Purple Snow Peas Add A Vibrant Pop Of Color To Any Dish

Snow peas (sometimes known as sugar peas) are as versatile as they are tasty. For starters, you're not just getting the peas: The flat pods are edible, too, providing a crisp snap and bright vegetal taste. Beyond removing their fibrous strings, snow peas require zero prep beyond a good, cleansing rinse. After that, you can use them fresh in salads, steamed or sautéed as a side dish, or as part of a colorful stir fry. Speaking of colorful, if presentation is also part of your cooking strategy, snow peas come in colors other than bright green, including a few dazzling shades of purple. 

This purple color variation is actually a recent development, having been bred into existence in the early part of this century. Right now, there are about a half-dozen varieties of purple snow peas available, with names like Midnight Snow and Shiraz. Some, like Royal Snow, have a startlingly deep and wine-like hue. Imagine these guys in a red Thai curry, alongside sliced green bell peppers and tofu cubes fried to a light golden hue.

Living a colorful and healthy life

Our eyes — and, consequently, our stomachs — are attracted to combinations of different-colored foods. Think of the bold whites, reds, and greens of a simple Caprese salad (an Italian dish you need to know how to make), provided courtesy of its mozzarella cheese, sliced fresh tomatoes, and shredded basil leaves. It not only looks balanced aesthetically, but is sends a visual cue that we're getting a diversity of nutritional elements, many of which are effective at fighting cancers, promoting heart health, or just generally keeping you in good shape (via Rogel Cancer Center).

Think of any familiar red food, like the aforementioned tomato, or even the star of the cranberry sauce you make from scratch. These tend to be high in an antioxidant called lycopene, which is good for heart health as well as lowering the risk of cancer. According to Food Revolution Network, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables tend to be high in carotenoids, which ultimately get converted into vitamin A (there's going to be a lot of vitamin C in those foods, too). And, as any salad freak will tell you, green vegetables are incredibly healthy to eat. Snow peas, in particular, have an enormous amount of vitamin C and a significant amount of vitamin K, in addition to providing fiber and a low caloric value (via Healthline).

What dishes can you make with purple snow peas?

Purple snow peas are, nutritionally speaking, identical to their green cousins. Likewise, there's no difference between green and purple snow peas with respect to taste and texture. So, any dish you'd make with green snow peas will not only be as delicious (and every bit as healthy) with the purple varieties, but probably more dazzling. (Do bear in mind that, the less cooked these colored pods are, the brighter their color.) Salads immediately come to mind, or possibly a slaw made with orange carrots, light green cucumber, and red cabbage.

In cooked dishes — and aside from basically any stir fry you'd want to make — purple snow peas would be visually arresting when featured in a flash-sautéed salad with cotton-colored slices of water chestnut and bright green mint, studded with black sesame seeds. Ultimately, it's up to you to create your own food palate. The good news is that now you've got another purple option besides eggplant.