broad bean salad with lemon, mint and goats cheese

mixedIt’s been seven long years since my first trip to the sunny northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Despite the passage of time, I remember each detail with a clarity that only survives the best of holidays: the warm gust of air as I exited Barcelona-El Prat and boarded the shuttle bus to the city centre; the vibrant, glossy mosaics lining the terrace in Park Güell; the salty crunch of chorizo wrapped in bread from a smiling street vendor. One visit was enough to stimulate a lifelong love of Spanish culture, food and tradition.

beanbowlmontBarcelona is a beautiful city; a vibrant tumble of old and new, poor and affluent, traditional and modern. Gothic streets juxtapose against modern vehicles like an unintended social statement. Cracked pavements gleam with hidden mosaic tiles. Barcelona is art, embodied, endlessly evolving, complex and raw.

rindIf you’ve traveled to Spain, you may understand my persistent infatuation with Spanish cuisine. Crisp, hot, deliciously fragrant, quickly devoured in shades of blackened crimson, vivid green and soft white. My first meal upon landing was white fish ceviche, delicately opaque, dripping with fresh lemon and good olive oil. Despite eating dinner at 11.00pm (the Spanish way) my taste buds awakened to crisp red peppers, delicate herbs and succulent fish tinged with acid. I’ve never forgotten one bite of that meal, despite being amply lubricated with my first tastes of Spanish sangria; crimson, sweet and lingering. Each bite was a glimpse of culinary heaven.

I fell in love that night. Not with a man, but with the cultural richness, generosity of flavour and reckless abandon embedded in Spanish cuisine. It travelled back with me, from Barcelona’s urban landscape to the dusty red soil of my Australian hometown, Perth.

As soon as I arrived home, I began an endless quest to recreate some of the meals that I enjoyed in Spain, specifically tapas fare: snack-style grazing plates found in every bar and cafe around Barcelona city. As the years have passed, my collection of ceramic tapas dishes has slowly grown to occupy an entire shelf in the kitchen cupboard, interrupted only by a wine decanter that I use to make summer sangria.

cheesemintBeing a diasporic child, it’s safe to say that I incorporate ‘fusion’ in many of my tapas dishes, an example being today’s recipe for broad bean salad. Though broad beans are very popular in Spain, they’re mostly eaten raw or in meaty dishes such as habas con jamon (broad beans with ham). This lemon-infused, chilli flecked concoction is entirely my own, designed to be a fresh, vibrant accompaniment to jamon serrano, crisp pescaito frito, patatas bravas and other tapas staples.

If you can’t find fresh broad beans, frozen will do; just ensure that you handle them carefully whilst peeling their resilient skins. Serve this dish warm or at room temperature, slicked in fruity extra virgin olive oil and accompanied by warm, crusty bread.


Broad Bean Salad with Lemon, Mint and Goats Cheese

Serves 4 as part of a tapas meal or 2 as a side dish

  • 1 cup (170g) podded fresh broad beans (habas, or fava beans)
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil (or lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil, if you can find it)
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 small handful mint, washed and chopped
  • 50-70g firm organic goats cheese, crumbled
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Blanch the broad beans (still in their papery skins) in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Carefully slip the broad beans out of their skins and into a medium sized bowl, then set aside.

beanmontPlace the crushed garlic, lemon rind, chilli flakes and olive oil into a small bowl. Mix carefully, then add to the broad beans with the mint, goats cheese, salt and pepper. Gently toss together.

tablecloserTransfer the salad into a serving dish. Drizzle over a little more olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges (to squeeze over the salad as desired), warm crusty bread and other tapas accompaniments.

saladtop2*Note: In response to several requests from blog followers, I’ve finally established a facebook page for Laura’s Mess: With one extra click, you’ll find all of my recipe links, daily musings, foodie scribbles and snapshots for your enjoyment. Feel free to drop me a line on facebook if you have any day to day questions, recipe links and tips. It’ll take me a while to connect myself with other bloggers on facebook, so if you have your own page, please let me know about it. I’m excited to finally be a part of the facebook food blogger’s community!

