What are fava beans
Also known as broad beans, fava beans are among the oldest cultivated plants in the world. The origins of fava beans remains unclear, though experts have traced their history back to at least 6,000 BCE (before the current era).
Nowadays, they're popular in Middle Eastern, European, South American, and African cuisines. They grow in green pods, and fresh favas can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. Their versatility makes them suitable for soups, stews, salads, sauces, fillings, snacks, and more.
Fava beans have an earthy, nutty, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter taste. They may taste cheesy to some people. The beans must be shelled before they can be eaten. As the beans have an edible peel, you should also remove it — removing the outer peel will make the beans creamier.
Fresh fava beans taste milder and are creamier than canned or dried beans. The texture of dried fava beans reminds of chickpeas.
Fava beans nutrition and benefits
Despite their small size, fava beans are packed with nutrients. As they contain a lot of proteins and fibre, they keep you full for longer — which is excellent for weight loss and weight management. They're high in antioxidants, which can make your immune system healthier. The nutritional content of fava beans is surprisingly high, considering their size.
A cup (170 grams) of cooked fava beans contains:
Carbs: 33 grams
Fat: Less than 1 gram
Protein: 13 grams
Fibre: 9 grams
Folate: 40% of the Daily Value (DV)
Manganese: 36% of the DV
Copper: 22% of the DV
Phosphorous: 21% of the DV
Magnesium: 18% of the DV
Iron: 14% of the DV
Potassium: 13% of the DV
Thiamine (vitamin B1) and Zinc: 11% of the DV
Fava beans are high in folate, a nutrient that contributes to healthy brain and spinal cord development in infants.
Fava beans are rich in L-dopa, which our body converts to dopamine. Low dopamine levels are associated with Parkinson's disease, so eating fava beans may alleviate symptoms. However, more studies are needed in this area.
Several compounds found in fava beans have been shown to boost the antioxidant activity of human cells. Eating fava beans may boost immunity since antioxidants enhance immune function. However, further research is needed.
Several studies suggest that fava beans, which contain high levels of manganese and copper, can promote bone strength.
Consuming fava beans can help increase blood iron levels and reduce symptoms of anaemia caused by inadequate iron intake.
Fava beans are packed with magnesium and potassium, which may help relax blood vessels and lower high blood pressure.
Protein- and fibre-rich foods, such as fava beans, can help you lose weight and consume fewer calories.
How to prepare fresh fava beans
To prepare your fresh fava beans, you have to soak them to loosen the protective outer layer: pour 10 cups of water into a pot for every pound of beans, and let them soak overnight to loosen their outer layers. As an alternative, you can boil the beans for three minutes and then let them soak in hot water for one hour. Fava beans must usually be peeled before eating unless they have already been prepped — as in canned or frozen beans. Once they’re peeled, you can eat them raw or cook them as part of a dish.
Young favas can be eaten whole, pod and all. Furthermore, small fava beans do not need their outer coats to be peeled, and can even be eaten raw.
How to cook fava beans (fresh or dried)
Fava beans can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, stewed, mashed, sautéed, fried, or roasted. With fava beans being consumed all around the globe, there are many delicious and nutritious recipes using them. Your options will differ greatly in preparation and flavour depending on whether you choose dried or fresh beans. Soups, stews, and falafel are often made with dried beans. Sautéed, boiled, steamed, roasted, or fried beans are the most common preparations for the fresh version. You can also add them raw to salads or pestos, or lightly cook them and serve them alongside other spring vegetables. Whether fresh or dried, fava beans can be used to make an endless variety of tasty dishes.
Here’s a selection of super tasty, protein-packed recipes.
Enjoy this vegan finger food appetiser at a dinner party with your friends: crostini with fava bean dip will delight your guests. And if you’ve been trying to come up with new dip ideas, you'll love this fava bean dip recipe, rich in flavour and easy to prepare: spread it on toast.
Are you looking for unique recipes for serving fava beans to your friends at your next summer dinner? Try out this fava bean risotto, an easy vegetarian recipe prepared with parmesan.
How about a fava bean salad with goat's cheese? Make this healthy and delicious salad at home with this simple recipe.
This easy and tasty fava bean soup with crispy bacon is perfect for a summer dinner: it's quick to prepare and has a high satisfaction factor.
How to store fava beans
When stored correctly, dried fava beans generally retain their best quality for approximately two to three years, although they can still be used after that date. Keep dry fava beans tightly closed to extend their shelf life.
You can freeze your raw fava beans — freezing is an excellent way to preserve fava beans. When the beans are large, and the outer skin is tough, be sure to remove the husk and the outer skin. Wash them under running fresh water. Dry the beans and place them into freezer bags, then seal and freeze. They can be stored in the freezer for up to six months. When ready to use your frozen beans, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw.
Fresh, unshelled beans keep well in the fridge for up to 10 days. Younger, smaller beans should be used quickly. It is possible to store shelled beans in an airtight container for up to two days in the refrigerator, or they can be frozen for up to a month.