Broad green bean salad with tomatoes, onions and mint

Vegan Broad Bean Salad with Tomatoes and Mint

FAVA - BROAD BEANS: Fava beans, aka broad beans, have a fascinating history. They have been part of the Mediterranean diet forever, albeit with some reservation. They were among the few plant-based foods prohibited by the ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who had a large cult following and preached a vegetarian diet. Although fava beans are highly nutritious (and delicious), for some people, mostly in the Mediterranean, they trigger favism, which is the lack of the enzyme necessary to process and digest them. For a person lacking that enzyme, eating fava beans can cause fever, jaundice and anemia. But for most of us, luckily, the fava bean is one of the great Mediterranean beans, with countless dishes attesting to their culinary and dietary benefits. They’re very high in protein, can help build your body’s natural immunity, and can even help, like all beans, with weight loss. Pythagoras perhaps suffered from favism and so prohibited his followers from eating the beans. By some accounts, he died while being chased across a field of fava beans, perhaps weakened by just breathing in their pollen. We will never know…but in the meantime, for those of us – again the vast majority – the delicate fava bean is one of the Mediterranean’s greatest culinary gifts.

20 min
10 min


  • 3 cups fresh broad beans sometimes called fava beans
  • 5 fresh plum tomatoes cored and diced
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion peeled, halved and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves trimmed and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
  • ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the broad beans for about 3 minutes, until tender but al dente. Remove and drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel away their thickish membrane and, using a paring knife, cut away the black eye on the side of the bean. Place the beans in a serving bowl.
  2. Core the tomatoes and cut them into ½-inch dice. You can choose to peel them if you like by scoring the bottom with a sharp paring knife and blanching them for a few seconds. Drain, cool and peel off the skin. Dice the skinned tomatoes as you would an unskinned one. Add the diced tomatoes to the broad beans.
  3. Peel, halve and dice the onion. Mince the garlic. Add these to the bean bowl, too. Add the fresh mint and lemon zest. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil, season with a generous pinch of salt, and dress the salad with the lemon vinaigrette.
  4. Serve.

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