Have you tried fava beans before? The season just started and is quite short, so here is an easy guide on how to prepare fava beans (also known as broad beans) in this vegetable-filled Taiwanese recipe.
If you’ve always wondered how to use fava beans, this recipe and cooking video will show you how to easily prepare them for any dish, though I highly recommend trying this cold noodle recipe that works great as a packed lunch and delicious dinner.
Handmade whole wheat noodles have the perfect texture and thinly sliced summer squash is so divine covered in the tahini turmeric dressing. Fava beans add a mild nutty flavor, while scallions, cilantro, and cucumber brighten up this dish.
Making noodles from scratch may add some time to this recipe, but kneading dough and cutting noodles by hand can be so relaxing and meditative.
If you’re in a hurry, store-bought dried udon noodles like these will work well: japanese dried udon noodles *affiliate link (making this a quick 35-minute recipe).
I use to envy other kids’ lunch boxes during my elementary school days in Taiwan because they were often filled with veggie-packed cold noodles during spring and summer. I watched longingly as they mixed their noodles with fragrant sesame dressings packed separately by their parents.
Now that I’m able to make my own, I start to crave Taiwanese cold noodles as soon as it starts to get warmer outside. This recipe works great for meal prep and it’s the perfect food to pack for a picnic too!
main ingredients at a glance
Tahini is used as the base for this sauce, but you can also use a mix of smooth peanut butter and tahini or replace tahini with peanut butter altogether if that’s all you have on hand.
I prefer an unsalted peanut butter like this one so you can season to taste based on your personal preference: creamy unsalted peanut butter (*affiliate link). It’s much cheaper in stores at Trader Joe’s, so I wouldn’t buy it online unless you really need to.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE
- whole wheat flour
- all purpose flour
- about 20 fresh fava bean pods
- 3 small summer squash
- 1 medium persian cucumber
- 2 scallions
- 5 sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic
- 1″ piece of fresh turmeric or ginger
- 1/2 cup tahini OR smooth peanut butter (can use a mix of both)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
cooking equipment and pantry items used in this recipe
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we do make a small profit from your purchases (your price is not affected by this commission). We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
how to pick fava beans
- Color: Fresh fava bean pods should be green.
- Shape: Select pods with somewhat noticeable bumps, indicating the pod is filled out with beans inside. You may find pods with smaller bumps early in the spring, which indicates younger beans. This is a bonus since younger beans won’t require the second deshelling step beyond just removing the beans from the pod.
- Touch: The pods should be firm, yet slightly pliable with a smooth exterior.
- Size: Fava beans will become larger near the end of the season. They’ll still work for this recipe, though the beans will be starchier and less sweet.
how to make this spring taiwanese cold noodles – step by step prep
Start with making the noodle dough since it will need to rest for 30 minutes.
If you’re using store-bought dried udon noodles, start cooking them according to the package directions right before you start making the dressing. This way, it’s ready to assemble once your dressing is done.
making fresh whole wheat udon noodle dough
time needed: 10 minutes
- Measure out dry and wet ingredients separately for the dough, preferably by weight using a kitchen scale (*affiliate link).
- In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (whole wheat flour,
all purposeflour, and salt) with a whisk. create a well in the center and add the water.
- Mix the water into the dry ingredients using a fork or your hands. Knead the dough in the bowl until it starts to come together as a shaggy mass.
- Transfer the shaggy mass to a flat surface lightly dusted with flour and knead until flour is well incorporated. Shape the dough into an oval disk. The surface should be somewhat smooth (watch the video for a visual reference).
- Cover the dough in an air-tight container and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. I use plastic wrap in the cooking video but have been intentional about reducing my plastics use.
- Move on to vegetable prep while your dough is resting.
how to prepare fava beans
Never used fresh fava beans before? No worries, it’s not too difficult. You may find that you enjoy the nutty and subtly sweet taste of fresh fava beans, which make the extra work worth it.
They’re only in season for a bit anyway, so you might as well enjoy them while they’re around. To watch how to prepare fava beans in the sound of cooking video, jump to the 2:59 time mark.
time needed: 15 minutes.
