Fava beans are the Mother of all beans. In the UK they are know as “broad beans” because of their girth (presumably). And while they are growing in popularity in the West, there are few kitchens which use this delicious, healthy bean consistently. Although they have been cultivated in the Mediterranean and Middle East for centuries, the fava bean has been hiding in the closet. It’s time to shed some light on this super food.
Unlike green beans, snow peas or grean peas, fava beans have a thick outer coating that cannot be cooked and easily digested. Instead, they produce large, fat beans that are quite meaty and substantial. Harvested in the Winter months and early Spring, favas are a nutritious addition to any kitchen.
Nutritional Benefits of Fava Beans
Currently being touted as a “super food” by many nutritionists, favas have been enjoyed as a food item for centuries. They are high in protein, folate, and fiber. Just 1 serving contains nearly 50% of the RDA of protein you need with only 15% of your RDA calories and 7% of your RDA fat. That, my fellow goddesses, is a super food.
Just 1 serving of fava beans has nearly 50% of the RDA of protein you need with only 15% of your RDA calories and 7% of your RDA fat. That, my fellow goddesses, is a super food.
Other important minerals: One serving has (about 3-4 ounces) also has 90% of your copper needs, as well as more than enough iron, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus for 1 meal!
Preparing Fava Beans
If you are lucky enough to find them in your local grocer, fresh broad beans are easy to cook and truly delicious. Gently cooked, tender beans have a wonderful, soft consistency. All they need is a bit of water and salt to cook thoroughly.
Fresh Fava Beans
- Fava Beans
- 2 sprigs of spring onions, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Extra virgin Olive oil
- If needed. shell the fava beans and place in a pot. Fill half-way with water and sprinkle with salt.
- Add slices of spring onions and fresh garlic over the top.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Once the water is fully absorbed, remove from heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil and enjoy cold or hot!
Frozen Fava Beans
All I can find in Virginia is frozen or dried fava beans. While I prefer fresh, I have gotten used to preparing these guys, as well. To find frozen or dried fava beans, visit your international foods aisles or nearby International, Oriental or Middle Eastern grocer. Ask for help in finding them if you can’t find easily in the dried beans section, rice section or in the frozen glass compartments.Frozen Fava Beans
- Similar to above, however I find frozen fava beans to be more mature, therefore a little more tough. Prepare the same, but feel free to dress it up.
Some of my favorite dressings to add to a fresh fava bean salad are pictured here: with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, artichoke hearts, cilantro, fresh garlic, and sliced black olives.
Dried Fava Beans
- Like all dried legumes, place in a bowl and fill with water, covering the beans by at least a couple of inches. Allow to soak overnight. Rinse the following morning with fresh water.
- Fill a pot with fresh water and cook over a stove top on low heat, at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Drain and cook as above
In Egypt, fava beans are an inexpensive and healthy breakfast called “foul medemes.” One can find pots of fava beans being slow-cooked on most city corners for a quick breakfast that will keep buyers satiated for hours due to their low glycemic index. Served with olive oil, salt, lemon juice, cumin and a spoon, foul medemes was once considered a “poor man’s breakfast” – but we now know it is a ridiculously healthy alternative to sugary cereals!
Want more dietary information on fava beans? Check out the USDA National Nutritional Database here: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4791
Have you tried fava (or broad) beans? Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share! We would love to hear from you!
Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .