Spring Peas and Greens with Cacio e Pepe Dressing

Inspired by cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), the classic Italian pasta sauce, this salad features spring greens and fava beans topped with a delicious buttermilk dressing. Slideshow: Recipes for Spring Produce 

Spring Peas and Greens with Cacio e Pepe Dressing
Photo: © Johnny Miller
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk

  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus more for garnish

  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 pounds fava beans, shelled (2 cups)

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed

  • 4 cups spring greens, such as pea tendrils or baby arugula (2 ounces)

  • 1 Hass avocado, peeled and cut into thin wedges


  1. In a food processor, pulse the egg yolk with the buttermilk and garlic. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add the 3 tablespoons of cheese and the peppercorns and puree until smooth. Season the dressing with salt.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Boil the favas until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the ice bath. Add the peas to the pot and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes for fresh and 1 minute for frozen. Drain and transfer to the ice bath. Drain the favas and peas. Pinch the fava beans out of their skins.

  3. In a bowl, toss the favas, peas and greens. Add some dressing, season with salt and toss. Arrange the avocado on plates and top with the salad. Garnish with grated cheese and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Zesty Pinot Grigio from Italy.

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