88 responses

  1. So that’s what they look like if you bother to peel their skins. It’s only ever for a couple of weeks that I get the chance of buying broad beans fresh. The rest of the year canned has to suffice, and I’m not likely to peel them.
    – I’d love to be able to write that food all over Spain is good. It’s especially good in Catalonia, perhaps. It’s a hit and miss in the South!

    • Haha, yep Johnny… they’re lovely and bright inside the papery skin (I’ve never actually eaten the skins so I have no idea what they taste like. Bitter? Chalky? I’ve never eaten canned broad beans either). In regards to southern Spain, I’ve never been there so I can’t comment on the cuisine! Hm, I guess I shouldn’t really have generalised so much in the post… as ‘Spanish cuisine’ is highly regional, varied and occasionally ‘hit and miss’ as you said. I must’ve struck it lucky in Catalonia/Barcelona. I loved the Catalan culture, their food is amazing. You should definitely visit if you haven’t already. One of my favourite destinations, ever :)

  2. What a stimulating post Laura. I am totally inspired to recreate this salad. I stood staring at a pile of fresh fava pods at the market the other day but nothing came to mind so I passed on. I’m going back to get some. Awww. Spain sounds so romantic. i have been considering facebook for cottage grove house. Should I just do it? So happy to see your post today! :)

    • Hello lovely! Thanks so much for the kind words. I definitely think that you should follow your inspiration and give this a go… it’s one of my favourite salads, ever (the ingredients work well for asparagus, sugar snap peas and green peas also… really versatile). In terms of facebook, it’s an individual decision I think. I was initially a bit hesitant to create a profile as I felt like I might not be able to keep up with it (I struggle enough with my blog posts at times!) but then I reconsidered. I’ve already found that it’s a nice way to write “mini posts” if I don’t have time to write a full one. It’s also a lovely way to connect with other bloggers on facebook, to chat and swap recipes etc. Let me know if you do create an account though, I’d love to be ‘friends’! xx

    • Thanks so much John. It’s one of my favourites. Oh, you know what? I saw an elderly Italian gent yesterday (80+) and I was discussing your Giardiniera recipe with him (vs his family recipe! Very similar!). Was such a lovely afternoon. We spent about ten minutes talking about ‘tomato day’ as well. Such a privilege :)

  3. Laura, I can’t tell you how much I know I am going to love this recipe. It’s the kind that I will try for sure. The colour is beautiful and I can already almost taste the combination of ingredients complimenting each other in every mouthful. All I need to do now is to get a pot of mint and add it to my family of basil and rosemary. Thank you for sharing this simple yet mouthwatering recipe :)

    • Hi Danny! Yep, I think half the beauty of it is just how easy it is to put together. Perfectly delicious simplicity. I’ve got a few herbs on my balcony also. Nothing like fresh herbs from the garden :) Heading over to check out your recent recipe goodness also! I’ve fallen so behind on my reader recently (life has been way too busy for my liking!)

      • Same here. I’ve just enter a horrible phase of company restructure at work. May just take a bold step to end my tv career and do something else…

      • Aw, that doesn’t sound good Danny. We’ve undergone a few restructures here as well, with jobs being lost etc. Not a nice time. Well, if you ever wanna move to Australia open a business together, let me know! My husband is an animator so with your TV skills, hm… maybe we can open a film/TV studio with a cafe and gallery on the side! And get a few other bloggers signed up with us? ;) I can only dream!

