Plump, sweet little green peas swimming around in a sauce of tomatoey, dill goodness – how good does that sound? Add a piece of crusty or grilled bread to help sop up all the crazy yummy soupy extra and you’ve got yourself one of the tastiest and simplest meals in Greek cooking.
Greek peas are phenomenal and hands down our absolute favorite way to enjoy peas. They’re perfection right off the stove and even a bit better than that a day or two later! This dish is infinitely scalable and very easy to reheat. In Greece a big bowl of arakas kokinistos is often enjoyed as a meal in itself and Greek peas are also an amazing side dish to just about anything you can think of.
Fresh dill is key to making this dish the standout it is. I like to use my kitchen scissors to cut dill into very fine pieces. Remember to measure your amount of dill AFTER it’s been chopped.
When available, always use fresh peas. Shucking them is one of the joys of summer vegetables. Most of the year though I use frozen. Make sure to use good quality, preferably organic, frozen peas. I would not recommend using canned peas. They just don’t work well and often break down into mush as the dish cooks. Make sure to thaw peas completely before adding to the pot. Most times, I spread out the frozen peas on a thick dishtowel on the counter and roll my hand of them a few times and they’re thawed in about 30 minutes.
Just a few simple ingredients make this the most delicious sauce imaginable. Tomato paste, onions, dill, salt, pepper and oregano – your peas will be swimming in amazing! You have the option to use less tomato paste depending on how much tomatoey taste you like. I usually go with a 1/3 cup but have alternately gone with both a full 1/2 cup for super tomato flavor and also a 1/4 cup for a very light sauce with equally good results.
Try to chop your onions finely. They should almost melt into the finished sauce. Onions are on their own here, no garlic, so be sure to be generous and I prefer to use sweet white onions but have successfully substituted red onions on occasion.
When adding your spices and fresh dill to the sautéed onions, heat on low for only 3-4 minutes. You want to just release the oils and aromas without cooking these ingredients to death. Mix everything well to combine completely. This is the base of your dish so make sure not to skip this step!
Stir your fresh or thawed peas into the herbs and spices and cook on low for about another 3-4 minutes . Once you add the tomato paste dissolved in water and the additional 2 cups of water, bring everything up to a boil. Let the pan boil for about 3 minutes or so and lower heat way down. Then just cover pan and cook on low heat for 40 minutes – you’re done, its that easy!
- 3 cups green peas
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/3 cup tomato paste dissolved in 2 cups warm water – use 1/4 if you like less tomato flavor (see above)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp crushed, dried Greek oregano
- 2 cups water
Thaw frozen peas.
Gently sauté chopped onion in olive oil over low heat until almost translucent.
Add salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed Greek oregano and fresh chopped dill to onions. Stir to incorporate completely and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
Add fresh or thawed peas, stir well and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste dissolved in 2 cups of water with additional 2 cups of water and mix well.
Raise heat to high and bring up to a boil. This may take about 5 minutes. Allow pan to boil for about 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and cook , covered, for 40 minutes. Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days.
When reheating, add 2 tablespoons of water for every cup of peas and reheat, covered, on low.
This recipe makes approx 4 1/2 cups and can be easily scaled to make larger amounts.