This month’s “Savor Cooks” recipe features fava beans. Try our recipe for Pasta Fagioli with Fava Beans.
Fava beans come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They can be green, yellow, or brown; small, large, or split; fresh, canned, dried, or frozen.
Fresh fava beans peak during the spring and summer seasons. Look for bright green pods that resemble large pea pods. Fresh fava beans take a lot of work to prep because the actual bean has an outer layer that needs to be peeled, but the vibrant color makes it worthwhile.
To prep fresh fava beans: Set a bowl of ice water aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Take the beans out of the pod, drop into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Then drain and place into the bowl of ice water. Peel the outer skin from each bean.
Fresh fava beans are delicious on their own with a dollop of homemade or store-bought pesto, shaved Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. They can also be added to pasta dishes or salads.
Canned fava beans can be used to make the Middle Eastern dish, ful (sometimes spelled foul or foule). Grab our recipe on the VeryWell website.
Dried fava beans can be soaked overnight and prepped like any other dried bean by simmering on the stovetop or pressure-cooking. Dried split fava beans will cook faster than the whole beans. Some dried fava beans still need the outer layer of skin peeled after cooking. Be sure to read the label of the package so you know what you’re in for.
Don’t forget to check out our Food of the Month post on fava beans.
Pasta fagioli is a classic Italian soup consisting of noodles with beans in a brothy-tomato base. For a spring-forward twist, we added seasonal fava beans.
Can’t find fava beans? Try lima beans, butter beans or cannellini beans as comparable substitutes.
Using a rind of Parmesan adds a ton of flavor to broth. Can’t do dairy? Just omit the Parmesan and add an extra drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt to finish the soup.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
- 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
- 6 cups broth or water
- 1 rind Parmesan cheese, optional, plus Parmesan for serving
- 1 cup dry whole wheat small pasta i.e. macaroni
- 3 cups fava beans (fresh, frozen, cooked from dry, or drained from the can)
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and sauté for 5 minutes, until fragrant and the onion just starts to brown. Add the garlic and bay leaf and sauté 1 minute longer.
- Add the tomatoes, water or broth, herbs de Provence and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
- Reduce heat to low, stir in the fava beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra Parmesan on top.