The Secret to Learning to Love Peas
(or any vegetable)

Irresistable Mashy Peas

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I[/dropcap] hate peas.

Actually, I should rephrase that. I used to hate peas. Ever since my mother forced me to eat them, I’ve had a few pea ‘issues’.

I’ve always known my pea phobia was totally irrational. And I often wished I loved peas like my Irishman does.

I’d gotten to the stage where I didn’t ‘freak out’ whenever they were served. And I thought this was as good as things were going to get.

But recently I came across a recipe for Mashy Peas which rocked my world.

And turned me into a pea fan.

Never. Say. Never…

3 Steps to Learning to Love Any Veg

1. Find the right way to prepare them.
I’m convinced that 90% of our food dislikes come from never having the particular ingredient prepared in a way that best suits it (and us). So if you don’t like boiled peas, maybe my Irresistible Mushy Peas (below) will do the trick like it did for me.

This isn’t fool proof. I keep ordering tripe in fancy restaurants where you’d think they’d make it taste amazing. Still yet to find tripe I enjoy… but I’m working on it (at a very slow pace).

2. Keep trying.
I’ve read it can take 8-10 exposures to new flavours before we ‘acquire’ the taste. So if something doesn’t work for you, just try again in a few weeks or months. And be prepared to try again. And again.

3. Be kind.
There are no prizes for loving all vegetables (as far as I know). So there’s no need to beat yourself (or any stubborn toddlers in your care) up if you can’t bring yourself (or them) to love [insert vegetable nemesis here].

As I’m only too aware, forcing yourself (or others) to eat vegetables you don’t enjoy tends to cause more harm than good.


Irresistable Mashy Peas-2

Irresistible Mushy Peas

The first time I made these peas it was more something that I thought my Irishman would enjoy. But he wasn’t alone! I couldn’t get enough of this verdant green mash. So good.

Inspired by Sydney based chef, Colin Fassnidge from his brilliant book Four Kitchens.

enough for 2 as a side
takes: 20 minutes

1 small onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 bag baby spinach
250g (9oz) frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 teaspoon stock powder (optional)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1. Pop onion and butter in a medium saucepan and cook, covered on a medium heat until the onion is soft but not browned. It will take about 10 minutes and best to stir a few times.

2. When the onion is soft, add the baby spinach and peas and cook, stirring for the few minutes it takes for the spinach to just wilt and the peas to warm through.

3. Remove from the heat and puree to a rough mash using a stick blender (or transfer to your food processor).

4. Add stock powder (if using) and vinegar. Stir well. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.

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dairy-free / vegan – replace butter with olive oil.

less ingredients – skip the spinach and add extra peas.

no vinegar – use a splash of lemon juice instead.

less butter – by all means use less but I find butter makes most veg so much more tasty. Which means you’ll be more likely to eat more veg… surely more healthy than skimping on the butter!

fresh peas – by all means use freshly podded peas but they’re much more work and unless you’re growing your own, unlikely to taste better than frozen.

Video Version of the Recipe.

What about you?

Got any vegetable ‘pet peeves’? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below…

Big love,
Jules x

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  • I love ‘mushy peas’ with fish and chips so it looks as though your ‘mashy peas’ will be similar so I’ll give them a go. Just a comment on your grammar in the ‘Variants’ section – ‘less (sic) ingredients’? No, the correct expression is ‘fewer ingredients,’ as you’re writing about the number of ingredients, not the weight (mass) of them. Keep up the good work.

  • I am a vegetable fan and agree with you that in general people do not like vegetables because of how they have had them presented to them – and some things served too young for a developing palette to appreciate.

    One of the most maligned veggies in my experience is the Brussel sprout which I believe suffers from lousy cooking! My mum taught me to cook them and her technique has converted many people over the years. She cut clean across the bottom of the sprout to remove any residual stem then peeled off the outer leaves until she had got rid of any tough or disfigured leaves and was left with a smooth clean sprout. Then she cut a cross into the base reaching through to the centre of the sprout. This allows the steam to get into the vegetable and cook the centre without overcooking the outside. Prepared sprouts are then steamed for about 7 or 8 minutes and served with a little butter and black pepper.

    The aim in cooking time is to catch the Brussel sprouts when they are cooked through but still retain a little crispness – an element of taste as to how much but they should not go “mushy” – unlike peas ‘mushy’ Brussel Sprouts have little to recommend them!

    I thoroughly enjoy your newsletter, the stories and the food suggestions – thank you for sharing!

    • The mistake that many people make is to buy sprouts that are too big and therefore older, when they have often lost their sweetness. The trick is to buy small young ones that are still sweet. I agree with your preparation techniques, but it’s now recognised that it is not necessary to cross-cut the base as this makes it easier to over-cook them and make them soft and mushy.

    • You know Jane I love Brussels sprouts now but they were another childhood phobia… My mum used to boil them.. And as good as I’m sure yours taste I’m a bit nervous about steamed sprouts too.. I think I’ll stick to pan fried or roast sprouts for now :)

    • Prepare the sprouts exactly the same way (I score the bottoms several times). Smear bottom of flat custard dish with butter or smart balance (best). Then place bottoms down into butter/spread and microwave 1 minute (single serving). Prepare to be amazed. I push them open from the bottom for a beautiful presentation and fuuler eating experience!