  4. Laura – what an absolutely beautifully written post! Your writing is so descriptive and simply transports your readers with you to Barcelona. I particularly loved your memory of your first meal in Barcelona – I feel as though I am sitting there with you! Beautifully done! And the tapas you made sound delicious as well – I have never really cooked with broad beans, but feel as though I must very soon! Thank you for the inspiration, as always, dear friend! xoxo

    • Hello beautiful! Wish that you had been sitting with me there in Barcelona! I think we would have had a grand time exploring the sights (and finding crab-motif shorts and Euro jackets for our boyfriends, haha). I love tapas. Mostly as there are lots of little pots of deliciousness to eat, rather than one big meal (I love to snack!). Thanks for the beautiful note Lindsay. Love lots, blogging sister! xox

  5. I love Spanish food! And I love Barcelona! I mean …like… L.O.V.E
    It always brings me great comfort when I realize that there are people out there who can talk as passionately about food as I can ;) ( every single time I start talking about food , my friends start rolling their eyes ,hahaha! ) Btw, I’m totally craving that salad right now! Looks so fresh and vibrant! :D

    • Hahaha… yes I know exactly what you mean! My husband thinks I’m a bit of a food freak… I get completely overwhelmed and excited whenever I walk into a gourmet food store! I love the fact that we can obsess and gush about food together in the blogosphere. I’m pretty sure that I’m just as passionate as you ;) Definitely try the salad with some other Spanish goodies. So, so good xx

  6. That looks so deliciously fresh, exactly what I need in this weather! But I have the problem of finding the fresh broad beans, it’s probably canned for me (stupid supermarkets). xxx

    • Aw, crap. I hate having to settle for canned ingredients. Our supermarkets sell frozen broad beans here, so I tend to use the frozen variety instead of canned (they’re not quite as mushy, if you blanch them really quickly!). Is it warm over there at the moment? It’s still freezing here. Was 6 degrees when I left for work this morning!! Eek! xxo

  7. MMMMM this looks so tasty:) and thanks so much for sweet words on my blog

    If you like cool sports wear…check out my new post:)

    Have a wonderful day beautiful

    LOVE Maria at

    • Oh, I wish I had a farm shop near me! I have to go roving around markets to get my occasional fix (I get so excited. Over bean pods. No wonder my husband thinks I’m strange!). Thanks for the lovely comment beautiful xx

  8. Oh this salad is gorgeous, I have never had broad beans to my knowledge they look wonderful. I love everything in the salad and it’s also open to interpretation!! Spanish cuisine is so varied depending on the region but everywhere I travelled in Spain I found the food to be fresh and flavorful, I just loved it. Your post is wonderful as is the recipe.

    • Hi Suzanne! You definitely need to try broad beans, they’re wonderful – sweet, vibrant and very ‘green pea’ like. You’re exactly right about the salad. It can be easily modified to suit the ingredients in your cupboard… my favourite additions are some Spanish onion, watermelon (it works, trust me!) and grilled chorizo. I haven’t been lucky enough to travel to many varied parts of Spain but I’d love to one day. The Catalonian cost was enough to captivate me. Thanks for the beautiful comment lovely xx

  9. I share your thoughts about Barcelona and Spain in general (it might also be because my grandma is from Alicante and fed me Spanish food and stories from an early age), and this recipe looks simple and simply delicious.
    Your broad beans are huge! The ones we find here, in the UK, are tiny in comparison, but this shall not stop me from trying to make this! Thank-you for the tips!

    • Hello dearest! Nice to hear from you… I am in love with your gorgeous blog. I haven’t eaten English broad beans for years. Are they really that small? We get pretty large ones here in Australia. Maybe it’s the sunshine :) During my visit to Barcelona, I was taken under the wing of a Spanish grandmother (who was actually the cleaner of the hostel I was staying at). She made wonderful food. I can imagine the delicious stories and treats that your grandmother must’ve shared with you! I love happy memories of family, food and love. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Definitely try the salad if you can! xx

  10. I dream of going to Spain one day, for many reasons, the food certainly being one of the biggest! Thank you for sharing this beautiful salad and the bright, lovely photos. I’m very hungry now. I will look for you on Facebook – I’m there too! You can connect with me via the FB “like” button on my site. I’m looking forward to your “recipe links, daily musings, foodie scribbles and snapshots”. :)

    • Oh yay! I’ll look for you on facebook too lovely. I was a little uncertain about starting out on facebook initially, just due to my present time restraints etc. However, after two days I’m already liking the instant method of communication and the sharing of ideas :) I do hope that you get to travel to Spain some day soon. It’s one of my favourite destinations – it occupies a permanent warm and sunny spot in my brain! xx

  11. Lovely salad, Laura. The green is so vibrant! I adore fava beans. In Rome, at spring time, we eat them raw, with their peel, along with some pecorino cheese. I agree: Barcelona is a gorgeous city.

