Springtime is synonymous with new growth and an abundance of produce on the local markets around Turkey. At the moment, we just feel like we don’t know where to stop when we’re doing our food shopping! It’s broad bean (bakla) season at the moment so we just had to buy a bagful of them to do a Turkish recipe for broad bean salad – iç bakla salatası.
Broad beans first appear on the local markets around mid-March. This is when they’re really young – as in the photo above – and you can actually eat the whole pod. No need to removed the individual beans if you don’t want to. We’ve eaten them in this way when we make broad beans with sucuk.
As the beans grow and head towards the end of their season (as they do in May), we need to pod them – and, in the case of the really plump beans, remove their outer shells.
This is all very easy and therapeutic. And what you’re left with are the vibrant colours of springtime. Bright greens and yellows. And fresh, crisp beans. Ideal for a broad bean salad recipe!
Broad Bean Salad – Taze İç Bakla Salatası
There are oodles of recipes out there for how Turks make use of broad beans to make a salad. We’re going with a salad that says springtime in colour, flavour and texture; but a salad which is also a bit more substantial.
Enjoy it on its own, as a meze or as an accompaniment to meat or fish.
With all of that in mind, we’re going to be making Orzulu İç Bakla Salatası (Eech bak-la sa-la-ta-ser). A recipe for fresh broad bean salad with orzo pasta.
Orzo is the pasta you often see in the Turkish rice pilaf that is served as an accompaniment to meals. It’s this orzo that is going to help make our broad bean salad a bit more substantial, whilst, at the same time, keeping it light for the warmer weather.
As for the word ‘iç;’ that means ‘inside.’ So we’re using the beans that are inside the pod to make our broad bean salad.
Time To Get Started…
Now we know what we’re making, let’s get prepping and making our broad bean salad with orzo – springtime on a plate. Lots of other fresh flavours to be added to this dish to further tempt the taste buds.
First of all, we need to pod our beans and shell the larger ones as the skin is tough and will taste bitter. It’s up to you how you do this. (Don’t forget, if you’re using young broad beans, no need to remove that outer shell.)
Blanch The Beans
Most people blanch the beans first and then remove the skin as it’s easy to gently squeeze the inner bean from the skin. I find it just as quick to do it when the beans are raw, however.
Once our beans are all podded and ready to go, we’re going to blanch them in a pan of boiling water for no longer than two minutes.
After a couple of minutes, drain in a colander and either run the beans under cold water until they’re cold or plunge them into a bowl of iced water. This is to prevent your beans from cooking further.
Cook Your Orzo
The next bit of cooking necessary for our broad bean salad is the orzo.
As with other pastas out there, you can boil this according to the pack instructions. And as with the beans, when the orzo is cooked, drain into a colander and run under cold water to prevent it from going too soft.
Give it a good shake to remove excess water and then lightly drizzle with olive oil and shake again so the grains don’t stick together. You will be adding more olive oil to the salad later so don’t worry about is spoiling the flavour or the texture.
Prepare Your Other Ingredients
And now it’s time to prep our other ingredients and put together our orzo and broad bean salad.
We want to keep the broad beans as the star of the salad. But we also want some different textures going on, too. Thinly sliced, mild spring onion is perfect – a little of the green stem, too.
Broad beans – and the orzo, too – can handle a lot of flavour so we have an olive oil and lemon juice dressing using the juice of two large lemons.
Our herbs are mint and dill. Broad bean salad with mint is a must as far as we’re concerned. And as for the dill – it’s such a commonly used herb in Turkish salads and its flavour is wonderfully distinctive. Just don’t fall into the trap of using too much or else the balance will be gone and you won’t be able to taste much else.
A Flash Of Colour And Heat
And we’re sure you’ve noticed the contrast to the vibrant greens and yellows of the beans and herbs. Those flashes of red are whole dried chillies, seared over a naked flame and roughly chopped.
This is a great way to get an occasional blast of heat and contrast in flavour without creating a blanket chilli heat as you would with chilli powder or chilli flakes. Remember, the broad beans are the stars in this salad.
A Recipe For Orzo and Broad Bean Salad With Mint & Dill
Here’s what you’ll need – and how much of it – to make our Turkish orzo and broad bean salad.
Broad Bean Salad Recipe With Orzo
- serving bowl
For The Broad Bean Salad
- 1 kg fresh broad beans in pods
- 125 g orzo
- 1 bunch spring onions washed & finely sliced, horizontally
- 2 tbsp mint leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh dill roughly chopped
For The Dressing And Garnish
- 3 whole dried chillies
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lemons juiced
- salt & pepper to season
- First of all, if using fresh broad beans, remove the beans from the pods and shell the larger ones. (You will be left with around 250g of broad beans)
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the beans for no longer than two minutes.
- Drain immediately and run them under cold water to prevent further cooking.
- Boil your orzo according to the pack instructions.
- Once cooked, drain and, again, run under cold water to prevent the orzo from overcooking.
- Give your orzo a light drizzle of olive oil and toss around to prevent it from sticking together.
- Add your broad beans, orzo and the rest of your salad ingredients to a serving bowl or plate and gently mix.
For The Salad Dressing & Garnish
- Add your olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning to a small bowl or jar and mix or shake rigorously.
- Pour the dressing over your broad bean salad and stir in gently.
- Do a taste test and add more seasoning or lemon if necessary.
- Take your chillies, one at a time and hold them with tongs.
- Flash each one over a naked flame so that they become charred in places. This only takes a second or so.
- Cut the chillies horizontally into around four pieces and arrange over the top of your salad.
- As with all of our recipes, the calorie count for our broad bean salad is meant as a rough guide and is based on one of six servings.
- Prep time for the salad includes podding and shelling (if needed) the beans. Some stalls on Turkish markets will sell bags of beans that they have already removed from the pod for your convenience.
- If you can't get fresh broad beans, lots of supermarkets sell frozen broad beans that are already podded.
- We have added some variations to our recipe for broad bean salad, below. Broad bean and pea salad is also very popular as is the combination of broad bean and feta (white cheese).
- If you are buying your ingredients in Turkey, the word for broad beans is 'bakla.'
There are lots of ways to enjoy your broad bean salad…
How To Serve
As we said at the beginning of this article, broad bean salad makes a good standalone salad or a tasty accompaniment to meat or fish. But, it also makes a perfect addition to your meze table.
It is so easy to eat seasonally with the abundant springtime produce on the market stalls. We’d made up a few meze and salad dishes so we just put them all out on the table and enjoyed a springtime ‘meze plate.’
And then, another real springtime treat; çikolota domates – chocolate tomatoes. Don’t be deceived by the dark colour. They’re wonderfully sweet so we keep them simple and enjoy them as they are!
Further Broad Bean Salad Recipe Ideas
No need to stick rigidly to one recipe. Here are some other ideas…
- If you also have fresh peas on your local markets, broad bean and pea salad is a hugely popular combination – with or without the orzo.
- In Turkey, it’s common to add beyaz peynir (white cheese) to salads like this. Broad bean and feta salad works perfectly!
- However you decided to serve your broad bean salad, mint, lemon and olive oil will – more often than not – feature in your ingredient list.
- For more Turkish-style home cooking ideas, check out our collection of Turkish recipes.
- If you’re in Fethiye and are really keen to buy as many local seasonal ingredients as possible, the Friday village market rarely disappoints in revealing some unexpected treats that you might not see on the regular markets like the Çalış Sunday market or the big Tuesday market.