Don’t Fear the Fava: Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad

Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad with Quinoa

Ever since I saw “The Silence of the Lambs” many years ago, I’ve shied away from eating fava beans. It probably has something to do with Hannibal Lechter’s famous line that’s too gruesome to repeat on a food blog. A few months ago I mustered up the courage to buy a bag of dried, unpeeled fava beans. After soaking, peeling, boiling and then incorporating them into a recipe, I was left wondering what the fascination with fava beans was all about. This week’s CSA share included a bag of fresh fava beans. I peeled away the thick, spongy pod to reveal less than a cup of bright green beans. I boiled the beans for two minutes before peeling away the tough skin. A cup of fava beans is not enough to stand by themselves as the focal point of a meal, so I decided to use them in a salad with asparagus, green onions and a lemon-thyme dressing. The salad looked bright and pretty and tasted delicious. Yet, it didn’t look like it would make a substantial meal on its own. I wanted to add one other element that would round out the plate but not over-shadow the salad. My first thought was to add a grain. Farro has a nice texture and a nutty flavor, so I loaded up the steamer and waited. While the farro was cooking I thought that quinoa would make a nice pairing. As soon as the farro was finished, I steamed some quinoa. Both grains complemented the salad perfectly. I might also try serving the salad over fresh baby lettuce, arugula, spinach as an appetizer or side dish. I look forward to seeing more fava beans in my future. And If I don’t, I’ll just use fresh peas or lima beans instead. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Asparagus & Fava Bean Salad

Note: if fresh fava beans are not available, substitute cooked lima beans, green peas or additional asparagus.

1 lb. asparagus
1 cup fresh fava beans
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Lemon Thyme Dressing (recipe below)

Trim the tough bottoms from the asparagus. Cut into one-half inch pieces. Place in steamer basket set over water and steam for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse under cold water. Drain and place in shallow serving bowl.

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add unpeeled fava beans and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat, rinse under cold water and drain. Remove and discard the skins. Place the peeled fava beans in the bowl with the asparagus. Add the green onions and lemon-thyme dressing to the bowl. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings. Let marinate if time allows. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

Serve over greens, farro or quinoa.

Lemon Thyme Dressing

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons honey or brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, pressed
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Black pepper and salt to taste

Place all ingredients in glass measuring cup and whisk to combine.


31 May 2017

Built to Last: Powerhouse Salad

Power House Salad

Power House Salad

I’m always looking for new ways to serve up greens and since it’s summer I’m not looking for something steamy on my plate.  I wanted to make a cool, crisp salad that could be dressed and ready to go at the drop of a sun hat. Have you ever noticed that salads made with leafy lettuces wilt soon after the dressing is added? Have you also noticed that raw kale is built to last? With that thought in mind I remembered a super food salad that I tried on my visit to Wichita last fall. It was loaded with kale, cherry tomatoes, edamame, berries, seeds and nuts and it was cool, crisp and tasty. This salad is packed with so much protein, fiber, antioxidants and flavor that I decided to call it the Powerhouse Salad. The recipe is a guideline because, after all, it’s a salad . . . and anything goes when it comes to salad. The first time I made the salad I used a raspberry vinaigrette, which was tangy, yet tasty. The second time I made an orange-honey vinaigrette that I like even more. You can hand chop the kale and cabbage and grate the carrots on a box grater, but I’ve shredded them all separately right the the bowl of my food processor when pressed for time. You can have some fun with this salad by using different nuts or seeds, adding grated beets or kohlrabi, or creating your own dressing. The salad stays crisp for a few days and tastes even better as it transforms itself into a slaw by the end of the week. Perfect to bring to a summer barbeque that’s sure to be a hit with both herbivores and omnivores. Try this Powerhouse Salad and make something built to last. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Powerhouse Salad

Raspberry Dressing

¾ cup raspberry wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or agave
1 garlic cloved, pressed (or garlic powder)

Orange Dressing (may need to double this dressing recipe)

¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed (or garlic powder)
2 teaspoons honey, maple syrup or agave

Whisk ingredients together and let sit while preparing salad.


4 – 5 cups chopped kale
1/2 lb. frozen edamame beans, defrosted
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded green or red cabbage
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped red or yellow onion
1 kohlrabi or raw beet, grated (optional)
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl with your choice of dressing.

07 Jun 2016

Hard to Beet: Beet Salad with Chickpeas & Kale

Beet Centerpiece

Beet Centerpiece

Beet Salad with Chickpeas & Kale

Beet Salad with Chickpeas & Kale

Beets have always been one of those “I’m-sittin’-on-the-fence-about” vegetables. I’ve tried boiling, roasting and pickling beets to serve as a side dish or as an addition to salads. I’ve even burgerized them. (Oh, I should share that recipe with you soon.) They’re labor intensive, even a little messy and take a long time to get fork-tender. And after all that, they’re rather bland. I received a beautiful trio of beets in my CSA share last week and figured if nothing else they’d make a nice table arrangement. Then Bruce mentioned that his friend likes to eat raw beets. Really? I never thought of that. I tried a little sliver and it was quite tasty, so I tossed a handful of beet matchsticks into the salad. Not bad at all. Since I had three beets available, I decided to come up with a recipe that would put more focus on the beets. As I usually do with chickpeas that are destined for a salad, I marinated cubed beets in the dressing before adding some greens. As long as I was marinating beets I might as well add some chickpeas to take this salad from side dish (or centerpiece) to main course. I went with balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey.  I wanted a dressing that could stand up to kale and give a flavor boost to the beets. This is one hearty and healthy salad that’s hard to “beet”. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Beet Salad with Chickpeas & Kale

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 1 cup drained chickpeas
  • 1 medium beet, cut into chunks the size of chickpeas
  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped (4 cups)

In large salad bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard and garlic powder. Add chickpeas and beets, stir and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Add kale and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. You could add sunflower or pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried cranberries/cherries and chopped nuts.


11 Apr 2016

Getting to the Heart of It: Escarole Salad

Escarole-Fennel-Pear Salad

Escarole, Fennel & Pear Salad

OOOOPS! In my ‘Scarole & Beans post I forgot to share what I do with the tender hearts of escarole. When Grandma made escarole and beans, she made it a point to put the tender white leaves from the center of the escarole to the side to make a salad. It was quite simple: escarole, black olives, onions, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Sometimes she would add a tomato. Since I remembered to set aside the hearts from the escarole I used a few days ago, I threw together a version of escarole salad that also included some shaved fennel. In the middle of photographing the salad, I thought some sliced pears would be a nice contrast to the dressing. Oh, and what the heck, I’ll dress it up with a smear of macadamia nut cheese (look for that post in a few days). You can keep it simple and forego the fennel, pears and cheese and your salad will look like this:

Escarole Salad

Escarole Salad







Anyway you slice it, you’ll have one fresh and flavorful salad. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Hearts of Escarole & Fennel Salad with Pears

  • Leaves from the center of one or more heads of escarole
  • Yellow onion, sliced
  • Shaved fennel (anise)
  • Kalamata olives
  • 1 or more pears, cut into thin slices


  • ½ cup white wine or white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave or honey
  • Oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Place salad ingredients into large serving bowl. Whisk together vinegar, sweetener and seasonings and toss with salad.

14 Jan 2016

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