Easy Pea Salad Recipe filled with cubes of smoked gouda, crunchy celery, sweet peas, and crispy bacon, then tossed in a creamy homemade Italian mayonnaise dressing. Perfect for outdoor barbecues and summertime potlucks.
Oh, my word, you guys. Smoked Gouda cheese with crispy, salty, fatty bacon and sweet peas is pretty much the best flavor combo in the universe. Not even kidding. Add a little creamy mayo-ey Italian dressing to the mix and you’ve got yourself a party side dish everyone will be raving about!
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 of tablespoons of fresh parsley adds 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. You can use fresh blanched peas or thawed frozen peas.
- Red onion: Fresh chives are a great alternative.
- Celery: Crunchy and refreshing.
- Smoked Gouda: One of the most important ingredients, smoked gouda is so good! Substitute with sharp cheddar or fresh mozzarella if preferred.
- Green onion: So much extra yummy flavor!
- Bacon: Salty, savory, and the perfect contrast to the creamy dressing and sweet peas.
Should I Cook the Peas?
Assuming you’re starting with frozen peas then no, you do not need to cook them first. In fact, please don’t. Doing so will result in soggy peas.
Here’s what you want to do – let them thaw for a little at room temperature until they are approximately half way thawed. You could even add them to fine mesh strainer and rinse them with cool water, patting them dry with paper towels after.
How to Make the Best Pea Salad
This amazing pea salad recipe takes just five minutes to make.
- Prepare the dressing. Mix the Italian dressing, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley in a large mixing bowl. 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.
Tips & Tricks
- Add some extra protein and make it a complete meal. Popular additions include hard-boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, or baked chicken breast.
- Gouda alternatives: If you can’t find smoked Gouda, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mozzarella are popular alternatives.
- Not a fan of big chunks of cheese? Shred it instead. For best results, I highly recommend that you shred your own rather than use pre-shredded.
- Adjust the creaminess: Feel free to make this salad more or less creamy by playing around with the total amount of mayonnaise added to the dressing.
- To make this pea salad with read bacon: Cook approximately five slices of bacon according to package instructions. Allow the bacon to cool on a plate lined with paper towels before chopping it into bite-size pieces.
- To make this recipe with fresh peas: Blanch the peas in boiling water for approximately 1-2 minutes before transferring them to an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain the peas and dry them thoroughly.
More Delicious Salad Recipes:
- Cobb Salad Recipe
- Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe
- Orzo Arugula Salad with Feta and Grapes
- Balsamic Tomato Basil Salad
- Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Taco Salad Recipe
- Easy Chopped Mediterranean Salad
If you try making this Pea Salad Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Pea Salad Recipe
- ¼ cup Zesty Italian Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley - finely chopped
- 2 pounds frozen peas - nearly thawed
- ½ large red onion - finely chopped
- 4 stalks celery - chopped
- 1 cup Smoked Gouda - diced into small 1/2′ cubes
- ⅓ 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 drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Roughly chop into bite-size pieces.
- This recipe can be made using fresh peas if desired. BLANCH the peas in boiling water for approximately 1 minute before transferring them 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.)