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Southern English Pea Salad

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Looking for a 4th of July, Thanksgiving, or Christmas potluck dish? Look no further than this English Pea Salad with Bacon

a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

Southern English Pea Salad Recipe

I don’t know where English pea salad originated from, or why it’s so dang good considering it’s the world’s shortest list of ingredients, but I do know that any time someone shares a photo of a Southern Potluck or church spread, there’s that pea salad!

This Fourth of July we had Cade’s mom, brother, and his family and a friend over for a fun day of swimming and eating. Yes, I did wear a red bathing suit. Yes, I did get mistaken for the lifeguard 100 times. I have had the worst time trying to find a bathing suit that wasn’t cut crazy high or crazy low all year and this one I love, though I will watch where I wear it now. 

But back to the BBQ — we swam, the kids became exhausted, and we headed back to the house where we cooked up classic burgers thanks to our 2 Secrets post, green pea salad, tomato mozzarella salad, Nancy’s Southern Grape Salad, and the dreamiest Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting EVER.

Green pea salad is considered to be low-carb, gluten-free, and a slightly healthier option to pasta salad. But this doesn’t mean it’s straight up healthy — it contains bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise, after all.

a metal bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

English Pea Salad Ingredients

Although English pea salad has a few different names, it’s all the exact same thing — cold pea salad. You may hear it called pea salad, English Pea Salad, Southern Pea Salad, Green Pea Salad, or, as we’ve called it, Southern English Pea Salad.

Here’s what goes into this easy potluck side dish recipe: 

  • Frozen peas
  • Mayonnaise
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red onion
  • Bacon
  • Cheese

Some recipes also call for hard-boiled eggs, which we left out this time as I’m really enjoying it as a straight up pea salad lately. I’ve added it into the recipe as optional in case you want to add it, though.

a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese and a metal spoon sitting on the side

How to Make Pea Salad

This easy potluck dish takes just 15 minutes to prep and can be served immediately. Here’s how to make pea salad in no time: 

  1. In a large bowl, mix up a little mayo, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. 
  2. Add in peas, chopped cheese, chopped red onion, and hard-boiled eggs if you choose. 
  3. Gently fold everything together, then add the crumbled bacon, giving it one last fold to incorporate.

So simple, right? Keep in mind that you’ll need to slightly defrost the frozen peas before making this pea salad with bacon, so take that into account before making this recipe. 

a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

Can you Prepare Pea Salad Ahead of Time?

English pea salad can be prepared — but not assembled — ahead of time. No one wants soggy bacon or cheese! 

Here’s how to prep this green pea salad recipe in advance: 

  1. Leave the peas in the freezer until an hour before assembly. Or even up to 3 hours before you can move them to the fridge.
  2. Cook and chop the bacon and store in a bag in the fridge.
  3. Cook, cool, and chop the eggs and store in the fridge.
  4. Chop the cheese and, you guessed it, back in the fridge.
  5. Ditto with the onion.
  6. Mix the dressing and store in the large mixing bowl with saran wrap over it in the fridge.

When you’re ready, just toss everything together and serve immediately. If you must mix it ahead of time, still leave the bacon until you’re ready to serve.

How Long Does Pea Salad Last?

Because the mayonnaise breaks down the bacon and cheese we don’t much enjoy pea salad more than a day or two later, and it must be stored in an airtight container.

Can You Freeze Pea Salad?

You cannot freeze pea salad no matter how badly you want to keep it. The mayonnaise separates and the ingredients become tender and yucky from the freezer.

a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

Do You Cook Frozen Peas for Pea Salad?

No, please don’t ever cook your peas for Southern English Pea Salad. It’s meant to be a cold salad much like potato salad.

Can I Omit the Bacon in This Pea Salad? 

Yes, if you’ll be serving vegetarians or simply prefer not to eat it, you’re welcome to omit the bacon. You could also serve the crumbled bacon on the side and let guests help themselves if they want to eat this pea salad with bacon. 

Is There a Mayonnaise Substitute I Can Use? 

