Fava beans (broad beans)

native to: North Africa and South Asia
in season here: July-August

Fava beans, Vicia fabas, broad beans, field beans, bell beans, pigeon beans, windsor beans, horse beans, or tic beans are not actually beans, they’re more closely related to peas. Like peas, the plants are nitrogen fixers and protect against erosion, making them a popular green mulch. They can be eaten raw, but cooking is recommended to reduce the chance of allergic reaction. They appear in Mediterranean dishes.

The thing about fava beans, and the reason they’re so seldom seen, is that they’re customarily peeled as well as shelled; each bean has a tough skin that definitely detracts from the beans themselves unless removed. On the other hand, once you get reasonably good at it, peeling beans is a great alternative to knitting as a way to keep your hands busy while watching TV or chatting with friends.
How to peel fava beans
The case against peeling them, at least when they’re small and fresh

They’re high in protein, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, potassium, phosphorus, folate, copper, selenium, and zinc. They protect against heart disease, cancer, depression (although it should be noted that the tyramine in them clashes dangerously with the antidepressant medication monoamine oxidase inhibitor), arthritis, osteoporosis, and can reduce PMS symptoms. They also have a lot of iron, but it’s not in the most easily absorbed form; adding some meat or something with vitamin C can help with that. They’re a natural source of L-dopa, which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease, although studies of fava beans as a treatment in themselves have given mixed results and L-dopa itself interferes with vitamin B6 metabolism (another reason for caution if you have trouble with depression). However, fava beans have been linked to weight loss in some studies, which is more cheerful news.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for fava beans
Seed Guides
The Guardian

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Vitellian Beans

1 lb. fresh fava beans, shelled and peeled (if desired)
3/4-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
2 tsp. fresh lovage or celery leaf, chopped
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cooked egg yolks
3 Tbsp. honey (plus more if desired)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce (your preferred garum substitute, such as colatura di Alici, nuoc mam, or nam pla)
5 fl. oz. white wine
3 fl. oz. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Cook beans in boiling salted water until tender, 4-6 minutes; drain and puree. Pound ginger, lovage, and pepper in a mortar; add egg yolks and continue until it forms a smooth paste. Add honey and fish sauce; stir until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan, rinsing the mortar into pan with the wine and vinegar. Add oil and simmer gently a few minutes. Combine with beans and reheat if needed. If desired, sweeten with more honey.

Recipe originally from De Re Coquinaria” (compiled in the 4th or 5th century C.E. and commonly referred to by the supposed author, Apicius). This version adapted from The Classical Cookbook / Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996. ISBN: 0892363940

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Fennel Green Beans

3 cups green beans, trimmed and broken into thumb-length pieces
1/2 cup sliced fennel bulb
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 fresh tomato, seeds removed, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Steam beans and onion about 3 minutes; add fennel. Steam another 2 minutes. Drain well and toss with remaining ingredients.

Adapted from World’s Healthiest Foods

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Tuscan white bean and roasted garlic soup

1 lb dry Cannellini beans, rinsed
1 bulb garlic, peeled
8 cups water
4 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chicken or vegetable bouillon powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place beans, 3 cloves garlic, water, and a few sage leaves in slow cooker; cover and cook on high 4 hours, or until beans are soft.

Place remaining garlic cloves in the center of a 7×7 inch square of aluminum foil and drizzle with oil; salt lightly. Seal foil and bake at 400F 25-30 minutes, until garlic is soft and golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

Add bouillon to the cooked beans and mix to dissolve. Transfer some of the beans and liquid to a blender; add roasted garlic (reserve a few cloves for garnish if desired). Blend until smooth and return to slow cooker. Repeat until desired texture is reached. Adjust seasonings.

Garnish with fresh sage leaves, white pepper, whole roasted garlic cloves, if desired.

Makes about 7 3/4 cups, or 7 servings.

Adapted from Skinnytaste.com

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Cannellini bean dip with garlic scapes

15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

for serving:
whole grain crackers or sliced baguette
grape tomato halves

Pulse beans in food processor 3-4 times. Add scapes and olive oil and process for about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper and process until the dip is thick and creamy, adding more oil if needed.

From: Andrea’s Recipes

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Frijoles de la olla

(home-cooked beans)

1 lb black beans
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely diced
2 sprigs fresh epazote, or 2 Tbsp dried
2 1/2 qt. water (or part water, part vegetable stock)
1-2 tsp salt, or to taste

Pick over beans, place in a large bowl, cover by at least two inches with cold water, and let soak overnight.

Drain beans and place in a large stock pot with oil, onion and epazote. Add water and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. Skim off foam as necessary and add water if the mixture becomes too thick. When the beans are tender, add salt to taste and simmer for a few minutes. If using fresh epazote, remove the sprigs before serving.

Can be frozen or used in rice and beans or burrito filling; for black bean soup, puree beans, flavor with cumin to taste, and add vegetable stock.

Makes 7 cups.

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

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Mexican Eggs with Epazote and Frijoles

1/3 cup finely diced onion
1 corn tortilla, finely diced
2 teaspoons butter, margarine or vegetable oil
1/4 cup green pepper, finely diced
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh epazote
1/2 cup cooked pinto beans, drained
4 large eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 ounces finely diced Queso Asadero or grated Monterey Jack cheese

Garnishes:
Salsa
Queso Cotija, crumbled or grated

Cook the onion and tortilla in the butter, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat until the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Add pepper and cook another minute, until warm but still crunchy. Stir in the epazote and beans and cook about 1 minute, until the beans are warmed through and the epazote is cooked. Reduce heat to medium and pour in the beaten egg. Cook as if making scrambled eggs until the eggs are set. Just before the eggs are done, stir in the cheese.

Serve with fresh salsa and grated or crumbled queso cotija.

Adapted from Kate’s Global Kitchen

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