I’ve eaten a lot of questionable things standing over my kitchen sink at 9 a.m. Until this creamy Pea Salad entered my life, I never imagined peas would be one of them.

pea salad with almonds

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Old fashioned pea salad is a Midwestern potluck/family reunion/parish cookbook stalwart.

These classic creamy pea salads of the past are made with bacon, a mayo-based dressing, and red onions. Some versions include cheese; others are made with ranch dressing.

If you can’t tell, we have a rather liberal definition of “salad” here in the Midwest ;-).

For today’s recipe, I wanted a more modern take on the creamy pea salad with bacon that I grew up seeing at summer gatherings.

This is a healthy pea salad without mayo. The dressing uses yogurt and it features heart-healthy additions (like almonds!).

At the same time, it stays true to its roots and tastes like it belongs at a proper cookout. You can thank the bacon!

TIP!

If you love lighter versions of classic comfort foods, be sure to grab a copy of my cookbook! It has more than 1,750 5-star reviews and features lighter spins on beloved recipes like pasta salads, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, and more.

fresh pea salad with almonds and bacon

5 Star Review

“I made this last night, and it was a big hit. The bonus is I’ll have lunch for a few days too.”

— Jana —

How to Cook Pea Salad

This green pea salad turns a vegetable that would typically be filed under things my toddler won’t eat and turns it into a crowd-pleasing side that’s ideal for potlucks and barbecues.

The key to pea salad irresistibility is the toppings and dressing.

The ingredients are simple, but they work together to create something so yummy, I inhaled it directly out of my fridge.


The Ingredients

  • Peas. Technically a legume (the same family as chickpeas and lentils), peas are high in fiber and nutrients. They are this spring and summertime salad’s star!
fresh pea salad on a plate

TIP!

While you can make fresh pea salad, I prefer to use frozen peas. They are just as nutritious as fresh peas and a complete time saver.

Since the peas are blanched before they are frozen, you do not need to cook them before adding them to the salad. Simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or run them under cool water to defrost.

  • Chopped Roasted Almonds. They add warmth, crunch, and make the pea salad a pleasure to munch.
  • Crispy Bacon. Pea salad with bacon is the way we do it here in the Midwest (Southern pea salad does the same).

Substitution Tip!

You also can swap the bacon for diced leftover ham (or use both!).

  • Greek Yogurt. My healthy stand-in for mayo. It has the same creaminess and tang as mayo or sour cream, but is low in calories and high in protein.
  • Honey + Apple Cider Vinegar. Old fashioned pea salad dressing is usually made with white vinegar and sugar. I prefer the floral note of the honey and the subtle fruitiness of cider vinegar.
  • Red Onions. Just the right bite and a pop of color.
plate of healthy pea salad

Recipe Variations

  • English Pea Salad. Add 2 to 3 diced hardboiled eggs.
  • Sweet Pea Salad. Use baby peas or sweet peas, which are smaller and sweeter. These are my favorite!
  • Southern Potato Salad. Add diced cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs, and swap the red onion for green onion.

The Directions

healthy pea salad ingredients in bowls
  1. Cook the bacon, dice the red onion, and toast and chop the almonds.
creamy pea salad dressing mixed
  1. Stir together the dressing in a big bowl.
pea salad without mayo
  1. Add everything to the bowl with the dressing and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dietary Note

  • For a vegetarian pea salad, omit the bacon and use smoked almonds instead of the regular roasted almonds for a similar effect.
  • You can also add small-diced cheddar cheese to a vegetarian pea salad to give it another dimension of heartiness.
  • If you are looking for a vegan pea salad or one that is dairy free, check out my Pea, Lentil & Potato Salad (which can be made with or without the bacon).

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover pea salad for up to 4 days. Stir and taste for seasoning before serving.
  • To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing pea salad. It will become mushy and the dressing will separate. (Don’t worry; you won’t have leftovers).

Meal Prep Tip

Roast the almonds up to 2 weeks in advance. Store at room temperature. Stir together the dressing 1 day in advance and refrigerate.

healthy pea salad on a plate

What to Serve with Pea Salad

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Chef’s Knife. A cook’s most precious tool. It makes chopping a breeze.
  • Mixing Bowls. These are stackable for easy storage, and they work great for this recipe.
  • Measuring Spoons. I love how easy these are to store and the double sides mean you can stop less to wash while cooking.

Stacking Mixing Bowls

With a size for every need, these are easy to store, dishwasher safe, and you can use them as a serving bowl too.

fresh pea salad with almonds and bacon

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

I leave you in peace with the peas, courtesy of pea salad!

fresh pea salad with almonds and bacon

Green Pea Salad with Bacon and Almonds

4.75 from 4 votes
Healthy old fashioned pea salad with bacon, toasted almonds, and creamy Greek dressing (NO MAYO!) This easy side is always a crowd favorite!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 8 mins

Servings: 4 – 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 strips bacon cooked*
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 16 ounces shelled petite peas fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1/4 cup whole roasted almonds roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • If necessary, cook the bacon according to one of my easy methods listed below. Once cool, chop into small pieces and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the peas, almonds, and red onion. Toss gently to coat. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Notes

  • *Easy bacon cooking methods: Air Fryer Bacon and Oven Baked Bacon.
  • TO STORE. Refrigerate leftover pea salad for up to 4 days. Stir and taste for seasoning before serving.
  • TO FREEZE. I do not recommend freezing pea salad. It will become mushy and the dressing will separate. (Don’t worry; you won’t have leftovers).

