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:
- 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.
- Make a batch of Bobby Flay’s Fava Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Shaved Manchego Cheese for a quick and simple side dish.
- 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!”
- Anne Burrell adds the slightly bitter green, escarole, to her super springy Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad, which pairs well with the buttery fava.
- 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)