Here’s an easy guide on how to prepare fava beans:
- Open fava bean pods by breaking the tip, removing the string as if unzipping the pod, and opening the pod down the seam with your thumb (photo 1 above). Remove fava beans and set aside.
Note: if you waxy shell on the beans
aremore translucent than white, you may not need to deshell further. This means you can skip step 5 below.
- Fill a small saucepan (I use a 1.5-quart one) with water and bring to boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice water bath in a medium mixing bowl.
- Blanch fava beans (photo 2) by placing in boiling water until they turn brighter green (about 1-2
- Strain and shock fava beans (photo 3) by placing into prepared ice water.
thin, waxy outer shell by gently squeezing the fava beans out (photo 4).
other vegetable prep
time needed: 5 minutes
Wash and cut each squash in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4 inch thick half moon slices.
Wash and cut the cucumber on a bias into 1/4 thick slices, fan out, and then cut into match sticks (julienne).
Wash scallions and cilantro and gently dry on a kitchen towel. Thinly slice scallion green tops on a bias and roughly slice cilantro.
making tahini dressing for cold noodles
time needed: 5 minutes
Combine chopped garlic, grated turmeric, tahini, honey (or cane sugar for a vegan option), warm water, rice vinegar, and low sodium soy sauce into a small food processor. Blend until smooth.
Don’t have a food processor?
No problem! If you don’t mind mincing your garlic instead of a rough chop, you can make this dressing without a food processor. In this case, just combine all the dressing ingredients into a small mixing bowl or dressing container (*affiliate link) and whisk until smooth.
making handmade whole wheat udon noodles
time needed: 15 minutes
- Cut the rested dough in half and place the other half back in the covered container.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick (photo 6) based on your preference. Note that the thickness will slightly expand when cooked.
- Lightly flour the top surface of the rolled out dough and gently fold it widthwise 3 times (photo 7).
- Cut into 1/2 inch wide strips along the length of the dough with a slicing motion (photo 8).
- Unravel each piece into strands of noodles, toss with some flour and set aside (photo below).
- Repeat steps 1-4 for the other half of dough.
final cooking and assembly
time needed: 5 minutes
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a medium pot. Cook fresh noodles for 2-3 minutes depending on the thickness and desired texture.
Note: Keep the water on a gentle boil so the noodles don’t break apart.
Strain and toss cooked noodles with prepared dressing while the noodles are still warm. If you like a firmer al dente texture, rinse cooked noodles in a strainer with cold water before dressing.
Combine the prepared vegetables with the dressed noodles. Mix and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold later on. Be sure to keep the dressing separate if you plan to eat later.
mise en place – prep table to easily reference
Ever wonder how professional cooks and restaurants are able to serve complicated dishes in such a short amount of time? Having your mise en place (all your ingredient prep) ready before cooking and assembling is key. Here’s a handy prep table below for your reference and a list of what kids can help with in the kitchen, or you can go straight to the recipe card.
|whole wheat flour||120 grams / (about 1 cup)||measure/weigh for noodle dough|
|all purpose flour||80 grams / (about 1/2 cup)||measure/weigh for noodle dough|
|salt, kosher||1/8 teaspoon||measure/weigh for noodle dough|
|90 grams / (6 tablespoons)||measure/weigh for noodle dough|
|make dough according to|
cover and rest dough
for 30 minutes
|fava bean pods||12 ounces (about 20 pods)||remove fava beans|
blanch and shock
|summer squash||3 small||wash, thinly slice, 1/4″ thick|
|persian cucumber||1 medium||wash and julienne|
green tops only
|2 each||wash, thinly slice on a bias|
|fresh cilantro||5 sprigs||roughly slice|
|garlic||1 clove||peel and rough chop,|
add to small food processor for sauce
|1 inch piece||grate into small food processor|
for sauce (~1 teaspoon)
|1/2 cup||add to small food processor|
|1 teaspoon||add to small food processor|
|warm water||2 tablespoons||add to small food processor|
|rice vinegar or|
|1 tablespoon||add to small food processor|
|3 tablespoons||add to small food processor|
|blend sauce until smooth,|
|make and cook noodles|
according to recipe/video
|dress noodles with sauce|
and add prepared vegetables
COOKING WITH KIDS – what can kids help with?
