If you love peas but have found that your grocery store’s selection of them isn’t quite enough, you’re in luck! There are many different types of Peas, and you might think you’re in the middle of an Easter basket when you walk down the pet aisle at the supermarket.
This comprehensive list will give you all the information you need to pick out precisely the kind of peas that suits your fancy and your recipe!
Table of Contents
- What are peas?
- List of Different Types of Peas
What are peas?
Peas are a healthy and inexpensive vegetable that can be enjoyed. The best part about peas is that they taste great whether you want them on their own or incorporate them into another dish.
They can be boiled and eaten plain, tossed into salads as croutons, or even ground up to use as flour for baking.
Also, the most popular of different types of peas include black-eyed peas, English peas, and split peas (for soup). You can find these types at any grocery store, but have you ever wondered what other kinds are?
Let’s dive in!
List of Different Types of Peas
High in vitamins C and K and with a good amount of potassium and folate, green peas are a tasty vegetable packed with nutrients. One cup provides 100 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K.
In addition, they can be enjoyed raw or cooked – blanch them to retain their vibrant color. Green peas can be used as a garnish for salads, soups, or stews – or eaten straight from the pod! These delicious veggies also freeze well to enjoy them all year round.
In addition to being a tasty legume that’s a staple in many international cuisines, chickpeas are an excellent source of protein. They also serve as a perfect plant-based meat substitute and can be used in vegan recipes.
You can also love adding them to hearty salads or quick soup dishes. Store dried peas in an airtight container, and they’ll keep for up to a year at room temperature. For more information on different types of peas, read below.
These are typical peas often used in cooking because they have a mild taste. Like other different types of peas, limas should be eaten regularly to keep you healthy.
Aside from their use in cooking, there aren’t many health benefits associated with limas. However, some people claim that eating them improves memory and relieves constipation.
The next on our list of different types of peas is lima beans. Although somewhat similar in taste and texture to green beans, they are longer.
They also have a slightly different flavor and contain more protein than green beans. Soaking them for 6 hours before cooking will significantly decrease their cooking time.
They’re best served with a pinch of salt and some pepper or favorite spices or herbs. If you want to enjoy them year-round, plant lima bean seeds indoors about two weeks before your last frost date in spring, or seed them directly into your garden once it’s warmer outside and the danger of frost has passed (late May is typically safe).
Lastly, wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees F. Lima beans grow well in warm weather.
Also, one of the different types of peas, typically grown in Asia and called snake beans or asparagus beans, is yardlong beans, which are primarily used in stir-fries.
These beautiful long pods can grow as long as 6 feet but usually fall between 2 and 3 feet. In addition, the peas are edible when young and tender.
But even then, you’ll want to cook them with a little bit of sugar because they tend to be tricky. Like many Asian vegetables, these beans have a bitter flavor that takes some getting used to if you aren’t used to eating them regularly.
This pea is renowned for its warmness. Use in chicken soup or any dish that could use a hug. Also excellent when blended into butter and spread on toast.
Chori peas are an acquired taste, but you’ll wonder how you lived without them once you get used to them.
Also, you might want to try growing your own, as Chori Chori peas are native to Ethiopia and are notoriously difficult to find outside of Africa. Be warned: your success rate will be about 50%.
But if you do succeed in growing your own Chori Chris, consider yourself lucky—you’ll have found one of life’s great culinary treasures. If not, well, at least you tried!
Popular in many regions around Asia, Maxigolt peas are small and sweet. The Japanese have been known to add them to sushi, while locals in China stir-fry them as a side dish with pork and broccoli.
In Thailand, they’re different peas that can be mixed into pad thai and other bean sprouts and shrimp. They’re also delicious and can be cooked on their own for two minutes or microwaved for one minute until soft.
Golden Sweet Peas
There are many different types of peas, and Golden sweet is also one. It is a legume vegetable with an edible-podded fruit called pea. These delicate green pods have long been famous for their unique flavor and tender texture.
They are often used fresh or frozen in both sweet and savory dishes to provide some contrast to more starchy elements such as potatoes.
Although there are wide varieties available, including purple and yellow, most will fall into one of two groups: English peas (such as supersweet varieties) or Asian varieties. Golden Sweet is a variety that has been selected specifically for its taste.
However, it retains much of its sweetness when cooked, and it also boasts a bolder flavor than many other different types of peas.
It is probably my favorite type of pea—they are sweet, delicious, and have a very mild flavor. I like to eat these different peas fresh out of their pods as they don’t require cooking.
Perfect for snacking on while watching your favorite movie. It’s great in stir-fry, too, if you prefer not to consume them raw (but why wouldn’t you?) Sugar snap peas are also called Chinese peas and snow peas, depending on where you live.
