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Recipes for Beauty: Sugar Snap Peas

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Green and crunchy with a slightly sweet flavor, sugar snap peas add a bright, summery flavor and texture to pretty much any dish. Late spring into early summer is the best time to enjoy them, when long days and not-too-hot temperatures yield plump, tender pods. In addition to being a nutritious, low-calorie food, sugar snap peas have numerous skin benefits. One serving contains nearly 100% of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C—which is essential to the production of collagen and elastin, two substances necessary to keep skin firm. Peas are also rich in vitamin A, which promotes healthy cell growth, and vitamin K, an antioxidant that that protects skin against damage by free radicals.

Choosing sugar snap peas at the grocery store is a cinch. Look for pale green pods that are firm and crisp enough that, if bent too far, they’d snap. It’s even easier to incorporate these crunchy veggies into your diet. To help get you started, we’ve come up with three easy and healthy recipes.

Note: Some peas have a tough, fibrous string that needs to be removed. Just fold back the stem and “unzip” the string along the length of the pod before cooking.

Sizzling Supper: Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Heat 1 Tbsp of sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the red bell pepper, onion, carrots, broccoli, and sugar snap peas until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from heat and add another 1 Tbsp of sesame oil to the pan. Stir-fry the chicken until it’s almost cooked through, about 2–3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Return vegetables to the skillet, add the sauce, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over white or brown rice. Serves 4.

Easy Side Dish: Garlicky Sugar Snap Peas

  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of sugar snap peas
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the sugar snap peas and saute until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Seasonal Pasta: Penne Primavera

  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 lb of asparagus, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 12 oz of penne pasta
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of basil, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed red pepper

Blanch asparagus and sugar snap peas in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 1–2 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the shrimp 2–3 minutes. Add the asparagus and sugar snap peas to the skillet. Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream (you can substitute half and half for a lighter dish), scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen any browned bits. Simmer for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese, adding broth or heavy cream if the sauce gets too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Toss sauce with the pasta and top with basil. Serves 4.


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