Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fava Beans & Radishes with Mustard Dressing

Fava Beans and Radishes in a Bowl over Greens
Favas and Radishes with Mustard Dressing over Lettuce

Recipe Altered (a lot) from Bon Appetit, April 2006

My friend Mel gave us some Portuguese fava beans right from his garden the other night. These beans are descendents of the first favas imported from Portugal, and his family has raised them for many years, harvesting and drying seeds at the end of every season. Naturally I was excited to use them in my favorite recipe for mature favas, especially since we have some radishes from Live Earth Farm (our CSA) in the fridge.

This recipe was originally entitled Sliced Filet Mignon with Fava Beans, Radishes, and Mustard Dressing. We liked the marinated favas and radishes, but thought both the steak and the feta cheese on top detracted from the taste. Eliminating both of these ingredients decreased the cost, preparation time, and kitchen mess, plus increased healthfulness and made the recipe vegan! I also cut the amount of oil in half and substituted water. You could experiment with reducing it further.

Even though this recipe calls for peeled favas, in the past I’ve made it without peeling the beans. I like eating the skins, but it seems that most people prefer their favas peeled. My husband has requested that I lose the skins, and Mel was looking for an easy way to peel them. So I did some research and it’s quite easy, if a little labor-intensive, to peel them. I’ve included the instructions in this recipe. And I must agree that the favas look better peeled in this salad.

We serve this like an upscale salad dressing, over a bed of butter lettuce or other greens, but you could serve it on its own or to top whatever you like. Leftovers taste great too. In my opinion, this recipe tastes best with basil rather than the other suggested herbs or a combination. Note that the favas and radishes must marinate for ½ - 1 hour before serving, so plan accordingly.

How to Skin a Fava Bean in Four Steps
Peeling Fava Beans: Boil, Drop into Cold Water, Pinch off End, Squeeze Bean from Other End

Fava Bean & Radish Salad Completed
Fava Beans and Radishes with Mustard Dressing
serves 4

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups (more or less) cooked, peeled fava beans (see below)
10 medium radishes
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, thyme and parsley)
Butter lettuce or other greens for 4 people

Prepare raw ingredients:
Slice radishes very thinly. Chop herbs medium-fine.

Shell, cook, and peel the fava beans:
Remove the beans from the pod.  Boil a pot of water and blanch the beans in it for 2 -3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drop into cold water. The skins will now be loosened from the beans. Pinch off (break) a bit of the skin on the smooth side of the bean--at the opposite end from where it attached to the plant. Then—over a bowl—squeeze the bean from the other end--where it was attached to the plant. The bean will pop out where you pinched off (broke) the skin, so have a bowl handy to receive them!

Make dressing:
Whisk vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fava Beans and Radishes Marinating in a Bowl with Herbs and Mustard Dressing
Marinating the Favas & Radishes
Marinate beans and radishes:
Combine beans, radishes, herbs and dressing; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let salad stand at room temperature for ½ - 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Assemble salad:
Divide chilled butter lettuce between four bowls. Top each bowl with ¼ of the marinated veggies and dressing.


  1. This recipe looks fantastic! I am actually hosting a fava bean linky party at http://www.2sisters2cities.com/2012/05/fresh-produce-tuesday-week-7-fava-beans as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love if you submitted this recipe!


    1. Sounds excellent, Meaghan! We have so many favas now I'm looking for new recipes too.