Favas are My Fave: Meatless Monday or Any Day!

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.

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

 

 

Meatless Mondays: Vegetable Cassoulet

 

veggies pot and cutting board A commitment to “Meatless Monday” is easy for me, since I already eat that way most days. According to the website, this movement began in 2003 and is now active in 44 countries. Eating meat-free at least one day of the week is a positive for our health and good for the Earth.

Here’s one of my recipes that has evolved into a vegetable cassoulet, which is like a vegetable stew or casserole. Not sure if Peter Mayle would have approved of this version of a French classic, but I don’t even miss the meat.

As is typical for my recipes, there are many ingredient options from which you may choose your favorites. Make as little or as much as you want, so amounts will also vary according to your needs and plans.

In a kettle with high sides, brown diced/sliced onions, shallots and/or garlic in olive oil.

If you want your end result to be more like a casserole, your mixture can be emptied into a large casserole and will need less liquid (stock) than the more stew-like version.

Add desired amount of vegetable stock, along with your choices from among sliced leeks, mushrooms and fennel bulb. NOTE: Fennel has a hint of a licorice taste. You might also try a slug of ouzo or pastis in its place for the same flavor. Otherwise, a bit of white cooking wine is also a nice addition.

Add cooked/canned white beans (cannellini, great Northern, or even garbanzos).

Include your choices of the following, peeled and/or cut as required:

carrots
green beans
asparagus
Swiss chard
celery
colored peppers
eggplant
potatoes
turnips
parsley and/or thyme, fresh or dried

Adjust liquid as needed. Salt and pepper to taste. If baking, give this at least an hour at 350. If cooking on top of the stove, after your mixture reaches a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until veggies are the desired texture.

Pair with your favorite bread and wine, if you wish.

kitchen window pixabay no attribution required