In general, sugar snap peas taste like sugar with a hint of green beans. Very crisp and refreshing, try them with some low-sodium chicken broth! Love them!
First developed in 1956 and patented in 1966, these sweet peas are round and bright green. Honey Snaps offer a unique look to your favorite recipes with an almost identical flavor to traditional Snap I peas.
What is more appealing than a plate of sweet peas that appear as if they have been cooked in honey? These peas are great for stir-fry dishes with cumin and coriander.
They also pair well with ham or chicken for an elegant side dish. Serve them chilled for breakfast alongside a sliced baguette drizzled with honey and mint chutney.
Sugar Sprint Peas
These peas were initially cultivated in China, but now they’re grown worldwide. They contain a higher amount of sugars and are a variety that is typically only available during colder months. When harvested early, they can be served fresh; when harvested later, they’re often used in canned vegetables.
Sugar Snap Peas
These are incredibly popular right now and are usually green in color. Because they can be eaten whole and have fragile skin, making for easy eating.
They’re also versatile—they can be eaten raw or cooked. This versatility makes them ideal for salads or as a side dish to accompany any meal. Their flavor is slightly sweet and not overpowering.
So, they can easily be incorporated into both meat dishes and vegetarian meals. Plus, their texture offers a nice crunch that people tend to like.
Best of all? They come packaged frozen (or even canned), which means that once you get your hands on them, it doesn’t take much time to prepare them for eating.
Honey Snap II Peas
Snap peas come in many colors, but they’re often green or yellow. The Honey Snap II pea has multicolored pods encased in a white shell.
Although these peas are sweet and juicy like other snap peas, they don’t have a taste or texture that sets them apart from different types of peas.
One cool thing about these peas is their shape—their pods look like little Styrofoam balls when you hold them on end.
They’re pretty cute and fun to eat raw, straight out of the pod! These beans might be small and sweet, but they pack a powerful punch of flavor in every bite.
Royal Snap II Peas
Snappy and sweet with a nice, light snap. Suitable for side dishes or as an addition to soups and stews. Substitute one part royal snap peas for every four parts mixed vegetables in your favorite side dish recipe to up its nutritional value.
Bonus points if you can eat them fresh from the pod! The Snap varieties are generally sweeter than their shell-on counterparts, but they also have tougher skins that require longer cooking times.
Still tasty, though! If you’re looking for more ways to use Snap peas, try substituting them into any recipe that calls for green beans—the texture is similar, and it’s a great way to stretch your food budget further by using less expensive ingredients in place of more expensive ones.
When selecting fresh Snap peas at your local grocer’s produce section, be sure to choose those that are brightly colored (bright green) with firm pods that feel crisp when squeezed gently between thumb and forefinger.
Avoid limp or overly soft pods and any yellowing leaves; both indicate age and thus poor flavor quality.
These peas are specifically bred to be grown in tropical climates. They’re perfect for an outdoor garden but require a greenhouse or protection to keep them warm during colder months.
Snowbird peas grow best in temperate and tropical climates and are usually eaten fresh from a pod or cooked. The plants will reach about 2 feet tall and produce light yellow flowers when they mature.
You’ll need greenhouses or another shelter for these peas if you live in areas with cold winters that dip below 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 degrees Celsius).
Snowbird pea seeds should be planted around April and harvested by September. If you don’t have access to greenhouses, they can also be grown indoors as long as temperatures stay between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29 Celsius).
What’s more classic than a plate of English peas? There are a few different varieties, but they all look like the picture above. They’re green with a semi-sweet flavor.
English peas are delicious when sautéed with butter and garlic. Or try them in stews or soups. Eat them fresh off the vine—or freeze them for later use. To prepare: Shell your peas by hand or use a knife to remove their thin outer shell before cooking.
In addition to tasting incredible on their own, you can use these versatile veggies in stir-fries, pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches.
If you have too many to eat right away, put some up for later by freezing them; don’t cook them first—the frozen version will taste better (and it’s less work). To freeze: Shell your peas and blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes before transferring them to an ice bath until cool.
After reading through all these different types of peas, you may be thinking: Are there so many types? How do they differ from one another? Should I buy some to add to my diet?
These are all great questions. There are more than 4,000 varieties of peas in existence today—all with unique traits and subtle differences.
That being said, it’s also not practical or cost-effective for every person to try each type. So we urge you to use your best judgment when deciding which peas to pick up at your local grocery store.
Be sure you enjoy them as part of a healthy diet (one that includes plenty of veggies!) and that they add variety—not calories—to your plate.