Classic Pea Salad

This salad is your classic family reunion salad. Right up there with potato salad, pasta salad and ambrosia salad. I’m pretty sure that classic pea salad will be served at just about every family reunion this summer. I haven’t had this salad in well over 40 years! The last time I ate pea salad was at my first husbands family reunion, which took place every summer at Bear Lake in Manawa WI. (Wow, I haven’t thought about that in years!) Personally, I’ve never made pea salad even though I love it.

Why? Well, a couple of reasons really. I was the potato salad or deviled egg person. Once in a blue moon I was asked to bring my bean dip or taco dip but not very often. They were reserved for the holidays. The second reason why I’ve never made pea salad before is my hubby hates peas, along with most green vegetables. Peas and asparagus are on his “never eat” list. He will eat green peppers and broccoli but never peas. In fact, not one person in his family eats peas either. But the real kicker is…he loves canned green beans.

Classic Pea Salad

Canned Vegetables

Growing up on canned vegetables only, I never, ever buy canned…ever. My childhood dinners included those dreaded wax beans, the even more disgusting Veg-All mixed vegetables. Of course we can’t forget about canned spinach, with Popeye on the label. It’s a no wonder that people from my generation didn’t like or eat vegetables! The only fresh vegetable we ever ate was in the summer when we’d have fresh corn-on-the-cob.

Back in my day, if your mom didn’t “can”, (which of course Aggie didn’t do) you were brought up on canned vegetables. At that time, 16 oz. cans of vegetables sold for something like 6 cans for a $1.00. Canned peas, corn, green beans, carrots and so on. As a kid I thought all canned vegetables tasted way to salty and had a tinny after taste. When frozen vegetables became readily available, that was considered a huge step up from canned.

Fresh and Frozen Peas

For classic pea salad I like to use both fresh peas and frozen peas. Fresh peas give this salad a nice crunch and a sweet, fresh flavor. However, frozen peas thawed, adds a nice contrast to fresh peas. If you like, you can certainly go with all fresh or all frozen. When using frozen peas, place frozen peas in a colander. Rinse under running cold water for a few seconds. Allow to drain and thaw completely. Pat thawed peas dry with paper towels before adding to the remaining ingredients. (to remove any excess water)

Ingredients Needed to Make Classic Pea Salad:

  • Fresh and Frozen Peas (I like to use both)
  • Red Onion
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Hellman’s Mayonnaise
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

UP NEXT: Homemade Enchilada Sauce {Video}

Classic Pea Salad

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  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup cubed extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 slices bacon, crispy and crumbled


  • In a large bowl whisk together mayo, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Fold in peas, red onion, cheese and bacon. Taste and season if needed. Serve.
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