Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

Peas for all.

Southerners like to take advantage of seasonal produce. Our tables are overflowing with veggies freshly picked from local farms (or even our own gardens!), and we stock up at Saturday morning farmers’ markets so that we’re ready for the week ahead. One great way to make the most of seasonal produce is by making a pea salad. Harvest and put up your peas to ensure that you’ll have a constant supply year-round. Use freshly picked green peas all spring long, gather versatile field peas in summer, and be sure to whip up a black-eyed pea salad for your New Year’s meal. (They’re said to bring good luck!) So why is pea salad such a Southern classic? Let us count the ways.

Peas go with everything.

It’s true. Few Southern dishes are quite as customizable as pea salad. Add in your favorite pepper jellies, fresh veggies, and all else for a one-of-a-kind side. Pea salad recipes pair peas with unexpected and oh-so delicious seasonal ingredients, but they also lets us personalize them. Check out our Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad, which combines frozen black-eyed peas with cilantro, red pepper jelly, jalapeno, bell pepper, watercress, and fresh peaches. Lucky indeed!

Pea salad is easy to make.

When fresh peas take center stage, little else needs to be done. Pea salad practically makes itself. Just ask our Sugar Snap-Snow Pea Salad recipe, which combines three types of peas—fresh sugar snap peas, fresh snow peas, and frozen baby English peas. Add in soy sauce, pomegranate or cranberry juice, ginger, and sesame seeds, and you have a pea salad everyone will savor.

Pea salad is a crowd-pleaser.

Apart from the few Southerners who have sworn off peas, the rest of us can’t get enough of them. They’re fresh and flavorful, a constant on our tables and a nostalgic connection to years past. It seems like pea salad has always been popular. That’s why pea salad is such a Southern classic—one we’ll never tire of making or of serving to friends and family.

What is your go-to pea salad recipe? Do you have any special additions? We think we know the answer to this one, but is it one of your go-to New Year’s meal sides?