Salad of Fava Beans, Peas, and Crab with Basil and Aioli Dressing

aioli, crab, peas, favas

I put this salad together on a whim after I splurged on a beautiful Dungeness crab. I had both fava beans and shelling peas on hand but either or is fabulous too. And you could substitute canned Oregon Albacore for the crab or bay shrimp or omit entirely or add chopped hardboiled egg or no additional protein at all. Adapt to your tastes/what you have on hand.

Fava pea crab salad aioli greens

Serves 4


About 6 ounces crab meat (from one large, whole crab) (see headnote)

1 ½ – 2 cups shelled fava beans

½ cup shelled peas (optional—see headnote)

6 cups lettuce, washed, dried and torn or chopped

Handful of basil leaves, thinly sliced or torn

2 scallions, thinly sliced (or a bit of any other type of onion or chives)

3 tablespoons aioli or store bought mayonnaise you’ve doctored with some minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, a little Dijon and a bit of olive oil.

Juice of half a lemon or more to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Shell the fava beans and cook the beans in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Pinch the skins of the beans and set aside. If using shelling peas, cook those for 2 or so minutes in the same water as you used for the favas.


In a small bowl mix the crab, beans (and peas if using) with 1 1/2 tablespoons of aioli and a little salt and pepper.


Toss the basil, scallions and lettuce in a large bowl or on a platter with the remainder of the aioli or doctored mayonnaise and the lemon juice. If your aioli or mayo is too thick for tossing thin it with a little cream or water. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spread the fava bean crab mixture on the bed of greens. Serve immediately.

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