to use canned peas in this salad.
Frozen peas are simply blanched and canned peas are typically soaked in water and are too soft for a servable salad. Save canned peas for other side dish recipes.
Cooking Bacon is Easy
- Try adding more bacon, cut up tomatoes, green onions, or even make your pea salad with boiled eggs (English Pea Salad).
- Substitute bacon with turkey bacon.
- Add in ham our creamy ham and pea salad recipe does.
- You can make pea salad with pasta too!
- Make it Vegetarian: Just remove the bacon!
- Change up the cheese: Add chunks of cheddar cheese (over shredded) or if you are the adventurous type when it comes to altering classic recipes, change up for a more unique cheese like blue cheese, goat cheese, or feta cheese.
Related Summer Salad Recipes
- Looking for a complimentary fruit salad to take with you? Try Old Fashioned Ambrosia Salad – just like grandma used to make!
- Or if you need your salad a little more savory, I love this Amish Macaroni Salad.
- You can always go with old food staples like cucumber feta tomato salad (which is so fresh and light) or favorites like Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, but everyone loves a gorgeous green pea salad.
- Need a hot side dish option? It’s so hard to pick what green veggie is my favorite because I like so many, but nothing makes me happier than homemade creamed peas. Make sure you grab that recipe too!
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