Peas and Feta Make Everything Better

These three recipes take 30 minutes or less, and sing of spring.

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By Tanya Sichynsky

Spring is a real jolt to the senses. For the seasonally depressed, the first sight of tulips and cherry blossoms can be cathartic. For the allergy-stricken, the jolt is more of an affront, the deluge of pollen irritating the eyes and sinuses.

The arrival of longer days may be the greatest shock to the system. Earlier sunrises are a small price to pay for brighter evenings, but daylight stretching well past 7 p.m. has broken my internal clock. I’ll dash out for a stroll to catch up on a podcast, or go grab a drink with a friend, assuming I have plenty of time before I need to cobble dinner together. But by the time I putter into the kitchen, it’s nearing 9 p.m., and I’m wondering where another April evening has gone.

On nights like these, I’ve been reaching for bags of frozen peas to make quick salads and pastas, which bring a bit of spring’s vibrancy into my cooking. Flash-frozen at their peak, these peas will rival any fresh ones you might spot at a farmers’ market, and require far less prep time. (Though if you come upon fresh peas or happen to grow them, know that I am jealous.)

If I have a block of feta in the cheese drawer, I’m that much closer to dinner. Pops of sweet, starchy peas giving way to bits of tangy, crumbly feta is the good kind of springtime sensory jolt. But don’t stop there!

Peas and feta shine alongside:

asparagus + iceberg lettuce + a spicy, herby yogurt dressing

spinach + orzo + dill, parsley or cilantro

butter beans + mixed herbs + yogurt + dukkah

Whether you make Hetty McKinnon’s crunchy iceberg salad, Melissa Clark’s one-pan orzo with spinach and feta or Yotam Ottolenghi’s yogurty butter beans with pistachio dukkah, you’ll revel in the brightness created with frozen peas, feta, a bit of seasonal produce and 30 minutes of waning daylight.

Crunchy Iceberg Salad

View this recipe.

One-Pan Orzo With Spinach and Feta

View this recipe.

Yogurty Butter Beans With Pistachio Dukkah

View this recipe.

One More Thing!

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, I have a hankering for icy, citrusy beverages — preferably of the nonalcoholic variety — that would be best enjoyed on a patio, in a park or on a fire escape. We have two new recipes that fit that bill, one that I’ve already tried and one that I’m desperate to make (and either would taste delicious alongside a meal teeming with spring vegetables).

The first is Rebekah Peppler’s nonalcoholic dirty lemon tonic, which I had the privilege of testing before we published it this month. It’s briny, tart and pleasantly bitter from muddled preserved lemon, fresh lemon wheels and just enough sugar.

And the second is Gabriella Lewis’s creamy limonada, which just hit the New York Times Cooking database this week. The Brazilian lemonade — which, despite its name, often uses limes — is made from puréed whole citrus, sweetened condensed milk, a little sugar and a whole lot of ice.

Cheers, and see you next week!

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