An Italian Favorite: Fresh Fava Beans

Shake off any flashbacks you may be having to the mooshy lima bean school lunches of our youth. Fresh fava beans with their nutty flavor and creamy texture are something you don’t want to miss. The Italians love them, and so should you.

Fava beans were actually the only beans in Europe until explorers started bringing back new varieties from the New World. It’s no wonder that fava beans have a well-established role in many traditional dishes throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa, and upwards into Europe. The Italians in particular had a million and one ways to sneak fava beans into their dishes.

Luckily, fava beans are really tasty! They have a sweet and nutty flavor with a very smooth, almost buttery texture. They’re excellent fresh, but like most legumes, they dry and re-hydrate very well. We won’t like, fresh fava beans are a pain to prepare (here’s how to do it), but well worth it.

Just take a look at these recipes:

Ricotta Pasta with Fava Beans and Bacon from the Kitchn
Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini from Epicurious
Farro Risotto with Asparagus and Fava Beans from Chow
Artichoke and Fava Stew with Lemon Sauce from Saveur
Fresh Pasta with Fava Beans, Tomatoes, and Sausage from Bon Appétit

Fava beans are in season in the spring and fall, so keep your eyes open at your local farmers markets. We occasionally see them pre-shelled and ready to eat at places like Whole Foods.

What are your favorite recipes with fava beans?

Related: How to Cook Beans: A Fast, Fool-Proof, No-Soak Method

(Image: Flickr member luvjnx licensed under Creative Commons)

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