It might be broccoli, it might be corn, but let’s be honest - it’s probably peas.

Peas enter our lives as an inheritance of sorts: your mom made you eat them at dinner as a kid, they might have shown up on your school lunch tray. You’ve seen them on TV, pressed against a character’s face after a football was thrown at their nose. And eventually, they wound up in your freezer. You don’t know how or why, but there they are, and despite their ubiquitousness, they can be polarizing.

Some may see peas as a lazy afterthought, the final, vapid component of the “three colors and hot” kind of dinner we have traditionally hoped for. But let us change your mind. To us, peas are springtime - they’re bright, exciting, surprising bursts of sweetness, cutting through a winter’s worth of heavy dishes and stews. And since peas are just the kind of thing you always seem to have around, luckily for you, we’ve collected our favorite recipes starring these little green diamonds. Buy them fresh or take the leap and finally make use of that frozen bag — cook, relax and enjoy!

spring fettucine alfredo with peas and fresh herbs A vibrant pasta dish bursting with greens is just the kind we dream of at this time of the year. To build flavor we started by sautéing fragrant garlic and shallots. We then added peas and sugar snap peas until tender before tossing in a handful of fresh herbs. A cream sauce coats the noodles and allows the spring vegetables to truly shine.

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one pot chicken & rice with peas This is our quick and foolproof version of Spanish rice, and the beauty of this recipe is how everything cooks in one pot at the same time, allowing the flavors to meld and develop. Rice grains are first toasted in a hot pan with paprika and onions before simmering with the chicken. Strips of lemon give the dish a bright fragrance.

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sausage mummies resting in peas A great dish for the kids, we couldn’t resist this twist on pigs in a blanket. Brooklyn Cured’s smoked beef sausages get the mummification treatment with prepared puff pastry. Don’t skip the egg wash, it gives the pastry sheen, but it also helps it stick together during wrapping. Creamy peas and spinach are a mellow complement to the savory sausages.

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spring fish chowder with leeks, fennel, and asparagus This chowder is a celebration of greens, fast tracking a typical summer soup into spring. If you’ve never shelled peas from a pod before, you’ll enjoy the simple process and phenomenal flavor that only fresh peas bring. Asparagus, fennel, and leek also flavor the cod chowder while the creaminess and bit of tang comes from a dollop of crème fraiche. Bright, crunchy snap peas finish each bowl off beautifully.

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french toast for dinner with curried peas Breakfast for dinner doesn’t have to be sweet, but it can be just as fun and delicious. We whisked fresh herbs and a spicy serrano chile with eggs for a savory French toast. Peas, cooked in curry, are the perfect spiced topping. No need for maple syrup!

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lemon thyme pollock with broccoli rabe and pea couscous Pollock is a deliciously meaty fish. Ours stays ultra moist under a coating of mayonnaise, shallot and fresh thyme. The real secret ingredient in this dish is anchovy paste, which adds a certain umami to both the fillet and the sauteed broccoli rabe. Quick cooking couscous, fresh peas, and garlic oil get mixed together with the broccoli rabe, making for a super tasty and filling one-stop side dish.

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(Featured image: Isabel Eyre)