How to Cook Fava Beans

I’ll show you how to cook fava beans via the blanching technique. Also, please take a look at this step-by-step guide showing you how to remove the beans from their pod, peel them, and cook them. This fiber and protein-packed legume make for a delicious addition to your diet. 

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Fava beans, also known as the broad bean, horse bean, and faba bean, are commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. This legume, much larger than the typical pea, have an oval, green shape. When cooked, they have a distinctive flavor, earthiness, bitterness, sweetness notes, and a soft, buttery texture.

The broad beans are usually in season during the spring but can be bought in dried form throughout the year. When it comes to cooking fava beans, some preparation is required unless you prefer to eat them uncooked. This guide will help you prepare them for various fava bean recipe choices, such as appetizers, salads, sides, and soups. These nutrient-rich legumes can add a nutritious kick to any meal.

fava beans

Step 1: Removing the Shells

Fava bean pods have a thick, fibrous, inedible structure and are a source of dietary fiber. To get to the shelled beans, you can either snap the tip off the stem, pull the string to open the pod or use a paring knife to make a shallow cut along the sides of the pod.

After the pod is opened, four or five fresh beans are usually covered in white skin. It would be best to cook the beans with the skin still on for easy peeling later.

Along with removing the beans from the pod, you can also use the pods for cooking. For example, you can use the pods to make a stock for soups. They can be added to stews or used as a vegetable wrap.

Fava bean pods come in different sizes and colors, ranging from green to brown. They are usually about 2-4 inches long. The legumes are usually harvested when green but can also be found in their dried form.

They are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Fava bean pods are popular in many dishes, such as soups, salads, and stews. They can also be used as a side dish or as a snack.

Step 2: Blanching the Beans

Blanching is a critical step in the preparation of this nourishing bean. Blanching helps preserve the fava beans’ flavor while softening their tough outer skin, making them easier to peel. It also helps reduce the risk of foodborne sicknesses, as it destroys bacteria that may be present on the beans’ surface. Blanching also helps maintain the color and texture of the beans and their nutritional value.

Blanching is a simple process. First, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 1 to 5 minutes, depending on their size and your desired level of done-ness.

By blanching fava beans, you can ensure that your dishes are flavorful, safe, and nutritious.

Step 3: Chilling the Beans

After blanching the fava beans, it is vital to cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. This can be done by placing the beans in a bowl of ice water and stirring them around until they are excellent.

Another option is to place the beans on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and leave them to cool in a refrigerator. Once your beans are cooled, they should be drained, peeled, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cooling the beans after blanching is essential in preserving their texture and flavor and ensuring they remain safe to eat. It is also crucial to ensure that the beans are completely cooled before peeling the skin.

Step 4: Removing the Skins

fava bean

You’ll find that the beans still have a thin white layer covering them, like a protective barrier that envelops the beans. The coating will have a slighter bitter taste with a fibrous texture, but it is safe to eat.

To make the beans more palatable, you’ll want to remove the outer layer before eating. To do this, gently take your fingernail and start peeling the skin away, then use your fingertips to remove it. Your peeled fava beans are ready to be used in your favorite dish.

Removing the outer layer of the beans is not complex and will significantly improve the taste and texture. The thin white covering can give the beans a gritty and unpalatable texture and taste, so it is essential to take the time to remove this layer.

No matter how you decide to prepare the fava beans, taking the time to remove the thin white coating from the beans will result in a much better tasting and enjoyable experience. Not only will the flavor be improved, but the texture of the beans will also be enhanced.

Picking the Best Fava Beans and Storage

Picking the best fava beans isn’t tricky, but it requires some knowledge to find the best quality. The fresh favas is a long, green pod containing several beans. The beans should be large and plump and have a vibrant green hue. They should not have any yellow, brown, or black spots, nor should they be scorched. The smaller beans should are typically tender and sweeter, while the giant beans have more of a starchy taste.

It is also essential to look for insects or signs of disease on the pods. When picking the pods, choose those that are firm and don’t have any soft spots. It can be practical to bring a container to put the beans in to help keep them fresh and prevent them from being crushed while picking. Once you’ve picked the best pods, they can be shelled, cooked, and enjoyed.

