Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pea & Fava Bean Salad with Feta, Green Garlic & Pine nuts

Last weekend, a happy gardener brought bags of fresh fava beans to our outdoor activity in Nicasio. Which spurred the question: what do you do with fava beans?

That question inspired this recipe - a very fresh and tasty salad of fava beans, fresh English peas (also in season), green garlic, feta cheese and pine nuts with the perfect lemony backdrop.

So, the most important thing to know about using fresh fava beans: you have to pod and peel them. It's fiddley and time-consuming, but the skins have a bitter taste that will probably put you off unless you cover them up with a heavy sauce. I use a small sharp knife and slice into the side and the peel comes off quite quickly. Here's a picture that shows the podded unpeeled fava, the partially peeled fava, and the peeled fava:

The peeled fava is tender and can be eaten raw. I sauteed them with lemon olive oil and butter and minced green garlic, along with the podded English peas. The garden-fresh favas were so tender they cooked faster than the larger English peas. I added a very light white wine to the mix and some fresh lemon juice (don't skip the lemon juice!) Sauteed in a pan for about 5 minutes, added a pinch of sea salt, then moved to a bowl and added finely crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Topped the mix with some freshly snipped chives and the result was completely satisfying and healthy. If you want a more substantial salad dish, some cooked farro would be a winner here.

OK, so what's your favorite way to enjoy fresh fava beans? Post your fav in the comments!


Blogger Beatrice said...

I have been on a real feta kick lately -- this sounds delicious!

5:38 AM  
Anonymous melanie said...

Thank you for the great blog! It has been a great source of inspiration for a mostly vegetarian home cook.

My favorite fresh fava dish includes thin shavings of fennel, fresh artichoke, and parmesan. The fennel and artichoke are raw. Mix with meyer lemon zest and a few leaves of Italian parsley and dress lightly with lemon juice, fruity olive oil and a little fleur de sel.

This is based on a dish I had at Lucques in LA. Light, fruity, lemony and bright green - so many of my favorite aspects of Spring.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Stacie Shepp said...

I like to do fava beans with a shaved fennel, olive oil, sea salt, and parmesan toss. Yum!

Beautiful, delicious site you have created! I was looking for your contact information but could not find it. I'd like to invite you to share your recipes, photos, and stories at our new site Our goal is to encourage more local, healthy eating via home and community gardens and many foodies have begun to share recipes and photos on our site because all recipes taste better with fresh, home grown ingredients.

We are locally based in Marin area as well and would love to connect. Please come by for a visit and get in touch. We hope you'll be inspired to share your recipes and photos and encourage more healthy food and gardening with us here at

Thank you,

Stacie Shepp

5:41 PM  
Blogger Lady Amalthea said...

I love your fava-peeling pictures! Since they're such a pain to peel, I generally just saute them with garlic, olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice. Though I once mashed them up and wrapped them in wonton wrappers--time-consuming, but delicious.

2:15 PM  

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