Jun 11 2013

Immediate Inspiration

Sometimes it takes me 45 minutes before I’m intriguted enough by a recipe to feel ready to head to the farmers’ market. A few Saturdays ago, as I began my market-morning ritual of flipping through our cookbooks, I found inspiration immediately. While thumbing through my well-loved copy of Plenty, I paused on a photo of quinoa tossed with fava beans, easter egg radishes, and avocado. After my last quinoa salad, I’ve become much more inclined to linger on recipes that feature quinoa, thanks to its quick cooking time and easy adaptability.

At the market, we filled our bags with favas, radishes, zucchini, potatoes, strawberries, and asparagus. After a week’s worth of travel, we both craved home-cooked food and all that comes with it: prepping, washing, grilling, and eating outside. So, once home, we quickly decided to spend our Saturday cooking.

While Justin grilled zucchini and tossed potatoes with homemade mayonnaise, I gathered the components for this quinoa dish. Because quinoa cooks in about 10 minutes, I simmered it first before setting it aside to cool. The fava beans monopolize the bulk of the preparation time – though early season fava beans are much less work than their later season siblings. Their total cooking time is a little over 1 minute, and a quick dip in ice water easily releases their translucent white coverings.

The salad is enhanced with fatty avocado, lemon, and garlic, and was assembled just as Justin put the finishing touches on the other two dishes. We dined outside on our trio of salads, before heading back to the kitchen to wash up and bake a serving of strawberry drop biscuits!

Avocado, Quinoa & Fava Bean Salad

Recipe Source: Plenty

Serves 6 as a side dish


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 lb (3 cups) shelled fava beans
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 bunches small radishes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup basil leaves, slivered
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • salt & pepper


  1. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with plenty of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 9 minutes. Drain in a sieve, rinse with cold water, and let dry.
  2. Add the fava beans to a pot of boiling water, bring to a boil (this should take around 1 minute), and drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water and let dry. Once dry, remove the skin from each bean.
  3. Squeeze the lemons into a large bowl, capturing as much lemon juice as you can. Slice the avocados thinly and add to the bowl with the lemon juice. Toss to coat.
  4. Transfer the quinoa to the bowl, along with the fava beans, garlic, radishes, basil, cumin, olive oil, chile flakes, and some salt and pepper. Toss very gently, without breaking up the avocado.
  5. Taste and add more salt and pepper, as necessary. Enjoy!