Easy and flavorful, this Creamy Pea Salad comes filled with cubes of smoked gouda, crunchy celery, sweet peas, and bacon. Enjoy this addictively delicious cold Pea Salad Recipe drizzled with a flavorful Italian Mayonnaise dressing and share at your next summer potluck or bbq.
Pea Salad with Bacon
Several years ago I volunteered to bring a side dish to a potluck party. New to cooking (I was just getting started in the food blog world) I had no idea what to bring. I decided to play it cool and bring a fruit salad.
While I was at this potluck party, however, my mouth happened upon a pea salad. It was my first time eating pea salad and my expectations were pretty low, but I figured, eh, what the heck? I’ll take a scoop. This particular pea salad had all the things that most pea salads have- peas, red onion, mayo, cheese, and bacon.
It was amazing. I fell in love with pea salads and had to make my own.
So I did. Only I included the addition of green onion, chopped parsley, crunchy celery, and a less mayo-focused sauce. I also ditched traditional cheddar cheese for cubes of smoked gouda.
Oh my word, you guys. Smoked Gouda with bacon and peas is pretty much the best flavor combo in the universe. Not even kidding.
Pea Salad Ingredients
- Italian Dressing – zesty Italian dressing adds the perfect amount of zing and flavor to the creamy mayo dressing.
- Mayonnaise – love creamy dressings? yep, me too. Then you’ll need some mayo for that. I used low-fat mayo, but feel free to use full-fat if you prefer.
- Fresh parsley – just a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley add a HUGE amount of fresh flavor to this dish.
- Peas – just in case the name didn’t give it away, you’ll need peas to make a successful pea salad.
- Red onion – crunchy, spicy, red onions add loads of flavor without a lot of work.
- Celery – crunchy yet refreshing, celery plays a similar role as the red onion.
- Smoked Gouda – one of the most important ingredients, if you can get your hands on some smoked Gouda- do it!
- Green onion – so much extra yummy flavor!
- Bacon – salty, savory, totally delicious.
Tips & Tricks
- Add some extra protein and make it a complete meal. Popular additions include hard-boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, and baked chicken breast.
- If you can’t find smoked Gouda, sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack are popular alternatives.
- Not a fan of big chunks of cheese? Shred it instead. However, for best results, I highly recommended that you shred your own rather than use pre-shredded.
- Feel free to make this salad more or less creamy by playing around with the total amount of mayonnaise.
How to make the best pea salad
This salad literally takes just FIVE MINUTES. All it takes is some chopping and mixing.
First, prepare the dressing. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the Italian dressing, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and chopped parsley. Whisk well to combine.
Next, mix together the salad. Add the (nearly) thawed peas, red onion, celery, smoked gouda, green onion and bacon pieces to the bowl with the dressing mixture and carefully mix to combine.
Season to taste and serve. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Best served cold.
Is it safe to eat raw frozen peas?
Think about it like this – if you can eat the vegetable raw, then you can absolutely eat them thawed, from frozen, without the need to cook them first.
Which actually brings me to my next question…
Do you have to cook the peas first?
Assuming you’re starting with frozen peas then no, you do not need to cook them first. In fact, please don’t.
Here’s what you want to do – let them thaw for a little at room temperature until they are approximately half way thawed. This does require some patience but prevents them from turning soggy which is what will happen if you decide to boil or microwave them and then re-chill them again.
If you try making this Creamy Pea Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
For more salad recipes check out,
- Zucchini and Avocado Salad with Garlic Herb Dressing
- Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
- Roasted Beet Salad Recipe with Miso Dressing
- Balsamic Tomato Basil Salad
- Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Loaded Chicken Ranch Pasta Salad
- Easy Chopped Mediterranean Salad
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Creamy Pea Salad Recipe
- 1/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
- 2 pounds frozen peas (nearly thawed)
- 1/2 large red onion (finely chopped)
- 4 stalks celery (chopped)
- 1 cup Smoked Gouda (diced into small 1/2' cubes)
- 1/3 cup green onion (chopped)
- 2.8 oz Real Bacon Bit Pieces (2.8 oz jar)
- Prepare the dressing - In a large mixing bowl whisk together the Italian dressing, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and chopped parsley. Whisk well to combine.
- Mix the salad - Add the (nearly) thawed peas, red onion, celery, smoked gouda, green onion and bacon pieces to the bowl with the dressing mixture and carefully mix to combine.
- Season to taste and serve - season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Best served cold.
- To use real bacon - cook approximately 5 slices of bacon according to package instructions. Allow bacon to cook on a plate lined with paper towels. Roughly chop into bite-size pieces.
- This recipe can be made using fresh peas if desired. Simply BLANCH the peas in boiling water for approximately 1 minute before transferring to an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain and dry thoroughly.
- Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)