Not that I’m aware of! Real mayo is a must for us in this recipe. However, you could always experiment with using part plain Greek yogurt and part real mayo, or use all Miracle Whip. If you try a different variation of this recipe and like the results, please let us know in a comment below! 

a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

Tips for Making English Pea Salad

There’s a BIG FAT SECRET to making English pea salad. Do you know what it is? Southern English pea salad tastes best with only slightly defrosted, never cooked frozen peas. That’s right, grab your bag of peas and throw them into the fridge to defrost them a little, and when you pour them into the bowl you should hear them falling and they should have a small crunch to them as they are still a little frozen.

Also, when chopping the red onion we prefer to dice it into small bits and not slices as that’s more cumbersome to eat. Plus, crunching down on a huge bite of raw red onion makes my eyes water. 

If you’re not a huge fan of raw onion, try running it under cold tap water for a few seconds to remove its bite. Remember to pat it dry before tossing it in the English pea salad. 

More Side Salad RECIPES:

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a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

Southern English Pea Salad

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Looking for a 4th of July, Thanksgiving, or Christmas potluck dish? Look no further than this English Pea Salad with Bacon! 

Ingredients

  • 6 Slices of Bacon
  • 16 ounces Frozen Peas
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1/3 Cup Red Onion Chopped
  • 1 Cup Colby Jack Cheese Chopped
  • 2 Hard Boiled eggs chopped (optional)

Instructions

  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp, turning once to cook on both sides.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Once cool, chop the bacon into small pieces.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  • Add the partially defrosted peas, red onion, eggs if desired, cheese and stir to combine.
  • Add the bacon and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Southern English Pea Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 /2 cup)
Calories 354 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Polyunsaturated Fat 21g
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 506mg22%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

a wooden bowl full of creamy southern english pea salad with bacon, chunks of colby jack cheese

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment

24 comments

  • It’s not the salad that’s English it’s the peas in the deep south green peas are called English peas as opposed to field peas of several varieties. Hope this clears this up.

    • Reply
    • Yes! Thank you Diana!

      • Reply
  • My mom loves a good pea salad. This looks fantastic, definitely trying this recipe.

    • Reply
    • We would love to hear what you think!!

      • Reply
  • Making this for the second time on a family lot luck, just had a baby few months ago love how easy and quickly this comes together. Especially loved the flavor and didn’t mind that there was a little leftovers the next day so good!!

    • Reply
    • Congrats on the new baby Sherrie! I’m so glad you enjoy this salad! It is one of our favorites! I secretly like it even more the second day!

      • Reply
  • My grandmother used to make a salad similar to this! I will need to give this one a try! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
    • You will love it!

      • Reply
  • This is such a summertime classic dish! It wouldn’t be a party without having this!

    • Reply
    • We couldn’t agree more!!

      • Reply
  • Looks SO flavorful! Yum!

    • Reply
    • Thank you!!

      • Reply
  • I haven’t had this in so long, but you’re right, it is so good!

    • Reply
    • Thanks Amanda!!

      • Reply
  • This was really delicious. I didn’t use the hard boiled eggs. The recipe took a whole 5 minutes to make.
    I didn’t have any bacon on hand, (cooked anyway). So I used turkey pepperoni. I usually bake a lb. of bacon at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or so and use it all week long. Just didn’t want to cook any this time. But will definitely add it the next time. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • Reply
    • Pepperoni in it would be awesome!! We will have to try that! We are so glad you enjoyed it!

      • Reply
  • What a perfect summer salad!

    • Reply
    • Thanks Liz! It is one of our favorites!!

      • Reply
  • This looks soooo amazing! It’s been forever since I’ve had this so I need to add it to me menu plan!

    • Reply
    • Thank you!! And enjoy!

      • Reply
  • I love a good pea salad and this one looks delicious! Totally pinning!

    • Reply
    • Yeah!! Enjoy! It is really so dang good!

      • Reply
  • Do not see nutritional breakdown.

    • Reply
    • It’s right at the bottom of the recipe card.
      Nutrition Information

      Yield: 8 servings, Serving Size: 1/2 cup

      Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335 Calories Total Fat: 28.4g Cholesterol: 127mg Sodium: 471mg Carbohydrates: 8.3g Fiber: 2.3g Sugar: 3g Protein: 11.3g

      • Reply

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