Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Post Spotlight: Fresh Fava Beans, 2 Ways

Everyday Fare With Extraordinary Flair

Edible: fit to be eaten.  Eatable.

Mosaic: a picture or design made in mosaic.

My good friend, Faith from An Edible Mosaic is one of the best bloggers on the net.

  • The blog name is cool and perfectly describes her food.
  • Her blog layout is bright, vibrant and gorgeous.
  • Her food is creative and executed to perfection.
  • Her photos are flawless.
Beyond all of that, Faith is one of the nicest people I have met online.


Fresh Fava Beans, 2 Ways

I want to thank Laz, who is not only a fantastic guy, but also one of my all-time favorite bloggers, for the opportunity to guest post on his site.  It’s truly an honor, Laz!

If ever there were magic beans, fava beans would surely be them.  Just look…

Not only are they high in fiber, extremely low in fat and sodium, cholesterol free, and a great source of folate, but they just feel like magic, Jack-and-the-beanstalk-style.

Favas, which are also called broad beans, horse beans, pigeon peas, and Windsor beans, are related to peas;  like peas, they grow in pods (the pods are fun – they’re padded inside!).  They’re double the work of peas though, since they first have to be shelled and then blanched to remove their outer skin.  But I have to say, the labor-intensive process is so worth it for their uniqueness…they taste earthy, but with a fresh, nutty flavor and slightly bitter notes…and let’s not forget their buttery texture.

Fava Beans in Their Padded Pods

These beans have ancient roots, and although it’s thought that they were introduced to the Americas hundreds of years ago, they are still not as popular as they are in other areas of the world.  (Maybe you’re thinking that fava beans sound familiar even though you haven’t had them…there’s a very notable quite about them from The Silence of the Lambs.)  The first time I had favas was in the Middle East, as dried favas are commonly used there to make several dishes, including falafel and foul mudammas (a breakfast dish of mashed fava beans with olive oil, garlic, and other fresh veggies).

Fava Beans Sautéed with Garlic & Olive Oil…and don’t worry, that’s not Chianti.  It’s actually a Kool-Aid-like drink called Squeeze.  (And yes, I (occasionally) drink that…I’m basically just a big kid.)

Fava beans are typically harvested in the spring/summer, and even though it’s a bit late in the season, I was lucky enough to find them on a recent visit to a local Middle Eastern grocery.  Since I probably won’t come across them until next spring, I couldn’t resist grabbing a few pounds.  Fresh favas, once shelled and peeled, are a fantastic addition to so many dishes…salads, soups, stir fries, risottos (or other rice or grain dishes), and dips/spreads are a few favorites of mine.  I made a couple things with them – a simple sauté with garlic and olive oil, and a flavorful spread for bread or crackers.

Fava Bean Spread with Garlic, Olive Oil, & Pecorino

IMPORTANT:  Just a slight word of caution concerning fava beans.  For some individuals, consumption of fava beans triggers an allergic reaction called favism, resulting in hemolytic anemia with jaundice (for more information on favism, please see the Favism Association’s website http://www.g6pd.org/favism/english/index.mvc). 

 Fava Beans Sautéed with Garlic & Olive Oil

Serves 2 as a side dish

About 1 1/4 cups shelled fresh fava beans (from about 2 lbs fava bean pods)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
A handful of fresh green herbs (such as parsley, chives, scallions, etc.), minced
Salt and pepper

Blanch the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes; plunge into an ice bath to cool, and then slip off the skins.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; add the beans and a pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté 3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes more.

Turn off heat and stir in the herbs; taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

 Fava Bean Spread with Garlic, Olive Oil, & Pecorino

Serves 4 as an appetizer

1 batch Fava Beans Sautéed with Garlic & Olive Oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Olive oil
1/2 oz Pecorino, grated
Bread or crackers (for serving)

Transfer the beans and lemon juice to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times; with the motor running, drizzle in enough olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency (it can be completely smooth or you can leave it lumpy).  Stir in the grated cheese.  Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with bread or crackers.

Please stop by and say hello to Faith at An Edible Mosaic.  One of the best food blogs on the net.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Laz...seriously, I'm blushing. :) And thanks for inviting me to guest post, it really is an honor.

  2. Fava beans when they are in season ar eoften on my table.I like em whole(peeled) and as mash in olive opil.Two delicious recepie from well chosen guests.Just checked her blog and fell straight with my eyes in selfmade croissants.Can't get better than that:)

  3. I love your fava beans two ways, Faith! Fresh fava beans are not easy to find around here, but I know I'll be scouring the markets come spring so that I can make your bean spread. Kudos to you for mentioning favism, too - not everyone knows about it.

    A great guest post, Faith! Thanks for featuring one of my fava-rite bloggers, Laz! (Ooh, I know, terrible joke ;) )

  4. I was never a fan of fava's, but lately they are are being used in my kitchen...now I have more recipes. Thanks you!

  5. I love the idea of the spread. Beautiful photos Faith!

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  7. Love the look of both of these. Perfect start to any meal :)

  8. I was just on Faith's blog, telling her that although I've never had fava beans, whenever I hear about them I think of Silence of the Lambs, so I thought it was funny she mentioned that in her post too! lol I agree that Faith's blog is incredible--she's such an impressive and kind person too. Faith has convinced me to buy some fava beans if I ever find them (never seen them before, but will keep an eye out). I'm interested in tasting them for myself and I love what she did with them here!

  9. They are both fantastic recipes Faith...great guest post! I will want to try them both but especially that gorgeous spread :)

  10. Both approaches are so smart and delicious looking. The fava is a favorite of mine. I bought some dried ones but not sure what to do with them. But, your lovely guest post got me thinking I should move on it.

  11. Two great recipes that highlight the ingredient! Love the simplicity and how nicely they fit into a heart healthy diet :)

  12. Fava beans are truly one of my favorite things on this planet - and totally worth the work of peeling from their cute pods. I am so excited to have 2 new ways to enjoy them! : )

  13. The only thing I hate about favas is the shelling. For a few years, whole foods offered them frozen, all shelled and everything. Then they stopped... woe is me!
    I love fava dip and have made it for years when I could face the shelling. It is so good and tastes rich and decadent even if it is healthy... a great characteristic!

  14. Hi Faith, sorry for a very delay!! Hi Laz, good to be back to your blog!

    Oh fava beans, I don't think I cook it fresh. Mostly from a can. Boo on me. I love the color of green goddess making it a perfect spread!

  15. aww!! beans are my all time favorite and fresh beans tastes so good.

  16. I remember as a child and fava's were on the menu I would make believe I was sick...rather go without dinner that eat those little green monsters. Now I am all grown up and I think they are delicioso. I often make a dip or a pesto. Great post.

  17. Faith,

    Two simple recipes but such beautiful photos. You never cease to amaze me with your skills, whether being in the kitchen or photography. Both your recipes sound wonderful and I love how simple they are. Thanks for the allergy warning.


    I agree with everything you said about Faith. From the first time I commented on her blog, she's been nothing but super sweet. A gem of a blog and blogger indeed!


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