If you don’t like peas, chances are you’ve never had them sautéed with onions and bacon. Even without the bacon, they’re still delicious (and a nice vegan side dish). Think smoky flavor, golden onions, olive oil, salt, peppery heat…yum! It’s the only way I eat peas.
Growing up, we always had this prepared with the bacon, as is done in Naples. Other parts of Italy use prosciutto. Both are great options. But lately, more often than not, we make the peas without meat to accommodate vegetarian preferences. (“What do you mean, you don’t eat no meat?!”)
I’ve included instructions for meatless and bacon versions in the recipe that follows. This is a great side dish for entertaining, since it doesn’t require oven space. And, yes, any leftovers are awesome served over pasta or rice, with some Parmesan cheese.
(Recipe Source: Adapted from my Mom)
- 5 strips bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces (optional)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (if using bacon, only use 1 tablespoon olive oil)
- 1 large Vidalia onion or 2 medium onions (yellow or white, sliced)
- 1 16-ounces package frozen baby peas
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2-4 dashes red pepper flakes
- Slice onions and set aside. Cut raw bacon into pieces (kitchen scissors work well.) In a large, non-stick skillet, heat a drop of oil and add the bacon to the pan. Partially cook the bacon on medium high, until the bacon grease is released.
- Add the onions and the rest of the tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and stir to mix with the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden (about 10 minutes).
- Add the frozen peas, salt and black pepper to the pan and stir together. Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until peas are cooked to your liking. Taste peas and stir in red pepper flakes as needed before serving.
- Slice onions. Heat 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden (about 10 minutes).
- Add frozen peas, salt and black pepper to the pan. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until peas are cooked to your liking. Taste peas and stir in red pepper flakes as needed before serving.
I've always used a skillet, but Mom says if you have a non-stick sauce pan, you can use that, and the peas should cook more quickly.