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4Calories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 13gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgPotassium: 438mgFiber: 7gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 876IUVitamin C: 46mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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55 Comments

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  1. Another great way to get that smoky flavor for vegetarians would be (I am partial here) Penzey’s smoked Spanish paprika. I made deviled eggs once and used this and actually had a vegetarian ask if there was bacon in them.

    1. Martha, smoked paprika is one of my all-time favorite spices, and Penzeys is one of the best places on earth! That is a great tip. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Peas never looked better! Loving the lightened up dressing made with Greek yogurt – smart!

  3. Wow, peas really never looked better! I’m not a huge fan of peas but once you throw bacon and almonds on it…i’m all over them!!! great dish!

  4. I love peas! We actually eat them all the time – my whole family (even the kids!) love them! :) But baby food peas are nasty. Just wrong.
    I’m totally with you on the ‘No-thanks-I’ll-pass-on-the-mayo’ thing. But Greek yogurt … is there a shovel that I can use? Cause I love it!!!
    I think my mom used to make a pea salad years and years ago, but I don’t remember ever actually eating it! I can’t wait to make this … pinning quick quick!!

  5. I love peas, but never make them because I’m the only one who likes them. When my kids were little I made them all the time. Now they too reject those poor peas. This salad looks delicious and easy enough to prepare for one :D

  6. Haha I actually love peas and so does my 3 year old so this salad is right up my alley: ) It looks fantastic and I love the flavors in here! Especially the greek yogurt dressing – yum!

  7. Peas can be so amazing when they’re ‘done right’. I love them, particularly with goats cheese, mint or lemon. This combo looks DIVINE. I think the bacon alone would make my husband eat an entire bowlful! I love the idea of the crunch from the almonds and that gorgeous yoghurt dressing. Yum! x

  8. So when I eat this BY THE HANDFUL…you won’t judge? K good. I actually think the.boy lived off of canned peas before I met him. Pretty sure these would put those to shame.

  9. I am totally with you, I never think about green peas. Not my vegetable of choice, but this looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it!

  10. I happen to fall into the “I love peas” category. Although not ever at 9 am! I am loving the yogurt dressing mixed with the peas and bacon. This sounds great!!!

  11. haha I do really like peas I just tend to forget about them! But I feel like I wouldn’t forget about them with this recipe! Looks so good! And I love your photos!

  12. Its the bacon…. Bacon makes EVERYTHING taste good. LOL! :) I don’t actually mind peas these days (wont order them in a restaurant or anything) but Ill eat them. As a kid, I avoided them like the plague, they fell into the green foods that taste awful category. This would work a treat as a side, beef daube maybe?!

    1. Sue, comments like this never ever fail to make my day! I am so glad. Thanks for taking time to share your review, and I am sure smoked paprika will be delicious too!

  13. Is this regular or turkey bacon? I actually never had turkey bacon before, so am wondering if one or the other would be best with the peas or if it doesn’t matter :)

    1. Great question! I use only regular bacon because honestly, I don’t care for the taste or texture of turkey bacon, and I feel the real-deal is worth the splurge. If it works better for your diet/tastes, however, you can certainly use turkey bacon instead.

  14. I added 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika, a tad more regular salt on top of the kosher salt in the recipe (adjusted a little to taste), and I couldn’t help myself: about a heaping TSP of mayo (less than what most recipes require anyway!) and it was wonderful. The original recipe is great and I loved it but it was a smidgen too sweet with the baby peas and honey so that is why I made those adjustments and also to make my bf eat it (however, it says something because this man hates most veggies and ate a full serving of this!). Thanks for a great recipe! Unique taste and lovely texture, will make again.5 stars

    1. I am so, so excited to hear this! I bet the addition of smoked paprika was absolutely fabulous too. Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for letting me know how it turned out!

  15. I have always wondered what more can I do with peas that is exciting and creative. With almonds and bacon, this is a must-try recipe! Thank you for this! 

    1. Hi Lana! Regarding nutritional info, this is something that I’ve actually started adding to all of my new recipes, effective January 2016 (you’ll see it in the recipe box at the bottom). Unfortunately, it’s pretty time consuming, so I’m unable to go back and add it to past recipes. If you’d like the nutritional info for any of my older recipes (or really any other recipe or food), you can actually calculate it yourself for free at myfitnesspal.com (this is how I calculate the new recipes on my blog). I’m sorry I can’t give you the information for this exact recipe, but I hope that My Fitness Pal will be a helpful resource for you.

    1. Hi SandyG! I have not tried this recipe with anything other than almonds, so you would be experimenting. You could leave them out or try using pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds but it will alter the flavor.

  16. Terrific! The bacon is the perfect addition. Using fresh peas add just the right touch of crunch. I didn’t have 6 oz of fresh peas so i added an additional 4 oz of frozen. The difference between fresh and frozen is obvious. Next time I’ll make sure to use only fresh!5 stars

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