Cooking vegetarian usually requires exploration of various legumes, like beans, peas, nuts and lentils. One of my absolute favorites is the fava bean, which goes by various names, including broad bean. Research says that these may be found fresh, canned, frozen, and dried and in various colors, such as those shown below.
Favas are packed with protein, fiber and iron. The texture is somewhat creamy or buttery, and the flavor is earthy and nutty, making them a great choice for eating in both warm and cold dishes!
At this point, I’ve only used the brown ones and in the dried form. Sometimes they’re challenging to find, depending on the shopping options. On occasion, I order then online, and those that have already been blanched and peeled (such as Bob’s Red Mill) save a great deal of time. I don’t cook them for nearly as long as the package suggests. If you want to peel your own, check out this video of French chef, Jacques Pepin, showing you an easy method.
Favas pair nicely with asparagus and tomatoes, and I’ve come up with a ‘recipe’ of sorts with various options. This can be eaten warm or cold, but I think that the flavors tend to intensify a bit after it has been refrigerated.
Fave Fava Salad
INGREDIENTS and METHODS:
Fava beans, blanched and peeled (optional additions: cooked or canned garbanzos/frozen green peas, simply rinsed in cool water)
Asparagus, blanched or steamed and cut into bite-sized lengths (although longer spears add visual appeal)
Tomatoes, sliced or diced; halved if using cherry tomatoes
Scallions/green onions, thinly sliced (white and green portions), chives (snipped),or garlic (minced); garlic may be cooked with the beans, if you wish
Seasonings: choose from mint, tarragon, dill, salt, pepper
Option: place the above mixture over a bed of spring mix lettuce, arugula, spinach or baby kale
Heartier version: add cooked and cooled orzo pasta or couscous
Cheese additions, such as Parmesan, Feta, Pecorino, or your favorite vegan cheese
Dressing choices: olive oil whisked with lemon juice or a balsamic vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar, oil, and a touch of sweetener
NOTES: When preparing the beans and asparagus, be careful to avoid overcooking and letting them become too soft, especially if you plan to eat this chilled. Ingredient amounts are totally up to you, depending on the end quantity, flavors and the look desired.
If you haven’t sampled them before, I hope that you’ll give favas a try. Let me know what you think! ~Becky