    • Hello lovely! I adore fava beans also, but I’ve never tried them with pecorino cheese. The Spanish also eat them raw, as a snack with beer or wine. I did like them in their raw state so I’m keen to try the cheese version! Thanks for the lovely comment. I’d love to go to Rome one day… it’s been ages since my last Europe trip (way too long!) xx

  12. I love Spanish food. These days I couldn’t handle the dinner hours, alas (way too late for that much food) but I love the cuisine. And I love this salad! Really nice combo of flavors – perfectly balanced. Good stuff – thanks.

    • I struggled with the dinner hours too John! On the first night, I was pretty much ready for bed by the time dinner rolled around ;) The salad is one of my favourites. I also add the dressing/other ingredients to green peas, asparagus spears, sugar snaps… pretty much any of the young and tender green vegetables. Thanks so much for the comment. We must eat Spanish together one day!

  13. Look at your photos, Gorgeous! The beans look so green and fresh, you could eat them through the screen :)

    • Aw, thank you so much Renee. I appreciate the beautiful words! I love vibrant colours… broad beans are wonderful for adding a splash of colour to the plate! x

    • Hm, I know what you mean. I’ll add you on facebook and keep posting you questions so that you use your account, hahaha! So far I’ve enjoyed having the facebook link. It’s been great to post little ‘in progress’ cooking photos etc. We’ll see how long I can keep it up! xx

  14. I always, always double-pod my broad beans. You just can’t beat that verdant inner-bean. We recently dined at MoVida Aqui and it set off my home-sickness for Spain. (Not that I’ve ever lived in Spain, but it feels like home-sickness). I promptly ordered MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures to add to my collection of Frank Camorras’ other cookbooks. Once you get Spain and Spanish food in your system, you’re gone. It’s a virus.

    • Definitely agree re the double podding and the Spanish ‘virus’. It’s stayed within me for years now, firmly embedded in my heart and brain! Good thing it’s beneficial rather than deadly ;) Ooh, I’ve read a lot of Camorra’s recipes but I don’t have a book in my collection as yet. MoVida sounds absolutely divine. It’s on my wish list! xx

  15. You managed to describe the spanish food culture so well Laura, from the food itself to the late dinners (something we do here as well). A country where the `lunch hour´ can last 3 hours, the words `reckless abandon embedded in spanish cuisine´ are spot on. And I think fava beans are my favorite legumes, hands down. And amazing salad my friend!

    • Aw, thank you so much Paula! Your encouragement means a lot. The words came directly from my heart, as both the culture and flavours of Spain have firmly embedded themselves there! I love the fact that food is a central part of “being” in Latin America/Europe. Over here in Australia, we often skip lunch or scoff it down at our desks so that we can continue with work (like I did today!). We hardly even notice what we’ve shoved down our throats. I think I’d be right at home where you are. I’m a night owl, too :) Sending you a hug! xx

    • Aw, thanks Kiran! Yep, it makes them so much more visually appealing… shiny, sleek and vibrant. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’ve missed reading your inspiration recently. Your photos are always magazine-worthy, so are your recipes. Sending you a hug, thanks for being a beautiful blogging friend! xox

  16. What a lovely and informative post Laura. Some of my most favorite dishes, especially in the summer are reflected in this recipe; bright, fresh and simply prepared; that’s all seasonal produce needs to make me a very happy girl. Gorgeous!

