Our Old-Fashioned Cheesy Peas On Toast is a simple, homely, wholesome, budget-friendly, comfort-food, and satisfyingly tasty meal that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. Alternatively, this recipe can be used to prepare Creamed Peas. Although we are a plant-based family recipe blog our vegan cheesy peas recipe can be adapted to any dietary requirements so you can use your usual ingredients, and it is also very easy to prepare as gluten-free. If you’re not a fan of peas then you can switch those out and prepare cheesy beans on toast, or simply use the dairy-free cheese sauce for pouring over vegetables, potatoes, rice, or pasta. Also, instead of serving the cheesy peas on toast it can be enjoyed as a side dish.
Cheesy peas are an English vintage classic and serving tasty food over toast was very popular during the 60s’ and 70s’ era but it’s still pretty common today! Cheesy peas on toast are deliciously cheesy, savoury, creamy, with fresh sweet pops from the green peas, and a hearty crunchy bite from the toasted bread.
Origin of cheesy peas on toast
Cheesy peas are a variation of creamed peas as they are simply creamed peas that have a cheesy flavour. The concept of creamed vegetables, including peas, originates in European cooking as cooking vegetables in a creamy sauce is particularly associated with traditional French and English cooking. In these traditions, a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) is often used to create a thick, creamy sauce, into which the cooked vegetables are then mixed through.
Creamed peas gained popularity during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, especially in England and America as during this time, rich, creamy dishes were in fashion mainly with the richer folk. Creamed vegetables were considered a delicacy and often featured in fancy French inspired menus and cookbooks.
However, creamed vegetables became a staple comfort and budget-friendly meal, particularly in the United States during the Great Depression and war years, which led to food rationing. Any available and budget-friendly ingredient could be creamed and turned into a more delicious meal! Also, canned peas, were readily available and affordable, so were often used in place of fresh peas especially to prepare creamed peas.
In modern times, creamed peas or cheesy peas might seem a tad old-fashioned but old-fashioned meals are steadily making a come-back as more people realize that vintage foods are highly adaptable, budget-friendly, and extremely tasty!
Although many people do complain that old-fashioned food is bland or flavourless but really this is where good home-cooking comes in as you can substitute or remove ingredients, or add extra seasonings, ingredients, and flavours, to create a new dish that is tailored to you and your family's preferences.
How to prepare
We are a plant-based family blog so all our ingredient suggestions are for vegan-friendly ones but if you have different dietary requirements then you can use your usual milk and butter, and the nutritional yeast flakes can be replaced with grated vegan cheese or a cheese of your choice.
The ingredients you’ll need for the cheesy peas on toast are - bread for toasting [we used wholemeal or whole-wheat] frozen or fresh peas, plant-based milk, plain or all-purpose flour, vegan butter [or margarine], nutritional yeast flakes [or vegan cheese], mustard powder, ground white pepper and salt. We forgot to add the salt & pepper to the photo below!
First prepare the peas by cooking them according to the package instructions, drain, and keep in the cooking pot with a lid covering so they stay warm while the sauce is cooked.
Prepare the cheese sauce:
Step 1: Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Step 3: Whisk the flour into the melted butter and cook for 1 minute.
Step 4: Slowly add the milk to the flour-fat roux whisking constantly.
Step 5: Once all the milk is whisked in, bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
Step 6: Cook for 5 minutes before adding salt, ground white pepper, mustard powder, and nutritional yeast flakes.
Step 7: Whisk until combined.
Step 8: Add the cooked peas to the cheese sauce and stir.
Step 9: Place slices of toast onto dinner plates.
Serve the cheesy peas over the slices of toast and sprinkle a few extra peas over for a pop of green colour. Alternatively, sprinkle over some freshly chopped parsley or mint, or finely chopped chives.
The cheesy peas can be stored within the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 3 days.
The cheese sauce will become very thick as it’s stored so to reheat mix through some extra milk to loosen it up enough to be easier to reheat. Add to a non-stick saucepan and stir constantly as the sauce is brought to a gentle boil. Reheat for a few minutes stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
Yes, you can use a gluten-free bread for the toast and for the cheese sauce use a gluten-free plain flour.
If preferred, the toast can be omitted and the cheesy peas can be used as a side dish or accompaniment to any meal.
You can use any type of peas for this recipe including frozen peas, fresh peas, or canned peas.
Yes, you can make cheesy beans by using any cooked bean such as haricot beans [navy beans],cannilini beans, butter beans, etc. Or use a fresh cooked bean such as edamame or broad bean.
Yes, as well as cheesy peas or cheesy beans on toast, you could always use the cheese sauce on its own and pour it over cooked veggies or potatoes, or stir it through cooked rice or pasta.
Or use the cheese sauce to prepare cheesy chips or fries- cook the fries or chips and pour the cheese sauce over. Enjoy the chips as is or sprinkle grated cheese over and place under a grill or broiler, or place in an air-fryer or oven, and heat until the cheese melts.
To prepare creamed peas omit the nutritional yeast flakes or cheese and prepare the white sauce as per the recipe. Mix the cooked peas through the white sauce to make creamed peas.
Alternatively, for a few variations such as parsley sauce stir through a few handfuls of finely chopped parsley into the cooked white sauce. Or use finely chopped mint or chives.
Nutritional yeast flakes are a form of deactivated yeast that are naturally very cheesy in flavour, which makes it ideal for creating dairy-free sauces such as vegan cheese sauce. Once the flakes are stirred through the hot sauce, they dissolve completely while also thickening up the sauce a little.
Yes, if you would like to prepare a creamy white sauce then you can omit the yeast flakes and prepare creamed peas instead.
Adding mustard powder to a cheese sauce helps to increase the cheesy flavour while adding a nice tanginess, and it all adds a yellowy colour to the sauce.
You could replace the mustard powder with turmeric powder which will have a different flavour compared to the mustard powder, but turmeric also works well with cheesy flavours and it will also add a yellow colour to the sauce.
Lumpy sauce happens to all of us as some point and if we are serving to family as an everyday meal our family usually doesn't mind a lumpy sauce as its home-made after all and the flavour is not affected! However, for special meals there are a few things you can do to fix your lumpy sauce into a smooth one:
1. The first step is to use a whisk to vigorously stir the sauce as this can often break up smaller lumps and smooth out the texture.
2. However, if whisking doesn't fix the lumps, pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer or sieve and use the back of a spoon or spatula to push the sauce through, leaving the lumps behind.
3. For stubborn lumps, you may have to use a stand blender or immersion stick blender and blend the sauce until smooth and lump free.
4. After straining or blending, you may need to reheat the sauce and due to the nature of sauces it will likely to have become thicker. If so, gently warm the sauce on the stove and consider whisking a small amount of milk through to reach the desired consistency.
5. Finally, to avoid lumps in future sauces always whisk the flour through the melted fat until its a completely smooth roux, and then when adding the milk to the roux add it slowly and whisk it continuously as this will prevent lumps.
Many families love scooping cheesy peas or creamed peas over mashed potatoes and serving with meatloaf. We have a tasty plant-based meatloaf recipe which would be delicious served with cheesy peas and mashed potatoes.
Four Top Tips for making the best dairy-free cheese sauce
- The key to a great dairy-free cheese sauce is using cheesy-flavoured ingredients especially nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy flavor, and adding extra seasonings like mustard powder and ground white pepper to emphasis the cheesy flavours. Other good ingredients to add include garlic or onion powder, ground turmeric, and white miso paste. If using vegan cheese, experiment with different brands and types to find one that melts well and has a nice strong cheesy flavour.
- A roux - a mixture of fat and flour - is the base of a smooth cheese sauce. Using equal parts of vegan butter [or margarine suitable for cooking] and flour, and cooking them together for at least one minute is vital as this removes any raw flour flavour from the sauce. The roux also thickens up the sauce nicely. Stir your roux as it cooks and keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.
- Add the liquid [plant-based milk] slowly, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Start with a small amount, whisk until smooth, and then continue adding the liquid gradually. This ensures a silky, lump-free sauce. Remember, the sauce will thicken as it cooks and even more when it cools, so adjust the consistency accordingly - such as by whisking through more milk if the sauce is too thick.
- To prevent a skin from forming on your cheesy sauce, continuously stir while cooking and cover the surface of the sauce with plastic wrap [cling film] or a piece of baking paper, when off the heat. This keeps air out and helps maintain a smooth texture. If a skin does form, whisk it back into the sauce, or for a thicker skin, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to regain that perfect smoothness, or blend with an electric hand blender.
- Taste your sauce as you go and adjust the seasonings to your preference. This is important because the flavour can change significantly depending on the type of ingredients used. Don’t be afraid to add a bit more nutritional yeast flakes, salt, mustard powder, or extra seasonings to get that perfect cheesy flavour that suits your taste. A small amount of fresh lemon juice can bring the cheesy sauce to life by adding zingy tangy pops that many people will love.
More 'on toast' veggie meal ideas
A delicious topping served over a slice or two of crunchy toasted bread is a wholesome satisfying and budget-friendly meal idea. Our family especially love these vintage classics served over crunchy toast - Creamed Mushrooms on Toast, Old-Fashioned Creamed Chickpeas, Old-Fashioned Creamed Spinach, and Homemade Baked Beans In Tomato Sauce.
