Digging through the Layers to Spring’s Fava Bean Treasure Trove

Two of the most frustrating–or at least exceedingly labor-intensive–beans to prepare, fava beans and lima beans, also serve as among the most delicious and satisfying bookends to the gardening season. Each of them require not just one shelling like peas, but TWO stages of shelling, to get to the holy grail buried beneath the layers. Limas don’t arrive until later in the summer, but favas start appearing in the farmers market in June. And it’s a mixed blessing: if you want to eat them fresh and locally grown, preparation is the lion’s share of the effort in most recipes. It can take up to an hour to finally have the requisite amount of beans to start preparing your favorite fava beans recipe. But a little goes a long way, and in the end, a few times a season, the result is definitely worth the effort.


Here’s one of my favorite and (once the beans are shelled) quick and easy fava bean salad from Union Squae Greenmarket-sourced favas, brightened by parsley and lemon, and using garlic scapes and scallions right out of Campos Community Garden. Enjoy!

Fava Bean and Parsley Salad with Lemon

Fava Bean and Parsley Salad with Lemon

These hard-earned jewels make a delicious green-tasting salad that needs very little enhancement beyond early garlic scapes, scallions and the tang of lemon.


  • 1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans (from about 2 pounds of fava pods, or in a pinch, use frozen)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for shaving (optional)


  1. To shell fava beans, remove beans from outer pod. Then blanch in salted boiling water briefly, about 1 minute to soften touch cover around bean. Then squeeze out beans with your fingers into a bowl.
  2. Return shelled beans to boiling water, and cook another 1-2 minutes until crisp tender and drain the beans and plunge in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking and enhance color.
  3. In a mixing bowl, place the beans, scapes, scallions and lemon zest and combine.
  4. Add lemon juice and vinegar
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Place in serving bowl and if desired, shave parmesan cheese over top
  7. Serve with crostini or on a bed of fresh mixed greens.
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