Fava Bean Fennel Salad with Parmesan

SaladFava BeanFennel

Fresh fava bean salad with sliced fennel, mint, scallions, and Parmesan.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Fava beans are a gardener’s dream!

They come up early in Spring, they’re easy to grow, and their roots fix nitrogen in the soil, helping to prepare the soil for vegetables planted later in the season.

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They are delicious, though you do have to work for it. Unless very young, the beans need to be shucked twice, first before cooking to remove the bean from the pod, and then after cooking to remove the tough outer membrane from the bean.

Fava Beans

Garrett was over the other day to help pick and shuck and we made this lovely spring salad with fava beans from my garden. Fennel and Parmesan are one of those weird but wonderful flavor combinations that work great alongside fava beans and mint .

We still have plenty of favas growing in our garden. Do you have a favorite way of preparing them? (Hold the Hannibal Lector quote, thank you.) If so, please let us know about it in the comments.

Fava Bean Fennel Salad with Parmesan Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2-3 lbs fresh fava beans (also called broad beans), yielding about 1 1/2 to 2 cups shelled beans
  • Salt
  • 1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced (mandoline works well for this)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade by stacking leaves and rolling them into a cigar shape, cut thin slices from the end)
  • 2 scallions (green onions), sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Shell the fava beans outer pod: Fava beans need to be shelled twice, first before cooking to remove the outer pod, then after cooking, to remove the tough membrane around the bean.

To remove the outer pod, work over a large bowl and squeeze the bean with your fingers, bending the pod so that when it snaps, the bean inside shoots out into the bowl. Remove all the beans from their pods.

2 Boil the beans: Add the beans to 2 quarts of boiling, salted water. Simmer the beans for a few minutes, until just tender.

3 Remove outer peel: Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the pan and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and to shock the beans into a bright green color. Let the beans sit in the ice water for a minute or two, then drain them and remove the outer peel.

4 Combine salad ingredients: In a bowl combine the freshly peeled and cooked fava beans, the sliced fennel, and onions.

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the the salad (about a tablespoon), add the Parmesan and mint, and toss to mix.

Garnish with fennel fronds and/or mint sprigs.

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Fava beans growing in our garden


Fava bean dip with goat cheese and garlic and Shaved fennel salad from here on Simply Recipes

Grilled fava beans from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

Pasta with favas, tomatoes, and sausage from Deb of Smitten Kitchen

The incredible shrinking fava bean from Marc of Slices of Blue Sky

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

22 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Ruthie

    I’ve made this salad twice already this season, love the flavor combination.
    One of my favorite ways to make favas is just a simple sauté with panchetta, garlic and shallots


  2. See

    Thank you so much for this recipe. Made this salad twice already from our harvest of fava beans, so delicious !


  3. Kitty

    Dear bean lover and Elise,
    It is not an allergy or like an allergy. It’s a hereditary condition, which only males are afflicted. Where eating Fava Beans causes “hemolytic anemia” and yes it can be deadly. Google it.

  4. Will

    Ok, here is my favorite fava(broad) bean recipe. Incredibly simple. the cheese and beans go so well together.

    2 kg. fava beans
    Olive oil
    Pecorino cheese
    Juice of one lemon

    Boil the beans in a big pot of salted water for 5-7 min. Cool under cold water. Remove beans from pods and then remove tough outer shell from each individual bean. Salt and pepper beans. Shave some pecorino cheese with a potato peeler on top of beans. Sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil and squeeze a lemon.

    Love the simplicity of this approach. Thanks for sharing! ~Elise

  5. Jim Price

    Gosh, this recipe was so good! I have never been able to find fava beans in my little area of SW Colorado, so I ordered 1/2 case from Amazon.com. I am so glad I have more for future salads.


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