Quinoa w/ Asparagus, Fava Beans & Mint

After a weekend that involved me stuffing my face on (this is a partial list): brisket, ham, noodle kugel, potato salad, carrot coconut bundt cake, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate covered matzah, and multiple Cadbury Cream Eggs—this week had to start differently. With the markets currently full with such great spring produce, I picked up some asparagus and fava beans.

quinoa salad

I always keep a box of quinoa in the pantry for my post-gluttony “I need to eat healthy today” days, and this past double holiday weekend’s food coma left me no choice but to pull out that quinoa and eat something green.

roasted asparagus

I’ll be the first to admit that fava beans are kind of a pain to cook, but they are absolutely worth the effort.  If you can’t find favas, soybeans make a great substitute.

quinoa finished

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 3 ½ cups)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tbsp.)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 large asparagus spears, roastedtip1
  • ½ cup blanched and shucked fava beans (you can substitute soybeans)tip2
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sliced scallions
  • juice of ½ lemon (2 tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. mint, chiffonadetip3
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt


-Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under warm water.tip4
-Heat vegetable stock until it reaches a simmer- turn off heat and reserve.
-Turn burner to medium and in a large pan, add olive oil and minced garlic.
-When you can smell the garlictip5 (about 1 minute), add quinoa and mix to coat the quinoa, about 1 minute.
-Add 1 tbsp. of salt and hot vegetable stock and cover pan with lid.
-Turn burner down to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.


-Preheat oven to 425 F. -Lightly coat asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. -Roast for 10-12 minutes. -Cut on a biastip6 into ½” pieces and reserve.

Fava beans:

-Shell fava beans from their pods.
-Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil.
-Set up an ice water bath.
-Add fava beans to boiling water, cooking about 1 minute.
-Immediately place beans in ice water bath.
-Remove outer casing.

To finish:

-Mix cooked quinoa with chopped asparagus, fava beans, scallions, lemon juice and mint.
-Serve warm.tip7

My tips:

1. If you can’t find large asparagus, you can use pencil thin or jumbo.  Adjust roasting times accordingly; you are looking for the tips to be slightly brown and crunchy.
2.  Fava beans are in season each spring.  I’ll be the first to admit that they take a fair amount of work, but they are delicious and well worth it.  Soybeans make a great substitute.
3.  Chiffonade means to (very) thinly slice into long strips.  It’s commonly used when referring to herbs or leafy greens.
4.  Rinsing quinoa removes saponin, a bitter tasting coating that protects it from being eaten by birds when grown.
5.  Sweat garlic until you can smell it.  If it’s getting brown, it’s getting bitter.
6.  Cutting the asparagus on a bias gives it a ‘fancier’ look.
7.  I think this dish tastes best warm.