    • Thank you so much Barb! You’re lovely. I do agree with you, bright colours always sing of summer. It’s actually winter here at the moment but dishes like this one brighten me right up on a dull day! Thanks for taking the time to comment! x

  17. This is my favorite kind of post, Laura. You brought me along, right in the chair beside you, sipping on chilled sangria and nibbling on tapas, the warmth of the sun on my face. I feel your joy, remembering that holiday. This salad has such lovely components, mellow broad beans, sharp lemon and fragrant mint, a hit of spice and creamy goat’s cheese. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Aw, thank you Stacy! I’m never sure how my words translate when other people read them, but I am so glad that the ‘trip down memory lane’ worked out as intended :) I loved my time in Spain. I’m itching to get back there when we can afford the trip. Re the broad beans, this is one of my favourite simple dishes to add a splash of freshness, colour and texture to any meal. It’s so easy, and so worth it xx

  18. I was transported to Spain after reading your post. Beautiful…just like the vibrant salad! I love broad beans, mint and goats cheese. Together they will be sensational! Lovely pictures too.

    • Thank you so much Sonali! Barcelona is such a beautiful place… I was hoping to capture just a little bit of the flavour and vibrancy in this simple salad. Hope that you enjoy it, if you try it! xx

    • Thank you lovely. I really do hope you take a trip to Spain, specifically Barcelona. It’s somewhere I’ll never forget… ever since my first visit, I’ve just wanted to hop on a plane and rediscover it again! The salad really is wonderful. Simple recipes are often the best! xx

  19. This salad looks wonderful! I love broad beans but don’t eat them nearly as much. The photos are gorgeous and I love the vibrancy of both flavour and colour of this salad.
    I am always sad that we didn’t go to Barcelona when we used to go to Spain. I was quite young but I loved the Costa Del Sol. We didn’t eat out much back then because we had an apartment so my mum cooked. So long ago….


    • Hi Nazneen! Aw, so lovely to hear from you. Thanks so much for your kind words. I know what you mean about cooking on holidays. My husband and I do the same these days, as we try and save a bit of money when we can. I do love eating out though, it’s such a special experience when you’re in a different country! Hope that you enjoy the salad if you try it! xx

  20. Ahhhhh, I’m right there with you Laura. Gorgeous post, and such lovely writing. Husband and I were in Barcelona many years ago and you just teleported me straight back. Unfortunately for us, Barcelona was the last leg of a 4-month trip and our funds were severely depleted. We subsisted on potato tortilla almost daily! On our last night though (my birthday) I had one of the best meals of my life. We scraped together all our pennies and visited a tiny backstreet cafe with plastic gingham tablecloths and a giant, central paella pan surrounded by drooling locals. Magnificent! Your broad bean salad looks delicious. Can’t wait for the warm weather to hit. I’m still in slow-cooking mode. I’ve bookmarked this to try later.

    • Hello lovely! Oh, I can imagine how your funds would’ve been depleted. Europe is such an expensive destination to visit; my friend and I also lived on bread and beans for most of the trip, but we were lucky enough to splash out a few times though. Love your recollections of Barcelona. The backstreet cafes and bars were some of the most beautiful, authentic places to visit. I remember a tiny flamenco guitar bar that was down a flight of stairs in a basement… the air was thick with cigarette smoke, but the wine was plentiful and the guitar was brilliant. Ah, I’m reinfecting myself with the travel bug (need to start saving again!). Hope that you enjoy the salad when you try it. I’m over the winter too… I’ve been making salads in denial! xx

  21. Laura – as you can see, I am behind in my blog reading as well! After reading this, I went online (seriously) to check plane routes from Tucson to Barcelona! But maybe I should just make plans to visit you in Australia! (I am so impressed by how much good food and how many foodies there are in Australia!) I really love broad beans and the combination of them with the goats cheese and herbs sounds perfect. The really good news is that it is bean season here! ~ David

    • Hi David! Haha… YES definitely come and visit me here in Australia! I’ll take you and Mark on a food and wine tour of Western Australia! We have vineyards and gorgeous foodie destinations within 30 minutes of the city centre. It’s not Spain (I definitely encourage you guys to visit Barcelona, it’s one of my favourite destinations) but the Australian food culture is beautiful in itself. We lead a pretty blessed life over here – beaches, gorgeous weather most of the year, fresh Australian-grown produce, some of the friendliest people around! Let me know when you book your tickets! ;)

    • Ah, Mackenzie you definitely should go! It’s absolutely beautiful, both in a foodie and cultural sense. Thanks for the lovely words. This salad is definitely one of my favourites :) xx

  22. Laura, who doesn’t love this …. just stunning and the salad with those ingredients – love everything in and about this post. Your photos are always so amazing. So on file this will go straight away.

