Peas are the first vegetable planted in the garden. Sometimes we even throw them on top of the snow in March and they sprout as it melts! We always plant twice as many peas as we need to grow to full size so that we can cut and use many of the pea shoots in early spring recipes.

This recipe is such a simple way to prepare many kinds of green leafy vegetables when you’re tired of the same old olive oil & garlic sauté. It’s an easy asian flair with items you probably already have in your fridge or freezer. (We always keep a knob of ginger root in the freezer for quick grating.) Look for thin, tender pea shoots in farmers’ markets, or, if you can’t find them, use a bunch of watercress instead.


  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 pound pea shoots, well washed and dried
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

TIDBIT: The only reason peas are green is that they are picked when still immature. A ripe pea is actually more yellow in color. Eating green peas became fashionable in the 1600s and 1700s but was described by the French as “madness.” Up until then, only pea shoots were considered digestible.

Additional Information

  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 20m


In a small dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds over low heat for 1 minute, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Transfer to a plate.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over low heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and water. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the ginger and garlic are very tender. Leaving the liquid in the pan, discard the ginger and garlic.

Add the scallions and pea shoots to the pan, sprinkle with the salt, and cook for 2 minutes, or until the pea shoots are tender. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with the sesame oil, and scatter the toasted sesame seeds over the top.

This recipe can be found in the Spring chapter of our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.

by Aray Till

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