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25 Ways to Use Fava Beans

Fava beans scare me. Maybe it’s the famous cinematic pairing of fava beans with liver and a nice Chianti that subconsciously haunts me, or maybe it’s the prehistoric-looking pod these buttery beans arrive in. Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are in fact harmless and delicious — ancient, hardy beans that can be found young and fresh during the spring. You can eat the outer skin of very young beans, but as favas mature, that outer skin can become very tannic and is normally removed before eating. Snap off an end and pull the string down the side of the pod to release the beans inside, then gently drop the beans in boiling water for a few minutes, drain under cool running water and remove the skins. Fava beans are an excellent source of folic acid, a good source of potassium and magnesium and they’re also high in fiber. If you’re like me and have been intimidated by the big bad broad bean for too long, try out these 25 fava-filled recipes. In no particular order:

  1. Prepare everything for Mario Batali’s Three Virtue Soup, including the pasta dough the night before you want to eat it, and cook the meat and fava-friendly broth (without the pasta) in a slow cooker throughout the day for a ready-to-eat weeknight homemade meal.
  2. Make a batch of Bobby Flay’s Fava Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Shaved Manchego Cheese for a quick and simple side dish.
  3. It’s all Greek to me! Cat Cora’s fresh stuffed pasta recipe — Hilopites: Egg Pasta with Fava Bean, Feta and Mint Stuffing — will have everyone saying, “Opa!”
  4. Anne Burrell adds the slightly bitter green, escarole, to her super springy Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad, which pairs well with the buttery fava.
  5. Be sure to season your fried food with a bit of salt as soon as it comes out of the hot oil, like Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Fava Bean Fritters with Lemon Minted Yogurt. (pictured above)
  6. Don’t waste your whole night cooking; Giada’s Red Snapper with Fava Bean Puree comes together in less than 30 minutes.
  7. A fresh spice rub left to work its magic overnight acts just like a marinade, almost curing the meat and infusing it with tons of flavor. Try out this method with Michael Symon’s Grilled T-Bone Lamb Chops with Fava Bean and Feta Salad.
  8. Herbed Fava Beans with Pasta is Food Network Magazine’s answer to the warm pasta salad that was missing from all of our lives.
  9. Cat Cora’s Greek-style Fava Bean Pesto can be spread on toast, tossed into warm pasta or gently stuffed between chicken meat and skin before grilling.
  10. Be sure to use a slotted metal fish spatula when cooking Emeril’s Herb-Crusted Catfish with Tomato-Fennel Vinaigrette, which has a fava bean relish. Fish spatulas are thin and sturdy enough to slide under the fish without tearing the delicate meat and to flip without dropping any fish.
  11. Spaetzle, German-style pasta/dumplings, is amazing because you don’t have to roll it out like other dough and it’s not supposed to look perfect (that’s my kind of pasta!). Try making spaetzle for yourself with Rachael Ray’s Pan Seared Halibut with Garlic Chive Spaetzle, Lobster and Fava Beans with a Wild Mushroom Veloute.
  12. Get out of your comfort zone with Stir Fried Fava Beans and Bamboo Shoots. Look for canned bamboo shoots in the international section of your supermarket or at a specialty Asian market.
  13. Prepare favas in a Catalan fashion with white wine, bacon and some mint using this Faves a la Menta (Fava Beans with Mint) recipe.
  14. If your spring/early summer weather has been as crazy as ours, you might want to make Mario Batali’s Fava and Pecorino Soup for a little bit of rustic Italian comfort food.
  15. Guanciale is a delicious Italian cured meat that comes from the jowl of the pig — it has a more pronounced flavor (read porkier) than bacon. If you can’t find guanciale at your local market, you can always substitute pancetta or bacon. Mario Batali’s Bruschetta with Favas and Guanciale is a great way to test the guanciale waters.
  16. Macaroni and cheese is a dish that spans the seasons: Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster and Summer Truffles uses favas in the sauce and really takes this classic dish to the next level.
  17. This kitchen-sink Spring Vegetable Rice Salad mixes up lots of fresh spring herbs and veggies, including fava beans, English peas and asparagus; feel free to mix and match with whatever you have on hand.
  18. Rachael Ray’s One-Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken Succotash with favas cooks everything in the same pot, so you can finish the dishes and have time after dinner for a little bit of relaxation.
  19. Fava Beans plain and simple are cooked in a broth with garlic powder, chile flakes and some salt and pepper.
  20. Rocco DiSpirito’s Spring Green Salad contains favas and medium-boiled eggs, which makes the side dish substantial enough to become a light lunch. Although the names are sometimes used interchangeably, spring onions are like green onions, aka scallions, but with a slightly larger bulb at the base. These bad boys lend a sweet and oniony flavor to the dish.
  21. Salt cod (also known as bacalao) is, as the name suggests, salted and dried. You can find salt cod at Italian specialty markets, from fishmongers and in some supermarkets. Emeril starts rehydrating the salt cod in milk 2 days prior to cooking his Spicy Salt Cod Cakes with Chorizo and Stewed Fava Beans.
  22. Anne Burrell’s Seared Wild Striped Bass with Sauteed Spring Vegetables recipe just screams spring, with its asparagus, snap peas and fava beans.
  23. Fettuccine with Fresh Fava Beans and Pancetta is warm, creamy, rich and utilizes mostly pantry staples. Don’t have everything on the recipe list? It’s an easy dish to adjust to what you have on hand. You can swap out pancetta for almost any cured meat and the escarole for leafy greens like radicchio, mustard greens, arugula or spinach.
  24. This Broad Beans with Dill recipe calls for the fava beans to stay in their pods while being stewed along with garlic, onions and some dill, all served with Greek yogurt and warm pita. Yum.
  25. This traditional Paella Valenciana features a mixture of vegetables (including both broad and green beans) plus chicken, rabbit and snails. Save the crispy “socarrat,” or layer of crispy rice that forms at the bottom of the pan during the final steps of cooking — this is paella gold, so enjoy it!

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