Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fava Bean Salad

Meandering around a grocery store is easily on my favorite things to do. When your boyfriend plans a date that includes a new grocery store/farmer's market visit and you literally get giddy, you know you're a crazy grocery freak. Yet, every now and then it lands me with a stellar find that keeps me scouting out new places or revisiting favorites. This time around it was a can of fava beans that caught my attention. I had seen the name before in recipe books, but had no earthly idea what these beans were all about. Without hesitation, that bad boy was coming home with me, well, and Dan.
I decided a little research was in order to present these beans in a dish they deserved. Before googling, taste testing was in order. First of all, they are ginormous. We're talking the Goliath of beans. I've never had a bean so big. Large lima beans and butter beans are the closest resemblance. Once I got over the "holy-cow-they're-huge-factor," I took a bite. Yum! Fava Beans are "meatier" and firmer than other beans simply because of their size. The flavor is rich, smooth, and velvety. 
Fava Beans are about half the size of a thumb.
Apparently fava beans are typically green until cooked, roasted, or canned. Not sure how the fresher, younger green fava beans compare, but the canned ones were delightful tossed into this cold bean salad. Whether you're looking for a change in the weekly bean lineup, or you're simply trying to add more fiber into your diet, give the canned fava bean a try. The cold bean salad is great as a side dish, stuffed into a pita, used as a chip dip, or rolled into a tortilla with your favorite veggies. My guess is that fava beans would add exceptional depth to chili or soups...who knows, it might become a fava-orite addition!

Fava Bean Salad

1 can (19oz) Fava Beans (Progresso is the brand I found)
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 TBLS olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
sprinkling of salt


1. Drain and rinse can of fava beans.
2. Combine all ingredients.
3. Serve immediately if room temperature desired, or best if chilled at least 30minutes.


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