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What to do with Broad Beans

Updated on December 23, 2014

The Trick with Broad Beans is to Peel them Twice

Broad Beans, Horse Beans, Windsor Beans.or Fava, by any name they're beautiful beans.

I like to double peel my fava beans. It takes a little longer but the end result is well worth it.

Fava beans grow quite well in my garden, they're winter vegetables here in South Eastern Australia and the perfect time to cook good and wholesome meals for the family.

Double Peel the Fava Beans - 3 Simple Steps

  1. Peel the pods to get the beans out
  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil, toss in the beans. Let the water come to the boil again - about 30 seconds
  3. Now that the tough outer skin has been loosened, you can peel it off (gently!) with your hands.

Broad Beans with Bacon
Broad Beans with Bacon


  • 500 g whole broad beans
  • 1 medium-large potato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 rasher bacon
  • 1 medium-large potato
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tblesp olive oil

Bacon, Beans and Potato - Instructions

  1. 1. Remove the beans from the pod, blanch and peel. Put aside
  2. Chop the onion and dice the bacon Peel the potato and chop into 2cm chunks
  3. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add onion and bacon and fry until the onion softens (about 5 minutes) stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  4. To the saucepan, add the potato and stir-fry them for 2 minutes, combining with the onion and bacon.
  5. Add the chicken stock and thyme leaves, cover the saucepan with a lid and let the vegies cook for at least 10 minutes in the saucepan until the potatoes feel almost done (test them with a skewer)
  6. Toss in the prepared broad beans and cook, with the lid off, for about 5 minutes more. Serve immediately as a side dish.
Cast your vote for Bacon, Beans and Potato

Roasted Garlic and Fava Bean Sauce

  • 1 cup double peeled fava beans
  • 1 garlic head roasted and cloves squeezed into a bowl
  • 2 Tblespoons cold butter cut into Tblespoons
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tblespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper


  1. 1. Place stock and roasted garlic in a medium saucepan and reduce to 3 cups. Strain into a clean saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. 2. Whisk in the butter and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the fava beans (from 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on desired consistency) and cook for 1 minute.
  3. 3. Serve with roasted chicken or other meat, or over rice or polenta.

Grilled Salmon - with Potatoes and Broad (Fava) Beans

Fava Facts in Ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, beans were used in voting, and also a common item on the dinner table

The first course, the appetisers or starters gustatio, was made up of small dishes of fava beans, chick peas, marinated cucumbers and artichokes


  • 1 k fava beans double peeled
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • pancetta one or two thick slices
  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tblspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Ancient Roman Fava Beans

  1. Cut the pancetta into wide ribbons.
  2. .Cook the onion in the oil until it becomes translucent, then add the pancetta strips and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in beans and pepper.
  3. Add water and simmer, covered, on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. . Add more water if necessary.
  4. When the beans are tender, add salt, and cook for a few more minutes uncovered until the last of the water has evaporated.

Blending Fava Beans

Fava and Tahini

  • 2 cups of double peeled fava beans
  • 1/2 cup of tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper


  1. Steam the fava beans for 10 - 15 minutes.
  2. Put the beans in a pot and just cover with water. Sprinkle with red pepper. Let the water warm up. Set aside, keeping the liquid.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a pestle or the back of a spoon, crush the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Whisk in the tahini and lemon juice. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cooking water.
  4. Pour the tahini sauce into a wide serving bowl. Mound the warm fava beans in the centre.

Broad Beans with cumin and coriander

Stirfry some shallot and garlic.

Add 2 t ground cuminseeds, stirfry a few seconds until fragrant.

Add some water and milk. Add the broad beans, cook in 5- 15 minutes until done. Drain and add chopped coriander.

A Story from Sicily

According to tradition, Sicily once experienced a severe drought. No rain fell for an extended period of time, there was a failure of all crops other than fava beans and countless people died of famine. The beans kept the population from total starvation while people prayed to St Joseph (San Giuseppe) to intercede with God on their behalf.

They promised that if God caused it to rain, they would have a special feast honouring God and St. Joseph.

The rains came and the crops were bountiful. With the harvest, the people prepared a feast of foods which has become known as St Joseph's Table (Tavola di San Giuseppe). This ancient celebration is on March 19 and the tables bear, in pride of place, dishes of fava beans.

How about you?

Do you like Fava Beans?

See results

© 2011 Susanna Duffy

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    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love broad beans and you don't have to skin them either! My favourite broad beans combo is avocado, cottage cheese, broad beans and asparagus tips. That is my version of comfort food... but I admit to being strange.

    • PatriciaLi profile image

      PatriciaLi 6 years ago

      Thank you for the little-known facts about fava beans, I enjoyed your lens.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      We grow lots and eat them both fresh and frozen. They are so lovely and so nutritious.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      I have mainly had them in restaurants. I love how you showcase some little known facts along the way. I shall see if the farmer's market here sells them and try your suggestions. Sounds very healthy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've heard of Fava beans for a long time (well, since I heard Hannibal Lecter describe how he ate them in "Silence of the Lambs") but they don't seem to be available in the stores where I live--I'd have to grow my own to try them. Great lens! At least I'll know what to do with them, should I ever find any!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Another wonderful work with beautiful presentation about Fava beans. I really like it. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful time.. always.. dear, ravenko :)