Side Dish Recipes from The Kitchn

Recipe: Quick Sesame Snow Peas

Image Credit: Kelli Foster

The first snow peas of the season are out and they are so fresh, crisp, and green, I'd like to eat them every day! Here's a favorite way to quickly cook snow peas, putting their crisp texture front and center.

They're cooked in light sesame oil, which I feel really complements that fresh flavor and texture. I cook them fast over high heat, then squeeze a little lemon juice over to keep them bright. Eat quickly and enjoy the taste of spring.

Image Credit: Kelli Foster

Tester's Notes

Upon initially reading through this recipe, it seemed way too good to be true. Three ingredients, less than five minutes of cook time — what was I missing? And, where was the catch?

Turns out, the only thing I was missing was that I'd been reserving snow peas for snacking and stir fries only. This is the kind of quick side dish that everyone needs to keep in their back pocket. It's so simple, and versatile enough to pair with just about any type of main dish.

What makes these snow peas really stand out is the squeeze of fresh lemon they get after being taken off the heat. Mixed with the savory sesame oil and salt, it rounds out the flavor, hitting all the high notes.

- Kelli, March 2015

Quick Sesame Snow Peas

Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon

    sesame oil

  • 1/2 pound

    fresh snow peas, washed and patted dry

  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 3 tablespoons

  • Coarse kosher salt or flaky salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Heat the sesame oil in a large sauté pan until almost smoking. Add the snow peas and turn the heat down a little so they don't burn. Cook, shaking the pan and tossing, for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until just barely warmed through and tender-crisp.

Remove from the heat and toss with lemon juice. Set aside to rest for a few moments, partially covered with a plate or splatter screen. Test after 5 minutes; they should still be crisp but more tender. Toss with salt and pepper and eat immediately.

Recipe Notes

Updated from a recipe originally published in April 2007.