Our recipes are plant-based and vegan, however, they are designed to be adaptable to various dietary requirements. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, or just love veggie meals, these 'on toast' recipes are budget-friendly, convenient, quick and easy, wholesome, homely, and just plain delicious.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Old-Fashioned Cheesy Peas On Toast
- non-stick saucepan for cooking sauce
- Saucepan for cooking peas
- hand whisk
- 600 mililitres soya milk [or your usual milk]
- 3 tablespoons plain flour [all-purpose flour or use a gluten-free plain flour alternative]
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter [or margarine or your usual cooking fat]
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder [we used Colemans mustard powder]
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt [we used sea salt, use more or less to taste]
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes [use more if preferred, or replace with about one cup of grated vegan cheese or your usual cheese, adjust to taste preferences]
- 550 grams frozen peas [or fresh peas]
- 4 slices wholemeal bread [can use more slices if necessary and they can be buttered or unbuttered]
Prepare the peas
- Cook the peas according to the package instructions. Once cooked drain the peas into a colander and then once fully drained place the peas back into the saucepan. Place a lid over the pan and keep somewhere warm while the sauce is prepared.550 grams frozen peas
Prepare the sauce
- Add the butter to a non-stick saucepan and over a low-medium heat heat until melted.3 tablespoons vegan butter
- Add the flour and use the hand whisk to stir the flour through until smooth. Cook and stir for one minute.3 tablespoons plain flour
- Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly, until all the milk is incorporated.600 mililitres soya milk
- Over a medium-high heat bring the sauce to a gentle boil, stirring frequently, and once the sauce is boiling turn the heat down to low-medium.
- Gently boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, and don’t leave it untended as it could bubble up. If it does bubble up turn the heat down and keep stirring.
- After 5 minutes, turn the heat off, and add the nutritional yeast flakes [or cheese], mustard powder, ground white pepper and salt. Add more yeast flakes or cheese, and salt, to taste if necessary.½ teaspoon mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, ¾ teaspoon salt, 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
Toast the bread
- Meanwhile toast the bread and spread with butter or margarine if liked.4 slices wholemeal bread
- Add the cooked peas and stir well. We like to keep about half a cup or about a tablespoon of peas per serving separate so that they can be used as a garnish - about a tablespoon of peas sprinkled over each serving as they provide a nice green pop of colour.
- Scoop the cheesy peas over the toast and sprinkle a few peas over for a green garnish, and if liked sprinkle over some fresh chopped parsley or mint, or some finely chopped chives or spring onions [green onions/scallions]
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Leftover cheesy peas can be stored within a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- To reheat, whisk some extra milk through the cheesy peas as the sauce will become very thick as it’s stored. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and reheat for a minute or just until piping hot, stirring constantly.
- Use more toast per person if feeding hungry appetites!
- Recipe Variation: To make cheesy chips or fries - omit the peas and toast, and prepare the sauce. Pour some of the cheese sauce over cooked chips and an optional step is to also sprinkle over some grated cheese and then place until a grill or broiler, or pop into an oven or air-fryer and heat until the cheese has melted and the sauce bubbly.
- Recipe Variation: Creamed Peas - omit the nutritional yeast flakes or cheese and prepare the white sauce as per the recipe, mix the cooked peas through and you have creamed peas. For a parsley sauce stir through a few handfuls of finely chopped parsley into the white sauce. Or use finely chopped mint or chives.
- We are a plant-based family recipe blog so all our ingredient suggestions will be for vegan-friendly ingredients but if you have different dietary requirements then you can use your every-day ingredients.
- The nutritional yeast flakes can be replaced with grated vegan cheese or your usual cheese. adjusting the quantities to your own preferences.
- For gluten-free cheesy peas on toast use gluten-free bread and for the sauce use a gluten-free plain flour.
- The peas can be either fresh, frozen, or canned.
- The peas can be replaced with cooked beans such as haricot beans [navy beans], butter beans, cannellini beans, etc.
- The cheese sauce can be prepared minus the peas, and served over potatoes such as mashed potatoes, vegetables, rice, or pasta.
- Instead of on toast, use the cheesy peas or creamed peas as a side dish.
- For more useful recipe notes and FAQs do have a look at our detailed recipe notes and FAQ sections, as well as our four top tips for preparing the best cheese sauce, located above this recipe.
Prepared our Old-Fashioned Cheesy Peas on Toast or Creamed Peas recipe? We would love to know how you get on with the recipe so do drop us a comment below and click the star ratings. It’s very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x