This fresh fava bean salad is simple, basic and full of fresh flavors. Buttery, nutty fava beans are tossed with green onions, fennel, radishes, young arugula leaves and served with grated parmesan and a simple lemony dressing.
Fava beans — a summertime favorite
Every time I see fava beans at the market I question whether they are worth the effort of the shelling, blanching and shelling again. And the answer is YES! They are so absolutely delicious and since the season is so short, I find it is worth taking the effort, for the very few times a year, that I can take advantage of their availability. They bring a nice fresh flavor and velvety, butter texture to a a simple salad. And if you want to get the absolute most out of their delicious flavor, then an even more basic salad than this one is the way to go.
Some simple ideas on how to enjoy fava beans
To get the most out of their fabulous color, flavor and texture try them with:
- Crumbled feta cheese, radishes and fresh cilantro
- A mix of fresh herbs, a drizzle of oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh mint, parmesan and pistachios
- Pecorino, lemon juice, olive oil and mint
Fresh fava bean salad preparation
The salad itself is simple, however there is a little preparation needed for the fava beans.
When you first see them in their pods you may think you’ll have a lot of beans in the end, but actually the pods are quite bulky. So you’ll need 1-1,2 kg to get the 200 g (1 1/2 to 2 cups) you’ll need for this fava bean salad.
To start, pop the beans out of their large pods and then blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes (until al dente) before shocking them with ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Now they are ready to be shelled again.
Fava beans have a thin skin around each bean that is easy to remove after they’ve been blanched. Using a knife to cut open a little slit will allow you to release them with just a little squeeze. They will pop right out and leave you with these delicious little emerald green beans.
Looking for other ideas on how to prepare fresh fava beans?
Try one of these recipes:
- Fava Bean Dip (Green Hummus)
- Green Beans with Pears and Bacon (with fresh fava beans)
- Asparagus and Fava Bean Quinoa Salad
Fresh Fava Bean Salad with Arugula, Fennel and Radishes
- 1-1.2 kg fresh fava beans in pods (200 g shelled)
- 1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced ( mandoline works well for this)
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from 1 small lemon, or to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of chili flakes
- 35 g parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 handfuls young arugula leaves
Fava beans need to be shelled twice, first before cooking to remove the outer pod, then after cooking, to remove the membrane around the bean. First, shell away the fava beans outer pod.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the shelled fava beans for about 3 minutes (until just tender). Plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and remove the outer peel by squeezing the favas from their skins.
In a serving bowl, combine the cooked fava beans, fennel, radish, green onions and mint. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice over the mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a pinch of chili flakes and toss to coat. Add the parmesan and arugula; toss until combined.
Serve and enjoy!
- Fresh fava beans can be substituted with shelled edamame (fresh soybeans)
- See above for other simple ideas on how to use fava beans in salads.
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