Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.
Today: Gena makes a cold soba noodle salad that's just what you'll want in your lunchbox this spring -- and shares her tips for wrangling spring's most high-maintenance vegetable.
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As clichéd as it may be to label anything as “East meets West,” this dish just may fit the bill. In it, buckwheat soba noodles -- a staple of Japanese cuisine -- meet asparagus and fava beans, both crops that originated around the Mediterranean.
Fava beans may intimidate you at first, but don’t let their large, spotted pods scare you off. Once you get the hang of it, they are easy to work with, and boast loads of protein, color, and texture.
To prepare fava beans, you split the pods open and remove the fat beans inside. This can be tough: the pods don’t always open easily, so you may need a paring knife to help the process along. Once you’ve shelled your fava beans, you’ll need to parboil them for at least 4 to 5 minutes in salted water. Plunge them in cold water and remove their waxy skins. At this point, you can steam, sautée, or cook them as you wish.
Fresh fava beans have a very short season. If you can’t find them, you can substitute a cup of shelled edamame in their place. They won’t have the hardiness of favas, but they’ll have the same brilliant green color and add a protein punch to this dish. I like to prepare the salad and allow it to marinate for a few hours at least; the more you allow the ingredients to mingle with the vinaigrette dressing, the better.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.