The best way to store fava beans is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help keep them fresh and prevent spoilage. Fava beans should be rinsed thoroughly with cold water before storing them. Place the beans in the container and cover them with cold water. Place a lid on the container and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

If you plan to store them longer, it is best to freeze them. Spread the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Once frozen, transfer the frozen fava beans to an airtight container or zip-lock bag and store them in the freezer for up to six months. To thaw the beans, place them in the fridge overnight or run them under cold water for a couple of minutes.

How Many Beans Do Pods Usually Yield?

Fava plants can yield anywhere from 5-25 beans per pod. The number of beans in each fava bean pod depends on the variety of fava beans, the growing conditions, and the water and nutrients available.

Generally, small-seeded varieties produce more beans per pod than large-seeded varieties. For example, a single pod of the small-seeded variety Broad Windsor can contain up to 25 beans. The larger-seeded variety Aguadulce Claudia yields around ten beans per pod.

Different Ways You Can Use Fava Beans

how to cook fava beans

  • Mix it with chickpeas to make yummy hummus
  • Add them to your lentil soup
  • Add them to your next Greek salad
  • Drizzle them with olive oil and sauté them with a bit of salt, pepper, and lemon juice for a simple but delicious dish
  • Grill them in their pods
  • Puree to fold into your homemade pasta dough
  • Boil the beans until tender and fry them in chicken, beef, or pork fat
  • Blend in a food processor with roasted garlic and caramelized onion after blanching your beans
  • Puree them with other ingredients to create a delicious pesto cheese ravioli filling
  • Puree the fava beans and mix them into your guacamole
  • Roasted fava beans with dill and lemon

Preparing Dried Fava Beans

To cook dried fava beans, start by soaking them in water overnight. This will help the dry fava beans soften and become easier to cook. Once soaked, rinse the beans and discard the soaking water. Place the dried bean in a pot and cover them with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. The beans should be tender and have a creamy texture.

Once cooked, you can use the once-dried beans in various recipes. Try adding them to a hearty soup or stew or tossing them with a flavorful dressing. You can also make a delicious side dish by sautéing them with some onions and garlic. They can also be mashed and used as a spread or dip.

Dried fava beans complement any kitchen with their versatility, nutrition, and delectable flavor. Whether you’re looking for a protein-packed side dish or a tasty appetizer, you can’t go wrong with these hearty beans.

fava bean recipe

how to cook fava beans

How to Cook Fava Beans

I'll show you how to cook fava beans via the blanching technique. Also, please take a look at this step-by-step guide showing you how to remove the beans from their pod, peel them, and cook them.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4
Calories 28 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Saucepan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. fava beans fresh
  • Ice as much as needed for chilling
  • Water as much as needed for chilling and boiling
  • 1 Tsp salt seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Extract the fresh fava bean from fava pods by gently snapping off the tip of the stem end and then pulling the tip down the pod. You can use your fingers to enlarge the opening along the pod seams to extract the shelled bean. Also, you can create a shallow cut running down the pod's seams using a sharp paring knife. Just be very careful you don't cut into your beans.
  • Fill a medium saucepan with cold water about halfway. Add salt to the water, and then boil the pan using medium heat.
  • As the water's boiling, add your beans to the pan. Cook fava bean for about a minute to achieve a quick blanch before adding them to other recipes. Cook for 3-5 minutes, based on the size of the beans, to achieve beans that are fully cooked with a creamy texture.
  • Move the beans immediately to an ice-water-filled bowl. Chill the beans until they are cool, for roughly 5-6 minutes. Cool beans?
  • Using your fingernail, peel the white bean skin with your fingertips and carefully pop each bean out of its enclosure before discarding the skins.
  • You can enjoy the beans as is or use them in an appetizer, soup, salad, sauce, stew, or side dish.

Notes

Pod Yield: One lb. of fresh fava beans yields around half to one cup of beans based on the harvest and other factors.
Servings: A quarter cup of cooked fava beans. The nutritional information listed below is based on this serving size.

Nutrition

Calories: 28kcalFat: 8g
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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