Besides those deep breaths I've been taking to calm myself, I've also been doing what I love to do the most, and that is creating in my kitchen. It is there where I'm completely at ease, my knife gliding through vegetables, my pots on the stove simmering as delectable aromas fill the air. Working with fresh produce energizes me and relaxes me at the same time. I love it. And what gets me even more excited is trying new things, like these amazing local fava beans.
This was my first time working with fava beans, and they did not disappoint. I love using fresh beans straight from the pod. I find it fun (although time consuming) to shell the beans by hand. To prepare fresh fava beans, first you remove the beans from the pod. Then, you boil the beans for about two to three minutes. Strain the beans and run them under cold water to cool them down. Then, you remove the skins from each bean and you're left with bright green, creamy delicious fava beans!
And this salad? Oh yes, this is a good one. An easy one, too. It's perfect to whip up when you're pressed for time and want a healthy meal. I made a giant bowl of it for two people and it was gone soon after, but it also stores well to eat for leftovers for lunch throughout the week. The ingredients are really straightforward, too. Many of them will be popping up in vegetable gardens really soon. I added some zatar to give it even more of a flavor kick, but it would still be really tasty without it. Serve it over salad greens or just as is. I would imagine some crumbled goat cheese or feta would make it even more delicious.
Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Fava Beans
For the dressing:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice and zest of one large lemon (preferably organic)
one teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
For the Salad:
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 small tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, very finely diced
1 medium cucumber, diced (leave skin on)
2 scallions, sliced
2-4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 cup of cooked, shelled fava beans (see instructions above)
one bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (you could also use fresh dill, cilantro, or basil or a combination of all of them if you like)
8 leaves of fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons zatar spice blend (optional, but recommended)
Feta cheese or goat cheese (optional)
1. In a small bowl, wisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
2. In a very large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add the dressing and toss gently just to combine everything. Top with feta or goat cheese, if desired.
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