Minted Pea & Fava Bean Salad

by Julie on July 1, 2012

She’s alive, she’s alive!  I didn’t disappear for good, just been buried deep beneath my textbooks, highlighters and 3 hole punched note pads with assignments comin’ out the ying yang!  Only 3 weeks to go, yeehaaa!  Phew….. I can’t believe it’s been 10 months since I began my studies in Holistic Nutrition.  I had high hopes of blogging bi-weekly but unfortunately between being a mom and commuting to the island each weekend after a full week of lectures it proved to be too much.  I know you’ve missed my posts but I know you forgive me yet I wish I could have been more present for you.  However, the end is near, yaaaay…. and as much as I have enjoyed the educational journey and all my new friends, I will be glad to end this nomadic life of packing and traveling every weekend to just stay put in one place for a while.  Of course that will make it also possible to get back to posting some yummy recipes for the second half of the summer.

So here you have it, a yummy recipe to kick off summer!  Here’s hoping that this fresh cheery recipe will invite the sunshine to peek thru the clouds for us on the west coast of Canada!  As wet as the weather has been with very little sunshine, it’s amazing how many wonderful things are still available for us at the market.  My produce for this recipe is from a local green house with the radishes grown outside where pesticides are not used, thank goodness. This recipe was inspired by a recent visit to a lovely restaurant called Ulla here in Victoria B.C.  The chef astounded me with his delicious pea and mint soup and I then followed it up with a fava bean salad that was sooo delicious that I went home and concocted my own version of it.  That’s the wonderful thing about dining out–being inspired by what other chefs are playing with!   The ancient grain, farro accompanied his version whereas my version is solely with vegetables and greens.

But I’ve gotta tell ya….again…. I have been utterly addicted to this recipe.   I’ve made it at least 5 times now since I was there, I may be turning green like Shrek soon!  This seems to happen to me when I really like something, I can’t seem to get enough!  I’ve also shared it with my classmates and got the nod of approval as usual.  All us nutrition students are often concocting yummy lunches that we share samples of since we can never get enough of delicious healthy food ideas.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining on fava beans then you are in for a real treat.  They have a buttery texture with a flavour rather shared between a pea and a bean. Fava beans are a bit of a treasure to enjoy since first you need to find them, they aren’t around long and usually only select grocers will carry them.  Or maybe you’ll be lucky and find some before they sell out at the farmers market.  I haven’t resorted to the frozen myself as I seem to just want to wait and anticipate the fava season and enjoy them in their prime.  Then you need to shell, blanch and peel the seed skins to reveal the inner bean.  It’s a bit of a chore but it is sooo worth it!  I hope you can also find some gorgeous fresh shelling peas to use. These are sooo juicy and sweet.  However, you can substitute organic frozen peas and just blanch them for a minute or two.

Here you can see the stages of the pod, the seeds within and then the blanched wrinkled seeds and a few that I have peeled.  You have to resist the temptation to just nibble on them after peeling though!  I served this to a dear friend last week, Kathleen, and she kindly lent me an interesting book called Survial of the Sickest that explained the warning below. Thank you Kathleen!

Warning: As yummy as fava beans are though, they have been known to cause rare but severe responses for those folks that have an enzyme deficiency of G6PD, a condition called favism, that modern science has labeled as the most common enzyme deficiency in the world. It is most common and most deadly in North Africa and Southern Europe, all around the Mediterranean.  G6PD is responsible for clearing out free radicals like hydrogen peroxide caused by digestion of vicine and convicine from within the fava bean itself. The inability to deal with these free radicals can result in hemolytic anemia, a severe emergency and potentially deadly situation.  It is highly recommended to avoid serving fava beans to children to be safe. This article shares a little more about the symptoms to watch for should anyone not be aware that they indeed have favism and they ingest these tasty beans.

If you can find some pretty radishes this just makes the dish so much prettier and adds another dimension to the salad.

Minted Pea & Fava Bean Salad
Yield: 4 salads

2 cups fava beans, shelled, *blanched & peeled (also known as broad beans)
1 cup + 1/2 cup peas, shelled & *blanched
3 cups greens, chopped small
1/2 cup sprouts
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 sm onion, minced
16 fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp + 1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 drop stevia
himalayan salt
*Blanch fava beans for 3 mins in well salted water, with a slotted spoon scoop from pot into collander,  then run cold water over.  Save the boiling water and blanch peas in this water for 1 min then run cold water over to cool quickly and stop the cooking, set aside.  Peel fava bean skin from each bean, set aside.
Saute minced onion on med/low heat in 1 tbsp olive oil til translucent, then add fava beans and saute for 1 min more, seasoning with salt.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
Take 1/2 cup of the blanched peas, mint, olive oil, lemon juice & 2 drops stevia in blender and blend well scraping down sides making a rather runny kind of pesto.  Pour into serving vessel.
Assemble the Salads
Place greens & sprouts in a few varying piles on each large plate and lay spoonfuls of fava beans in corners.  Sprinkle peas over the salad and around the plate as you may and then drizzle with the mint dressing, offering more dressing on the side.  Enjoy.

*Notes: -please read the health warning about fava beans in the text preceding this recipe.

-if you choose not to serve fava beans, this salad is equally gorgeous with fresh blanched peas in place of the fava beans, just saute the onions and toss with peas instead.

You can get creative here with any special plate or platter you might have and dance these tasty morsels around the plate for a variety of taste sensations.  Plan B is to just top your greens in a nice big bowl and make two large salads of all the peas and fava and toss generously with the yummy dressing.  This is how I do it for lunch since I can’t be fancy about it a school.  Just don’t dress the salad til you are ready to eat it.

I have soooo much to share with  you about everything I’ve learned at school but it will have to wait until I’m thru with all the studying since there’s more than ever now with our last few classes.  I’m pleased that I managed this post for you but I may not be back until I’m done in 3 weeks.

Be well and enjoy summer and it’s offerings of lovely produce as it makes it’s approach.  I can’t wait to get cookin’ up some yummy ideas for you in August!



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