Pea Shoots

pea shoots
Pea shootsCaitlin Santomauro

Pea shoots (also known as pea vines, pea tendrils, and pea leaves) are used in many traditional Chinese soups and stir-fries. Snipped from the newly sprouted tips of young sugar pea vines or garden pea plants, local farm-raised pea shoots are available for just one month, at the beginning of the pea season, in early spring (March in warmer climates, April in colder ones). Hothouse-grown pea shoots are shipped year-round to specialty food stores across the country.

Pea shoots have a fresh, sweet flavor and delicate texture that works well in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, risottos, and soups.

Featured Pea Shoot Recipes

Tips

  • When buying pea shoots, look for fresh, fully green leaves. Check the cut ends of the stalks, too; they should be moist.
  • In the case of larger shoots (5-6 inches), cut off the thick base of the stalk and break the shoot into 2- to 3-inch pieces.
  • Rinse and spin dry before using.

Where to Buy

Look for pea shoots at your local farmers' market or specialty food store.