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This easy Italian Peas recipe is simple and quick for a weeknight dinner but special enough to serve with your holiday meal. Fresh or frozen peas get a flavor boost from chopped onions and garlic in this wonderful, simple side dish.

a bowl filled with peas and onions

If you are looking for a quick and easy vegetable side dish to go with your supper, these peas are your answer. They go great with any meal from meatloaf hamburger patties (please tell me you’ve tried these by now – they are a total family favorite) to Easter dinner. We had these for St. Patrick’s Day this year with bangers & mash and it was delicious!

To be honest, peas have never been my favorite. I have always just kind of mushed them in with bites of potato to try and get them down. I like them IN things (looking at you chicken pot pie), just usually not on their own. It’s not that they were often bad, they were just never very good.

Then I discovered Italian peas. And they are legitimately tasty! And I no longer dread a pile of peas on my plate! And my kids gobbled them up!

An image of a pan of peas and onions for an easy vegetable side dish.

I have zero idea why these are called Italian peas, other than I first saw the recipe on All Recipes and that’s what they were called. Possibly they are Italian? But maybe not? I guess it just sounds better than peas and onions.

How to Make Italian Peas

First, if using frozen peas, open up the bag and dump the peas into a big bowl of cold water. Let them thaw that way for 20 minutes, then drain well. Since the window where I have fresh peas is so short, this is what I almost always do.

While the peas thaw, finely chop 1/2 a large onion and mince a couple cloves of garlic. Saute the onion in a large pan over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of olive oil for 4-5 minutes until they soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Add the drained pea, water, and chicken bouillon, seasoning with a little salt and pepper too. Then cover and cook for a few minutes, just until the peas are heated through and vibrant green. You don’t want wrinkly, mushy, overcooked peas.

An image sauteed peas and onions for an easy veggie side dish.

You CAN make this recipe without defrosting the frozen peas first. It will just take a couple minutes longer to heat the peas all the way through and I find that it’s easier to overcook them this way, which is why I like thawing them in water first. 

It’s the same approach to cook fresh peas. Just add them to the pan with the onion and saute them for 3-5 minutes until they are heated through and tender. A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese is the perfect finish for these Italian peas, but totally optional and not necessary if you don’t have it on hand.

An image of a bowl full of Italian peas. An image of peas with bangers and mash.

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a bowl filled with peas and onions
Yield: 6 servings

Italian Peas Recipe

This easy Italian Peas recipe is simple and quick for a weeknight dinner but special enough to serve with your holiday meal.  Fresh or frozen peas get a flavor boost from chopped onions and garlic in this wonderful, simple side dish.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen green peas, thawed in cold water for 20 minutes, then well-drained
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of chicken bouillon granules
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and saute until the onions are soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds more until fragrant.
  2. Add peas, water, and chicken bouillon granules, then cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the peas are tender and heated through.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Adapted from All Recipes.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Sodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g


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