Those amazingly juicy tomatoes, the aromatic basil, the slight crunch of the cabbage, cucumber and quinoa and the creaminess of the mozzarella and broad beans. This Broad Bean and Quinoa Caprese Salad just works! A light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive too? Yes purrlease.
Summer really isn't trying very hard this year. A few lovely days, then back to rain and clouds again.
I'm still living in hope of summer-dress-wearing-sangria-drinking-BBQ-eating days throughout July and August before I start to live off stews and soups and custard covered puddings.
This gorgeous Broad Bean and Quinoa Caprese Salad is one of my ways of telling myself it's JULY!! Days out, beer gardens, picnics, dinner outside. I'm channeling all the positive vibes.
This salad is really simple to put together, with most of the ingredients needing no preparation except a quick chop.
The only bit of effort goes into preparing the broad beans and cooking the quinoa.
For those of you who've never prepared broad beans before, it's a little time consuming but totally worth it. I like to double-pod them - which means popping the beans out of their fur-filled pod, boiling for a couple of minutes and then popping each individual bean out of its creamy coloured skin to reveal the bright green little bean hiding inside. If you like a bit less fuss and don't mind eating the slightly chewier outer skin, then you can just single pod them.
Personally I find it quite therapeutic to sit there shelling beans, it makes me feel quite homely and old-fashioned. It's also a great job for the kids - as they can help do the prep for you without the need for knives or peelers.
After that, it's a simple case of building up the salad. I like to serve it in a big sharing bowl, so everyone can dig in and help themselves]:
If you're anything like my carnivore of a husband (Chris, you know it's true), you're probably looking at this and asking 'where's the meat?' If you need it, I'd suggest the addition of something a little salty like crispy bacon or chorizo.
I'm still slowly trying to incorporate a vegetarian day and a fish day into our diet every week. I think I've got the fish day firmly in there now with tasty recipes like Seafood Laksa and Fish Tacos. The vegetarian one is progressing a little more slowly. With food that tastes as good as this though? I think I'm on to a winner!
Other additions to your salad:
- Buttermilk chicken (everything taste better with crispy chicken)
- Bacon, chorizo or diced ham - for the people who just can't do without a little meat in their dinner
- Carrot fries for even more colour
More salad recipes:
- Crispy Lamb Salad
- Chicken noodle salad
- Panzanella Salad with Saganaki
- Griddled Halloumi and Peach Salad with Homemade Lemon Pesto
- Cajun Chicken with Coriander and Lime Rice salad
- Guacamole and Egg Breakfast Salad
Or of course there's my book Seriously Good Salads - out on the 16th July!
You can find all the info, have a sneak peak of some of the recipes and pre-order here.
Can I make this salad ahead?
You can make most of this salad ahead. I would leave off adding the avocado (slice it and add it to the salad right before serving to prevent it turning brown). Also don't pour on the dressing. You can make the dressing up ahead, then cover and keep it at room temperature for a day or two.
Apart from the avocado and dressing, the rest of the salad can be made up, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days,
The Broad Bean and Quinoa Caprese Salad Recipe:
Broad Bean and Quinoa Caprese Salad
- 1 cup (170g) dried quinoa and bulgur wheat mix
- 1 veg stock cube
- 14 oz (400g) broad beans (fava beans) in their pods - - this should give you approx. 1 cup (130g) shelled beans
- 1 raw sweetheart cabbage - sliced into ribbons
- 2 cups (40g) pea shoots
- 1/4 cucumber - chopped into small chunks
- 1 avocado - de-stoned, scooped out and sliced
- 16 mini mozzarella balls
- 12 mixed colour cherry tomatoes - sliced in half
- 6 radishes - sliced
- 1/2 cup (50g) feta cheese, crumbled
- Small handful of baby basil leaves
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 3 tsp good balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Cook your quinoa and bulgus mix as per the pack instructions, but with the addition of the stock cube in the water for added flavour. Once cooked, drain and transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Fluff it up a little with a fork and leave it to cool whilst you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Put a pan containing about 2 cups (approx. 500ml) of water on to boil for your broad beans. Make a slit in your broad bean pods and open them up. You should see creamy looking beans nestled in what looks like pillows of fluff. Pop the beans out of the pods and place them in the boiling water.
- Boil for 2-3 minutes and then drain them and place them in a bowl of cold water.
- Take one of the beans and make a small slit in the skin with your fingernail. Pop out the small bright green bean inside onto a plate. It will be a little bit slimy, but this dries quickly. Repeat with the remaining beans.
- Assemble your salad by placing the quinoa and bulgur mixture in a large serving bowl. Add the cabbage, pea shoots, cucumber, avocado, mozzarella balls, tomatoes, radish slices and broad beans.
- Sprinkle on the crumbled feta and arrange the basil leaves on top.
- Prepare the dressing by mixing the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle on top of the salad. Sprinkle on a small pinch of salt and pepper if you like
Quinoa:I like to use a quinoa and bulgur wheat mixture. I use around 170g (1 cup) of dried quinoa-bulgur - which gives you about 500g (2 and 3/4 - 3 cups) of cooked quinoa-bulgur.
You can buy ready-cooked stuff from the supermarket if you prefer - but I like to cook mine at home with a stock cube for a little extra flavour. You could also replace the with all quinoa, all bulgur or couscous is you prefer.
Broad Beans (fava beans):Use fresh rather than canned or frozen broad beans for more flavour.
You can sometimes buy cooked and shelled fresh broad beans from the supermarket.
You could also replace with edamame beans - which are similar in flavour - if you prefer.
Cheese:Use good quality mozzarella pearls and barrel-aged feta cheese if possible for the best flavour.
If you're a vegetarian, make sure they're a vegetarian version (they often are anyway). . Nutritional Information is approximate and is per serving (this salad makes 4 servings).
This post was first published in August 2014. Updated in 2019 with a few improvements to the recipe, new photos and extra tips.
Wanna see one of the photos from back then (when I barely knew how to hold a camera...)? Yeah, my photos were this bad:
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