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Healthy Cookie: Crunchy Baked Parmesan Snap Peas

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Explain this to me: there are people who like ketchup but don’t like tomatoes; there are vegetarians who don’t like salad. These are what I like to call food paradoxes, and I happen to be guilty of both of them.

Do you have a food paradox? I can’t be the only one. I know Mother Cookie loves white chocolate but generally does not like sweets. What a freak, right? The thing about food paradoxes though is that they only make sense to the person who has it. I don’t think it’s weird that I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like salad, but other people never fail to notice and comment on it. It’s like how my sister not only dislikes nuts but is allergic to them, and yet she loves and consumes peanut butter. She thinks this is perfectly normal, but I think she’s a freak of nature, and possibly an adrenaline junkie who likes tempting fate.

Are we all just crazy, or could these food paradoxes be normal?  I feel better knowing I’m not alone. One of my strangest food paradoxes is that I dislike peas, but I love sugar snap peas. These are practically the same thing, and yet the extra smidgen of sweetness and the crunchy pod make sugar snaps ten times more appealing to me than regular peas.

In fact, these sweeties have become my latest snacking obsession. I keep a bag in the fridge at all times to snack on when the mood strikes. You wouldn’t catch me snacking on regular peas like that, but sugar snaps are a sweet exception. And since I’ve been eating so many of them, I found a new, easy way to prepare them, just a simple switch that highlights their sweetness while adding an oven-baked upgrade: Crunchy Baked Parmesan Sugar Snap Peas.DSC_6250

You can bake these up in just a few minutes and have a flavorful, crispy and cheesy snack that will kick any potato chip craving in the butt while being ten times better for you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, oven-baking is a magical process that infuses a whole load of fantastic flavors without the fat or calories of frying. It’s a beautiful thing.

It’s so effortless to chomp down handfuls and handfuls of these, much like you do when you plop down on the couch with a bag of chips. Luckily, you don’t have to feel like a guilty Fatty McFattington for doing so because these crunchy snap peas are good for you. Delicious and healthy? There’s another paradox for you.

Who cares what other people think about your food preferences? Weird as your paradoxes may be, all that matters is that you eat what you love and get the nutrients you need. And whether you like peas or hate ‘em like I do, you’re going to love this simple snack.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Parmesan is an amazing cheese because a little goes a long way. You save serious calories with a sprinkle of parm instead of a blanket of another cheese.
  2. The hot red pepper flakes are optional. If you like spice, it’s a great way to kick things up.
  3. These also make a delicious side dish.
  4. The shape of a snap pea makes it feel like you’re eating a French fry. That’s another reason they’re so satisfying.
  5. Fresh is the way to be with these peas.
  6. Kosher salt is coarser and more flavorful. If you sub in table salt, it won’t have quite the same effect. But if you must do so, use ½ teaspoon instead.DSC_6298

Crunchy Baked Parmesan Snap Peas
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag fresh sugar snap peas
  • 2 tsp. olive oil or nonstick cooking spray*
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

*Either works, but the cooking spray is a bit less calories

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and either sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the olive oil or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Lay the snap peas out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil or spray lightly with nonstick spray. Use your hands to lightly toss the peas and make sure they’re evenly coated.
  3. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes or until they start turning golden brown. Flip the peas then sprinkle with parmesan. Bake for another 5 – 10 minutes or until browned and crisp. Let cool slightly then enjoy.

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Colleen Bierstine

5 Comments

  1. I’m another vegetarian who doesn’t like salads! But I guess what I really mean is I don’t like boring salads. Lettuce just doesn’t do it for me.

    I LOVE the parm on these snap peas! Great idea.

  2. Not a vegetarian at all…but been looking to add more veggie dishes to my diet. I had a bag from my local fruit market of baked sugar snap peas (I think they were baked, anyways.) it was really good, but came in a small bag and was almost $3. Umm no thanks! lol. So I thought “Why not just make my own when the harvests come in?” I’ve already been thinking of baking my own potato chips, veggie chips anyways, so it was a natural progression.

    Tomatoes and Ketchup-My brother is such that hates tomatoes but loves ketchup, he says it’s because the texture of tomatoes is weird. Personally I love tomatoes and ketchup.

    Peanuts and Peanut Butter- I think with that, it’s because the butter is smoother, often sweeter then eating regular nuts. The texture being different is probably the same for ketchup, come to think about it.

    Salads-I like salads but they have to be fun, preferably sweet and savory tastes mixed in (Also, that way less likely to want dessert afterwards. If unable to avoid the dessert craving, ricotta cheese with peach slices is great or cottage cheese.)

  3. How long can you store these? Presuming you can keep any around long enough? And do you store in the fridge or cabinet?

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