- mixing noodle dough and kneading
- help open fava bean pods to remove beans
- deshelling cooked fava beans (after cooling)
- adding sauce ingredients into the food processor
- help with rolling noodle dough
- dressing noodles with sauce
- assembling their own cold noodle salads
what are some possible ingredient substitutions?
If you find yourself in a pinch, these vegetables work well as substitutes for fava beans in this dish:
- thinly sliced radish (if you’re into a peppery spice kick)
- steamed edamame
- sliced fresh sugar snap peas
- thinly sliced or julienned rainbow carrots
You can customize this recipe to your taste with different vegetables and more or less seasoning.
other vegetables you can use in taiwanese cold noodles
- thinly sliced celery (fresh or quickly sautéed)
- thinly sliced red or yellow bell peppers
- fresh asparagus ribbons (this salad recipe shows you how to make asparagus ribbons)
- japanese cucumbers or any other seedless cucumber
- thinly sliced fresh sugar snap peas
recipes that go well with taiwanese cold noodles
Want to serve this with a refreshing salad? Try this asparagus ribbon spring salad recipe.
Sometimes I crave something hot with a meal even on warmer days and will enjoy this dish with a cup of ginger lemon honey tea.
Please give this recipe a star rating below and leave a comment. I would appreciate it so much and want to hear from you! Don’t forget to tag a photo on Instagram with #healthyfeels or @healthyfeelslovely. I would love to see what you come up with!
Disclosure: The recipe below may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon
taiwanese summer squash, fava bean cold noodles
- 12 ounces fava bean pods (about 20 pods)
- 1 cup ice and cold water, for ice water bath
- 1 small yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into ¼ inch thick half moon slices
- 1 small green summer squash, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into ¼ inch thick half moon slices
- 1 medium persian cucumber, cut on a bias into ¼ inch thick slices, then julienne
- 2 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced on a bias
- 5 sprigs fresh cilantro, roughly sliced
tahini dressing (yields 1 cup):
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt) together with a whisk. Create a well in the center and add water. Mix dry ingredients with the water using your hands or a fork. Knead dough in the bowl until dough comes together as a shaggy mass.
- Transfer dough to a flat surface lightly dusted with flour and knead until flour is well incorporated. Shape the dough into an oval disk.
- Cover the dough in an air-tight container and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, prepare vegetables, herbs, and dressing.
- Open fava bean pods by breaking the tip, removing the string as if unzipping the pod, and opening the pod down the seam with your thumb. Remove fava beans and set aside.
- Fill a 1.5-quart saucepan with water and bring to boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice water bath in a medium mixing bowl.
- Blanch and shock fava beans by placing in boiling water until they turn brighter green (about 1-2 minutes), strain, and place in ice water.
- Remove thin, waxy outer shell by gently squeezing the fava beans out.
- Combine chopped garlic, grated turmeric, tahini, honey (or cane sugar for a vegan option), warm water, vinegar, and soy sauce into a small food processor. Blend until smooth.
making whole wheat udon noodles:
- Cut rested dough in half and place the other half back in the covered container.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until ⅛ – ¼ inch thick based on your preference. Note that the thickness will slightly expand when cooked.
- Lightly flour the top surface of the rolled out dough and gently fold the dough widthwise 3 times.
- Slice into ½ inch wide strips along the length of the dough. Unravel each piece into strands of noodles, toss with some flour and set aside.
- Repeat steps 1-4 for the other half of dough.
cooking and assembly
- Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a medium pot. Cook fresh noodles for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness and desired texture. Note: Keep the water on a gentle boil so the noodles don’t break apart.
- Strain and toss cooked noodles with prepared dressing while the noodles are still warm. If you like a firmer al dente texture, rinse cooked noodles in a strainer with cold water before dressing.
- Combine the prepared vegetables with dressed noodles. Mix and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold later on.