Pick Your Own Broad Bean Perfection

helen and baby eating strawbs in front of 'no eating in field please' sign

Nutrition for health | July 30, 2015 | By

oooooo, yeah – it’s Summer in Blighty and I’m reminded of why we moved back here from downunder. Warm sunny looooong days spent in lush green fields eating the freshest tastiest produce our local farms have to offer. Well OK, it’s not like that everyday, but today it totally was!! 

To some people ‘pick your own’ means strawberries. Fair enough, they’re bloomin’ tasty, and the kids love it. But to me I think of the VEGGIES. Long lines of courgettes with their pretty golden flowers, the greenest crunchiest runner beans, and broad beans in their cute fury jackets just waiting to be popped open and devoured. 

kids shelling broad beans

But hold on… am I really getting excited over broad beans?? What to do with the vegetable that as a child was the only thing I would refuse to eat. The rubbery wrinkly grey things that appeared every so often next to the lamb chops at dinner? 

I have a recipe that will turn any broad bean hater. After tasting this you will hunt those poor overlooked beans down and pick sackfulls of them, stocking them up in the freezer for the months to come. There is nothing quite like the taste of a lunch that has been freshly picked that morning. Thank you Ottelenghi for providing the inspiration for this dish. I just never knew you could pop the tasty bits out of their skins. And your secret tip for adding a bit of oomph to any dish – just add lemon juice, feta or coriander? well here we’ve got all three…. OOMPH!! bowl of broad beans, yum

Broad bean & feta summer celebration salad
Yields 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
  1. 300g broad beans
  2. 200g asparagus
  3. 1/2 shallot finely chopped
  4. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil
  6. 100g feta cheese
  7. small handful coriander
  8. salt & pepper to taste
  1. Blanch asparagus for 3 minutes in a pan of already boiling water, then run cold water over to stop them cooking.
  2. Blanch broad beans for 6 minutes, run cold water over, then press gently to remove skin.
  3. Place greens in bowl, add remaining ingredients, mix and EAT!
  1. If you like strong flavours try adding red chilli and sesame oil.
Nom Nom Nerd http://www.nomnomnerd.com/

…and now for the nerdy bit!

So I’m feeling all virtuous for eating my vibrant green salad, but what’s actually so good about bread beans?

Broad beans are a great source of folate. Folate is necessary for red blood cell production, tissue repair, and cell division. This is why folate is necessary for women trying to get pregnant (to prevent neural tube defects), for men at this stage also (for spermatogenesis). It also means it’s an important vitamin for athletes due to the high red cell turnover during intense training. Athletes are often conscious to have enough iron in their diets, but Folate sometimes gets left behind. There has also been reported a link between folate intake athletes reducing homocysteine levels, and therefore reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

One portion of this salad provides 60% of your folate needs. Take a bowl of breakfast cereal in the mornings to meet the remainder, a handful of spinach in your lunchtime sandwich, red lentils, broccoli and avocado are also great sources.