    • Hello beautiful Viveka! Thanks for your lovely words of encouragement. The salad is one of my favourites; delicious in its simplicity! Hope that you’ve been well. I’ve been thinking of you xx

  23. Sometimes I feel that it’s weird I haven’t made it to Barcelona yet, even though I grew up in Sweden, which is only a 2-hour flight away! I’ve heard so much about it, and reading your post makes me wanna go even more! If not for the food, then for everything else, too! Maybe I’ll start with making this salad, which looks absolutely delicious Laura!

    • It’s definitely worth a visit Yvonne! The culture, food and music are so vibrant and rich. If you love history, there’s so much to discover… particularly the gothic part of old Barcelona. I spent hours looking at the old architecture and cobblestones! I hope you enjoy the recipe. It always adds such colour and vibrancy to the dinner table. I love it :) xx

    • Hello lovely! Oh, I am so glad that the recipe was a success for you! It’s one of my favourites, easy and delicious, so it’s encouraging to hear that your family loved it too. Thanks for letting me know. Can’t wait to try some of your food ideas also! xx

  24. You are a girl after my own hear <3. I love broad beans… even the peeling part :) Isn't lemon, mint and goats cheese just the best combo? I smoosh mine on toast with avo. Stop it – I'm getting so hungry!

    • Oh yum… the broad bean mix and avo on toast sounds like heaven! I want some too! I also agree that the peeling is pretty therapeutic. As is all cooking… I love it. Sigh… I wish that I could quit my job and be a full time foodie. I’d be in heaven :)

  25. I’m living on salad these (hot summer) days and am partial to broad beans (we call if Fava beans here and in Iran we call them baghala and do all sorts of things with the) and I’m fairly confident in claiming that I intend to make and feast on this salad. Looks YUM!

    • Ooh, I’d love to look up some of the Iranian methods for using fava/broad beans. Do you have some recipes on Fig & Quince? The salad was gorgeous. It’s one of my favourites, but I can’t wait to try some new and exciting ideas for broad beans x

    • Thanks so much Colleen! I appreciate the kind words. You should definitely travel there yourself one day, it’s such a beautiful country! Was a pleasure to visit your blog again today too xx

    • Aw, thanks for the lovely encouragement. I appreciate you taking the time to comment :) The salad is definitely one of my throw-together favourites, so I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of broad beans! x

    • Oh wow, I don’t think I’ve tried fresh sheeps milk cheese before. I’ll have to try it… sounds gorgeous! Is it a soft cheese? I’m so curious now :)

    • Hahaa, I was wondering if anyone would’ve tracked this article down yet. Thanks man, I appreciate it. P.S you were up early enough to go mushroom foraging…! See you soon amigo!

  26. Prize well deserved Laura – this looks absolutely gorgeous! I almost felt like I was there with you! Congratulations on your win last night! Thank you for being part of my EDB13 story!

    • Jem! So lovely to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words, was awesome to spend some time with you over the weekend too. Hope that we can catch up soon for some Perth food and blogging goodness! xx

  27. Pingback: Eat Drink Blog 4 – Done! — Eat Drink Blog

  28. Pingback: Picnics and Caramelised Onion Foccacia « Laura's Mess

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Cashew Kitchen

a (whole) foodie photography blog

Brooklyn Homemaker

modern classic recipes, story telling, and a little bit of history. Oh yeah, and schnauzers.

better than a bought one

as homemade should be


Perth Food Blog | Restaurant Reviews | Food & Travel Blog | Gluten Free

The Veggy Side Of Me

Deliciousy Green...

%d bloggers like this: