I love the changing of seasons. Every time, it seems like the old one has just started to wear thin and the new one is exciting and refreshing. And in a foodie’s world, no season change is more exciting than winter to spring. While root veg and hot chocolates have their wonderful, delicious time, it can get a little same-y and stuck-in-a-rut by the end of winter, and my tummy yearns for something other than root vegetables, kale & sprouts. I love these things, but with spring comes broad beans, peas, asparagus, strawberries, and all manner of extremely exciting produce. And I love it.
I’m a big advocate of eating seasonally where possible, and although we are prone to eating bananas and avocados and oranges from abroad year-round, we do try to make a large part of our diet seasonal and local. So now that I am starting to see the first delicious products of spring, I feel inspired.
So inspired, that the first hint of sunshine brought me straight to my kitchen and I found myself creating recipe after recipe of exciting fresh food.
This is one of my favourites.
As you probably know from my aubergine & chickpea (eggplant & garbanzo beans to the Americans!) tartines, I love coming up with a refreshing change to the same old sandwich fillings that I get so easily bored with seeing again and again. My favourite way to rethink sandwiches is by starting with vegetables and making them the star. It’s cheaper, far healthier and delicious!
So today, here is a gorgeous spring take on boring old sandwiches: broad bean (fava bean), pea & mint spread, served on a toasted (ideally sourdough) bread as a yummy sandwich. But please, don’t feel limited to using this spread solely for sandwiches, or even as a sandwich filling on its own! Dip vegetables in it, spread it on bread and sprinkle with cheese then grill for a broad bean “melt”, mix into some cooked pasta or rice as a pesto-like sauce, serve on its own to a solids-starting baby, serve alongside a breakfast burrito, or smear on meat or fish before you grill or bake it. Seriously, this spread is so much more than a sandwich filler.
But then again, it does make a pretty darn good sandwich!
A yummy springtime sandwich spread recipe that is just as great served as a pesto-like veg-heavy sauce on pasta or meat or fish, or even as a dip or a baby puree! Amazingly versatile with a subtle, delicious spring flavour. Vegan and gluten free.
- 150 g (1 cup) frozen peas
- 170 g (1 cup) frozen broad beans (fava beans)
- olive oil
- 1/2 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
- salt & pepper, to taste
- toasted (sourdough or gluten-free) bread, to serve
Cook the broad beans in simmering water for 2-3 mins, then add in the peas and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Strain and allow to cool.
Blend the peas & broad beans, adding olive oil a tablespoon at a time until it forms a puree. Season to taste.
Stir in the chopped fresh mint. Serve over toasted bread for a bruschetta-like lunch with a sprinkle of coarsely ground pepper and an extra drizzle of olive oil. It's also nice with extra ingredients like crumbled goat's cheese or feta, or some chopped nuts or seeds for crunch, or even some crispy bacon if you are not vegetarian/vegan.