  • I wholeheartedly agree with finding the right way to prepare veges. I have hated cauliflower for as long as I can remember, since my parents used to serve soggy cauliflower cheese, occasionally enlivened with ‘bacon bits’ (ugh). I hadn’t eaten it since the 80s and then I had a lightbulb moment last year when I read Jules’s Super Simple Broccoli recipe. I tried it out on my family a few times (the kids didn’t like the lemon flavour) and one day added some cauliflower too. Yum! Now I chop up both, spray with oil, sprinkle with seasoning of whichever sort I feel like, and roast for about 15-20 mins to get a similar effect without the lemon. Not only do I now LOVE cauliflower, my kids have never turned their noses up at it either. Win-win!!

  • I hate celeriac , fennel, star anise – anything that tastes like licorice, aniseed or celery. Funnily enough I eat celery itself sometimes, as long as it’s raw. People put it into soups and chicken stews and to me it takes the taste right out!

    • Funny Margaret, I’m not a huge Licorice fan but I love celeriac, fennel and star anise! And interesting that you’re not the first person to comment on celery here :)

  • When I was growing up, my dad who was a navy cook was the cook in our house. I don’t know why but he thought that anything that was good was better with lima beans. I think I’ve eaten my life’s worth of lima beans. I have tried them from time to time but can’t get past my aversion. Friends tell me that if I ate fresh ones “I would love them”. Maybe and maybe if someone else makes them I might try them.

    On another note, my twin boys were united in not liking anything green when they were first introduced to food, even if I tried to disguise or bury it they seemed to know it was there. And then one day, when they were about 18 months old, we were eating in a fancy restaurant (can’t remember why or where) and the waiter was serving the meal from a platter. One of the boy suddenly reached over and grabbed a stalk of broccoli. And we never looked back. Green was suddenly in. Who knows how food phobias start or end.

    I’ve never been particularly fond of cooked peas although I do love them raw. I’ll give your mushy peas a chance. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I love most veggies but I just hate the taste and smell of celery… any recipe recommendations?? Please?

    • Celery… Interesting April… You know I think it’s at its best when used as a supporting flavour in soups or stews. To be honest I don’t have any celery recipes on their own… Although I do like to make a celery salad with the yellow inner stalks. They tend to be milder in flavour so might be a good place to start :)

  • Kale. WHAT in the name of all that’s holy (or not) is it with kale? Here in America it is all the rage and I can…not…stand the stuff!! It’s like trying to eat a net petticoat!! Good god….

    • I see where you’re coming from Sharon! If you’re ever tempted to give kale another chance there’s a lemony kale recipe here on stonesoup that has converted a few people…

  • I thought I was the only person who hated peas. Well I might be now. Mushy peas picture made me cringe. I eat peas if the cook doesn’t know I hate but if the cook knows well no way. I even pick out of fried rice. I eat ALL other vegies. Thanks for your posts, usually enjoy.

  • I can’t stand okra. Not fried and certainly not boiled. I think it’s the texture. And the way it looks. And the taste.

    • I’m not so big on Okra either Cheryl… But I have had it in restaurants where I did actually enjoy it… A tricky one I think!

  • Hi Jules,
    I have a bit of a pea trauma also, mainly because when I was little the mostly they ostly got served canned – and grey. Ugh!
    I do cook with (frozen) peas now, and your recipe very much reminds me of a pea soup that I like. It’s basically cooked the same way, only you add a little bit of stock once you’ve browned your onion and wilted your leafy vegs (I use rocket or basil). Then blend, add more stock if needed, and serve with grated pecorino. Yum!

  • I hated peas until I finally decided to please my husband by making creamed peas and carrots, using fresh peas and carrots from the garden. I followed a recipe I found that instructed me to steam the peas until bright green. That was all the cooking they needed, and the dish was delicious! That’s how I found out how peas *should* taste. Sweet and delectable!

  • My daughter & I also hate peas! I think it is the texture! I also remember eating cold tinned peas in salads which I hated! Over the last few years I occasionally cook and eat frozen baby peas as long as there is gravy. My daughter however, is still not convinced. Will give the mushy peas a go.

  • Learning to give new foods and vegetables a chance is definitely challenging, but we couldn’t agree more with your helpful tips and suggestions! We can’t wait to try these mushy peas, and really appreciate your notes on how to prepare them for different diet preferences.

  • My son loves pea bruschetta….taken from “the Feed Zone” by Thomas and Lim. 1 cup cooked peas (frozen are fine), 1 cup blanched spinach or other greens, 1/2 cup chopped herbs (we use basil), a table spoon of pesto and a little salt. Blitz this until it forms a mushy pea consistency and serve on toasted ciabatta topped with shaved parmesan. Stores in a jar and is often served for breakfast in our house!

  • Great post and discussion!! can’t resist asking about the super pot you are using in this photo and in many others, such a favourite. Is it Le Creuset and if so, what are the dimensions?
    Thanks x33

  • Hi Jules just found your website and love it, nothing worse than finding a recipe with a huge list of ingredients so your recipes are great for me – quick, healthy and few ingredients! Made these peas and they are totally amazing and loved by all of the family. Thanks again. Donna.xx

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