Greek Peas / Arakas Kokinistos

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Greek peas with tomato and dill

Greek peas with tomato and dill

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.

finely chopped fresh dill

finely chopped fresh dill

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.

frozen peas work well in this recipe

frozen peas work well in this recipe

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.

tomato paste, salt,, pepper, Greek oregano and onions

tomato paste, salt,, pepper, Greek oregano and onions

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!

sauteed chopped onions in olive oil with herbs and spices

sauteed chopped onions in olive oil with herbs and spices

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!

4 1/2 cups of perfect Greek peas

4 1/2 cups of perfect Greek peas


  • 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

Cooking Instructions

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.

Greek peas piled high on top of a piece of grilled bread

Greek peas piled high on top of a piece of grilled bread

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17 Responses to Greek Peas / Arakas Kokinistos

  1. The Olive and The Sea October 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    I’m so glad to have found your site! Couldn’t agree more that this recipe for peas is absolutely delicious. While I’m not technically vegan, I eat vegan on a regular basis thanks to delicious recipes like this one. Looking forward to reading more!

    • Kiki October 8, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      So glad you found us! Love your site, btw, and can’t wait to try your tomato sauce recipe 🙂

  2. Shannon October 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    This was so delicious! I devoured the first batch and I’m cooking up a second batch right now.

    • Kiki October 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      Shannon, I’m addicted to them myself 🙂

  3. Holly Pearson January 19, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    Your recipes are some of the very best I’ve seen. I’m so glad I found you. Do you have a cookbook to purchase? Thank you so much for your authentic Greek recipes that are vegan.

  4. Rich January 26, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    When I lived in Athens, this was the lunch I had almost every day. I experimented with replicating this dish for months, until I got it just the way I remember. If you’d like to try some additional ideas:

    1) Split the dill into two parts, add one before the long simmer, then add the other half for the last two minutes. The combination of fresh/cooked dill is great.

    2) Squeeze about 1/2 a lemon’s worth of juice at the end. The brightness will pop the dill and tomato flavor.

    I see this is a vegan site, so I won’t recommend to serve with feta. :~)

    • Kiki January 28, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      Rich, thank you for sharing your suggestions – the idea of splitting the dill is very smart and the lemon, I put lemon on everything myself so can definitely see this working 🙂 thanks again, Kiki

  5. Holly Pearson January 28, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    I just came home from food shopping and decided to check my computer for new messages. Funny that there should be comments about your “Greek Peas” recipe. I went to shop mainly for the ingredients in that very recipe!
    The Greek Vegan is one of my favorite sites. Thank you.

    • Kiki January 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      You’re so sweet Holly, thank you! Kiki 🙂

      ps – check out Rich’s comment here as well, great ideas for this dish!

  6. Andrea February 24, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    My husband is Greek and vegetarian, so happy to have found your site for all the recipes to cook him.
    Will try this one, he will love it!

    Kali orexi

  7. Nan McFerren April 17, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    i just finished making this for the 1st time. EXCELLENT!! I managed to survive the fast of Great Lent using your website & NISTEIA magazine. It also made me the cooking star of Pre-Sanctified Liturgy dinners which, given what wonderful cooks go to my church, is quite a feat! Thank you! Thank you!

  8. Jason August 12, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    I have to say that we are not vegans, but love your recipes. During fast and after we regularly use these recipes. No one ever expects the Milo Pita to be vegan. The peas I add carrots n zucchini (sometimes potato). Thank you from this Xenos!

  9. Joanna October 13, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    I made these tonight for dinner — delicious! I thought they needed a bit more salt so I added more, and they were perfect. I am half greek and my husband is fully greek, and both of us loved them. So glad I found your blog!

  10. Andy October 9, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    I made these to accompany a traditionally meaty Jewish holiday dinner recently, along with your mushroom stifado (served as an appetizer) and gigantes plaki. I doubled the pea recipe, hoping to have plenty leftover for myself; wrong! The only thing that didn’t work for me was the volume of liquid when scaling up; if I counted correctly, doubling would call for a whopping eight cups of water. I reduced by a couple cups to start but that still left me straining and discarding in the end! Still the peas were “swimming” and delicious. Big hit; thank you.

  11. Victoria December 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    Had this at my cousins last night. Sooo yummy.

  12. Lukia March 3, 2017 at 4:18 am #

    I grew up in Greece – we always made this with potatoes or carrots as well. And loooooooots of olive oil! I’ve never thawed the peas first so will try that next time.

  13. Mariann (Mariana) February 10, 2020 at 6:02 pm #

    My parents are from Greece and you make it exactly the way I was raised. It was the only way I would eat peas.

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