Posted by: Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian | April 8, 2014

Spring Eating: Toasted Barley Salad With Fava & Fennel

With spring officially upon us (and finally in the air), I think about the term “spring cleaning” in reference to our diets – purging our cabinets of processed foods and replacing them with nutrient-rich, whole foods. But this year, I’m focusing on spring eating – embracing the bountiful, colorful, delicious produce that is now in-season. Below are just a few reasons to shop with the season:

  • Save Money! Produce that’s in-season tends to be more fairly priced.
  • Reap the nutrients! If picked and eaten at its peak, seasonal produce is packed with more vitamins and minerals than produce that was harvested before ripening.
  • Feel good! Eating seasonally often equates to eating locally grown foods. Eating locally helps support local farmers and reduces the miles your food traveled to reach your plate, minimizing your carbon footprint.

Add these nutrient-packed spring seasonal produce to your shopping list: Apricots, Artichokes, Asparagus, Arugula, Beets, Carrots, Cherries, Chives, Fava Beans, Fennel, Fiddleheads, Garlic scapes, Leeks, Melon, Mangoes, Peas, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Watercress.


Recipe: Toasted Barley Salad with Fava & Fennel 

Serves Six


1 cup pearl barley

3 cups water

1/2tsp salt

3 cups shelled fava beans

1 fennel bulb, shaved

7 mint leaves, thinly sliced

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

1/8tsp sea salt

1/8tsp freshly cracked ground pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. On a baking sheet, place barley in preheated oven until lightly toasted, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water and 1/2tsp salt. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until tender and the water is absorbed.

3. While the barley is cooking, prepare the dressing by adding olive oil, lemon juice and zest, shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk together until combined.

4. In a large bowl, combine cooked barley, fava beans, fennel, and mint. Add dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.



  1. What a great reminder to “spring clean” our diets! I sure hope to find fava beans at our farmers market so that I can try this recipe!

    • Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for stopping by. If you can’t find fava beans at your local farmer’s market, some grocery stores will sell shelled fava beans in the freezer section. Enjoy!

  2. Love this recipe (I’m a fennel fan) and your photo is beautiful!

    • Thanks, Anne! I’m a huge fennel fan too and realized I don’t buy it enough. It’s going to be making its way onto my grocery list more this season.

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