Get Shelling! Quinoa with Fava Beans, Pistachios and Lemon


When a friend (or farmers’ market) gives you freshly picked fava beans, smile, say thank you, and get shelling!

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Favas, those double-shelled, short-season beans are a bit pesky, but worth it. They are naturally nutty tasting, as is quinoa. Combined with roasted pistachios, you’ve got three nut flavors complementing and building upon each other.

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Add a little lemon, olive oil, and seasonings and you’ve got yourself a great side dish. It holds up terrifically for picnics, too.


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Get Shelling! Quinoa with Fava Beans, Pistachios and Lemon

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 3 lbs fava beans in their pods (look for fat, firm and unblemished pods)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water for quinoa (or amount specified by quinoa package directions)
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher (not table) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or cayenne


  1. Combine water and quinoa in a 2-quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 14-16 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Fluff with a fork. Transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl
  2. Remove fava beans from pods. Yes, this is a bit tedious. But grab a chair and get your friends and/or family involved. It’s a mindless task, you might as well have a nice conversation or listen to music while doing this
  3. Bring a 2-quart pot of water to a rapid boil. Place the first-round shelled beans into the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes (set your timer!). While beans are boiling, prepare an ice water bath in a large shallow bowl. Remove beans from the boiling water and place into the ice bath. Let steep for five minutes
  4. Remove beans from the ice bath and towel them off. Pinch one end of each bean and press the bean out to remove the second shell
  5. In a small sauté pan, toast the pistachios (tossing often for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat). Roughly chop the pistachios
  6. Zest and juice two lemons
  7. Add the favas, pistachios, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper flakes to the quinoa. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve warm or room temperature

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Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

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