Kid-friendly Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta + Basil Sweet Pea Salad + Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta + Brilliant Basil Sweet Pea Salad + Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade

Family Meal Plan: Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta + Basil Sweet Pea Salad + Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade

Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta + Brilliant Basil Sweet Pea Salad + Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Arina P Habich/
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta

Take a journey through a classic tale with a modern culinary twist. This dish, inspired by the fabled princess and the pea, introduces an element of playfulness to the table. In our story, the green peas don't hide under mattresses; instead, they're front and center, cooked with green onions and blended into a velvety sauce. The real magic happens with the pasta—it's "lazy" because it bypasses the usual boiling step. It's cooked right in the sauce itself, gently soaking up all the flavors as it cooks. It's delicious and nutritious, and young chefs will savor every creamy bite! Truly, it's a dish fit for royalty!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 3 green onions
  • 4 lemons
  • 2 T chopped fresh basil
  • 2 C lettuce (choose your favorite variety—mine is arugula)
  • 2 C frozen green peas
  • 1 egg **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/3 C T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 C pasta, choose your favorite—mine is rigatoni **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 10 1/4 C water (to boil pasta and for lemonade)

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • combine :

    to merge two or more ingredients into one mixture, like a batter of flour, eggs, and milk.

  • fold :

    to gently and slowly mix a light ingredient into a heavier ingredient so as not to lose air and to keep the mixture tender, such as incorporating whipped egg whites into a cake batter or folding blueberries into pancake batter; folding is a gentler action than mixing or whisking.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • parcook :

    to partially cook foods so they can be quickly finished later.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

Equipment Checklist

  • Pitcher
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Citrus squeezer or strainer
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon or whisk
  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Colander or strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Medium bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Citrus squeezer (optional)


Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta

  • 4 to 6 C water to boil pasta
  • 2 C pasta, choose your favorite—mine is rigatoni **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free pasta of choice; for EGG ALLERGY check label to ensure the brand is egg-free)**
  • 1 C frozen green peas
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 T water)**
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free grated Parmesan cheese)**
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 4 to 6 C water for boiling pasta + a few splashes for blending

Brilliant Basil Sweet Pea Salad

  • 1 C frozen green peas
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped (about 5 leaves)
  • 2 C lettuce (choose your favorite variety, mine is arugula)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T grated Parmesan cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free grated Parmesan cheese)**
  • 1 pinch salt + more to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper + more to taste

Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade

  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped (about 5 leaves)
  • 4 C cold water

Food Allergen Substitutions

Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free pasta.
  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 T water. Check the pasta label to ensure the brand is egg-free.

Brilliant Basil Sweet Pea Salad

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free grated Parmesan cheese.

Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade

  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.


Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta


This pasta recipe is perfect for an afternoon when you want some delicious pasta but can’t be bothered to go out to a restaurant. Take all of your favorite parts of pasta carbonara and make it green and healthy. You will combine heaps of green peas, green onions, and grated Parmesan to create a surprisingly creamy 30-minute meal.

boil + parcook

In a large pot, bring roughly 4 to 6 cups of water and a heaping pinch of salt to a boil. Once boiling, add 2 C of pasta and cook for 6 minutes. Remove the pasta using a colander and discard the water. Set the pasta in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Reserve the pasta for later.

chop + sauté

Chop 3 green onions and combine in the empty pasta pot with roughly 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.

measure + mix + blend

Measure and mix in 2 cups of frozen peas with the onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove half the mixture from the pot and put it in your blender (or pitcher for use with an immersion blender). Blend until smooth (you may need to add a few splashes of water). Once smooth, pour the mixture back into the pot.

stir + toss

Return the pasta to the pot with the pea mixture, a small splash of water, and a small pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Bring this to a simmer over medium heat.

whisk + squeeze + fold

While the pasta is cooking, kid chefs can get a separate bowl and whisk together 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese with 1 egg, and then squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon. Fold this mixture into the pasta and peas in the pot, cover, and continue cooking over low heat, just until the egg is cooked and the pasta mixture has thickened.


Serve this tasty entrée alongside Brilliant Basil Sweet Pea Salad and Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade! Enjoy!

Brilliant Basil Sweet Pea Salad

chop + combine

Start off by having your kids rip, tear, and chop 2 cups lettuce and 2 tablespoons basil (about 5 leaves). Combine those in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 cup frozen green peas. Gently stir to combine.

squeeze + toss + taste

Squeeze the juice from 1/2 lemon over the salad. Toss the salad with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. The salad is basically ready! Take a small taste to see if the salad needs more salt, pepper, or lemon juice before serving.

serve + enjoy

Serve this light salad alongside Princess and the Pea Lazy Pasta and Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade! Enjoy!

Fairy-Tale Basil Lemonade


Roughly chop 2 tablespoons of basil (about 5 leaves) and place them at the bottom of a pitcher.

squeeze + measure

Cut 3 lemons in half and, using a juicer or strainer, squeeze the lemon juice into a pitcher. Then, measure and pour 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract into the pitcher.

stir + serve

Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or a whisk until the sugar dissolves. Stir in 4 cups of cold water. Once the sugar is dissolved fully, pour over ice or drink it as is.

Surprise Ingredient: Peas!

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Photo by R Khalil

Hi! I’m Peas!

"Hi, there! Let's see if you can guess what we are. We grow in shells; you might see us frozen in winter, fresh in spring, and canned all year round; and sometimes we're “split” and cooked in soup! You guessed it! We're Peas! We're good in salads, soups, casseroles, mixed with corn and other vegetables, and all by ourselves! We can be tricky to eat, but if we slide off your fork, you can spear us or use your knife to push us back on. Or, you might even try eating us with chopsticks!"


  • Peas in the wild are found in the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Archaeological evidence dates peas in Iraq and Turkey to 7,500 BCE. Domesticated peas were developed from wild peas starting in the late Neolithic Era (around 5,000 BCE). Peas are one of the oldest crops to be cultivated.
  • The oldest pea ever found was 3,000 years old and was discovered on the border of Burma and Thailand. 
  • During the Middle Ages, peas were a large part of people's diets in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. 
  • In the 17th and 18th centuries, peas started being picked when they were green and immature. In England, new cultivars or varieties of peas were developed that they called "garden" or "English" peas. 
  • Thomas Jefferson grew more than 30 pea cultivars at his Monticello estate in Virginia. 
  • Clarence Birdseye, known by many as the founder of the modern frozen food industry, was the first individual to freeze peas. 
  • The world record for the most peas eaten in an hour is 7,175 peas, held by Janet Harris of Sussex, England, in 1984. She ate one pea at a time with chopsticks!! 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Peas are members of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family, commonly known as legumes, including peanuts, chickpeas, licorice, alfalfa, beans, carob, and soybeans. 
  • Peas are edible, usually green, round seeds that grow in a pod. The pea pods are technically a fruit because they have seeds and grow from a flower, but peas are eaten as a vegetable. 
  • Pea plants are annual plants, living for about one year. At the end of their life cycle, they can be cut back to the root, which decomposes, releasing nitrogen into the soil for the next crop of plants.
  • The singular term "pea" was back-formed in the mid 17th century by removing the "se" from the word "pease," which was mistakenly construed as a plural form. "Pease" came from the Old English "pise," from the Latin "pisum," from the Greek "pison."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • You can pick garden peas about three weeks after flowering. The pods of shelling peas or garden peas are inedible and will swell with the growth of the peas, becoming cylindrical before harvesting. 
  • Snow peas and sugar snap peas are edible pods ready to harvest about a week after flowering. The pods can be picked when they're about two to three inches long before they begin to swell and just as the seeds or peas begin to develop. 
  • For the best taste, you'll want to eat the peas as soon after harvesting as possible. Fresh peas will last in your refrigerator for up to one week. The more peas you pick, the more the plant will produce.
  • Frozen peas are almost as tasty as fresh ones because the growers freeze them within two and a half hours of being picked. Plus, they quickly thaw when added to hot foods.
  • You can cook and serve peas alone as a vegetable, with added butter and salt. You can also add them to various dishes, such as salads, soups, casseroles, and savory pies. Snow peas and snap peas are often used in stir-fries and Chinese cuisine. Peas can even be mashed and made into a sauce, a spread, or guacamole!


  • Peas are loaded with nutrients, including fiber, protein, vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin K, niacin, folate, potassium, and beta carotene. These nutrients improve the body's digestive and immune systems, convert the carbohydrates we eat into energy, metabolize fats and protein, protect skin and eyes, and help prevent bleeding.


History of Carbonara!

Photo by Alessio Orru/
  • Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish. Spaghetti is the typical pasta for the dish, but fettuccine, rigatoni, penne, and others can also be used. Also included are cured pork, like guanciale or pancetta, black pepper, and pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese (or both). Variations of carbonara also have vegetables, cream, and garlic.
  • The origins of the dish and its name are uncertain, but many think it originated in the Lazio region, which includes the city of Rome, from "cacio e uova," or pasta with "cheese and eggs." The name "carbonara" may have come from the black pepper used to season the pasta, which resembled charcoal. 
  • Sticky Fingers Cooking has a veggie and egg version: Lazy Princess and the Pea Creamy Pasta (see recipe). Yum!

Let's Learn About "The Princess and the Pea" Fairy Tale!

Photo by goodmoments/

The short fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea," by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, has been told to many generations of children since it was published in 1835.

The story's plot is about a prince who wants to marry a real princess, but even though he has traveled the world looking for his princess, he can't find the right one. When a young woman shows up at the castle door during a storm claiming to be a princess, his mother, the queen, questions whether she is a real princess because she looks so bedraggled from the wind and rain. 

The queen decides to test whether she is a real princess by having her sleep on twenty mattresses and twenty eiderdown quilts with one pea sitting in the middle of the bed frame, below the bottom mattress. The queen thought that a true princess would be sensitive enough to feel the pea and would have a poor sleep.

Sure enough, in the morning, the queen asked the princess how she slept. The would-be princess answered that she had slept very badly because there was something hard in the bed and she woke up black and blue with bruises.

The fairy tale ends with the prince marrying the princess, the pea being put into the museum, and the claim that the story is true! 

The story was eventually translated from Danish into English and over 100 other languages. Adaptations based on the fairy tale have also been made, including operas, musicals, cartoons, and movies. 

Some people think this story and others like it may have developed from the idea that royalty and other aristocrats had "thinner skin" and were more sensitive to difficulties and slights than the rest of society because they did not often experience those things. 

The Princess and the Pea remains a beloved tale, especially when accompanied by fun paintings of a princess lying on top of twenty mattresses!

THYME for a Laugh

What do polite vegetables always say? 

Peas to meet you!

THYME for a Laugh

We don't have any vegetable jokes yet, so if you do, …

… lettuce know!

That's Berry Funny

Why did the lemon have no friends? 

Because she was a sour-puss!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do vegetables wish for, more than anything else in the whole world? 

World Peas.

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you give an injured lemon?


That's Berry Funny

"Knock, knock!

"Who’s there? 


"Noah who? 

"Noah herb named Basil?

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the policeman say to the suspect? 

You have the right to romaine silent.

That's Berry Funny

What did the basil say to the chef? 

Stop pesto-ing me!

The Yolk's On You

Why should you never float a boat in a salad?  

Because it might hit an iceberg!

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