Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Minted Red Quinoa, Fava Bean and Cashew Salad

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Although I always keep lots of dried fava beans on hand for making falafel, I rarely buy them fresh, simply because they usually aren't available at Whole Foods. However, this past weekend, I spotted a ton of these dull green pods, so I scooped up plenty of them. Once I brought them home, I broke open their double layer of tough outer husks to reveal the small and vibrant green-colored beans inside. I gave them a quick boil and saute in Earth Balance and garlic, then combined them into a salad with tons of fresh mint, red quinoa and raw cashews. Everything tasted amazingly crisp and clean and summery together here, and was a great way to use the fava beans in a new way. Top with a little squirt of olive oil at the end when serving to add another layer of richness and complexity to this gorgeous and satisfying salad.

1 cup red quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
fresh fava beans, any amount
1 TB Earth Balance
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
One small red onion, minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh mint, packed and chopped chiffonade
1/2 cup raw cashews
olive oil, for serving

Place the quinoa into a fine-meshed sieve and rinse it very well for several minutes. Heat an empty medium-sized saucepan over medium heat for a minute or two. Add in the quinoa and toast until all the water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Now add the water to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place a lid over the pot and reduce the heat to its lowest setting to simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid during this time.

After 15 minutes, remove the quinoa from the heat and let it sit for 5-7 minutes, covered. Then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the fava beans, remove the tough outer husks and discard. Them pierce the light-green skin covering each bean with a knife to reveal the small, bright green fava bean inside.

Bring a small pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Throw in the fava beans and boil them for about three minutes. Drain and rinse the beans off in very cold water. Set aside.

Next, give them a quick saute in the Earth Balance and garlic, about a minute or so, just until the garlic is softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

I love raw onions, so kept them that way in this salad, but if you want to saute them to make them milder, give them a saute in the same pan before assembling the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, fava beans and garlic, red onion and fresh mint. Serve with a little olive oil drizzled over the top.


  1. Love the sound of this! I've never tried Earth balance before but I want to!

  2. this is a lovely looking salad. i was checking out my pantry last night; i am in the need of replenishing my dried beans and grains. i've never used fava beans before, it looks interesting!


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