Pea balls – let’s give peas a tasty second chance!

Have you ever made pea balls? Good old Latvian dishes are good ideas for eating peas in a tastier way.

It is very important for Latvians to honor the traditions. As Latvians live according to the Solar calendar, every holiday in the year has an important ritual meaning. Just like the food that is brought to the table. Because holiday meals for Latvians have never been just simple eating. 😉

At Christmas, Latvians must put at least 12 dishes on the table and eat at least 9 times. 12 dishes symbolize prosperity and a good harvest in the coming year, and frequent eating means wealth. Have a rich year and let the eater become rich himself.

Big grey peas with onion and bacon is a very important dish of the Latvian Christmas table.

Peas mean money and prosperity, good success, new life in the home and garden. Peas help people to roll up, to reach to the light and to the sun.

Christmas is the time when peas are eaten more often but let’s be honest – in some houses they are served on the table only on Christmas Eve to respect the old traditions.

But since there are roasts and sauerkraut, sausages, potatoes, bread, honey, pies and many other goodies on the Christmas table, simple peas with bacon often stay unnoticed .

Big grey peas zutini
Big grey peas with meat and onions – national Latvian dish

Therefore, it is time to give peas a better chance to be eaten!

Do you know how to do it in the most delicious way?

Here is an old and delicious Latvian recipe.

Pea balls or in latvian language – “Zirņu pikas jeb zirņu pītes”

  • 300 grams of boiled peas
  • 150 gr fried bacon with onions
  • 2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • Hemp seeds

Useful tip: Want to make the pea balls more tasty? Break away from the old recipe and add dried tomatoes.

Traditional “pea balls” are made at Christmas from uneaten peas, bacon and boiled potatoes. Why do you need potatoes? To “stretch” the food and make it less filling. If you have leftover potatoes from the party table, put them here.

But if you don’t have potatoes, you can make pea balls without them.

Grind the pasty peas and fried bacon with onions in a meat grinder.

Mix ground peas, bacon and chopped tomatoes in a bowl. Add cream to make the mass more flexible. Then make a small balls, which you can wrap in hemp. Ancient Latvians used hemp seeds. They crunch pleasantly between the teeth, but some people don’t like it. Well, peeled hemp can be perfectly used for this purpose. They are sweet, soft, like nuts and they make the balls look great. If you can’t find them you can use sesame or crushed nuts.

Pea balls with hemp seeds

And that is all! A perfect old recipe to make a great hearty snack.

And for Latvians – to give a tasty chance to old tradition. And reduce food waste.


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