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Fresh and Fussy Favas

June 1, 2010

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at cooking fava beans for some time, especially now that it’s spring and they’re in season. So when my boss at Sur la Table said we had some left over from a class, I immediately offered to take them off his hands.

Now…what to do with these ungainly-looking beans?

If you’ve never eaten or prepared favas before, they look sort of like a green bean on steroids. They are also notoriously timely to prepare. Not only do they need to be removed from the pod, but each bean is encased in a soft shell that needs to be removed as well. This also means that they have a fairly low yield. I had a bag full of pods and ended up with maybe 1 1/ 2 cups of shelled beans.

Start out by removing the beans from the pods as you would with peas. In the meantime, get a pot of salted water boiling on the stove. When all the beans are out of the pods (but still in their casings) drop them into the boiling water for just a couple minutes. Drain and shock them in cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool them down so they can be handled. Once cooled, split open the casings very carefully to remove the bright green beans within. They’re slippery little buggers, so do this over a large bowl so you don’t lose your beans to the floor or your sink drain…

This is definitely a labor intensive process, but you’re rewarded with some delicately flavored and smooth textured legumes. Of course, if you’re at your local farmers market and find favas already shelled…well, I wouldn’t discourage you from buying them!

I searched for recipes, but not wanting to go to the store, I decided to improvise with what I had on hand. This included some fresh corn on the cob, 1/2 a jalapeno pepper, fresh mint, and some canned diced tomatoes. The result was a lovely homage to the spring that is supposedly taking place in Seattle right now.

Spring Fava Bean and Corn Saute

© Copyright 2010 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart


  • 2 cups shelled fava beans, cooked
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 ear of fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 1/2 cup onion, small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped


  1. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until softened, but not browned. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  2. Add the jalapeno and the corn kernels. Cook, stirring occasionally until the corn starts to brown on the edges.
  3. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and the sugar. Simmer and reduce until most of the liquid is gone.
  4. Stir in the beans, vinegar, and mint. Season with salt to taste.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2010 10:00 am

    This is great! Did you invent the recipe- sounds so good with the pepper and mint! How do you cook the favas? Is done when you boil them for the few minutes before taking off the shell?

    • June 2, 2010 10:31 am

      Yep, I came up with the recipe myself! The favas are cooked when you boil them just those few minutes in their shells.

  2. Gige permalink
    June 2, 2010 2:26 pm

    Yum!! 🙂

  3. cheeze permalink
    June 7, 2010 3:04 pm

    Love the picture of our little porch! 🙂 Wonder when it will be nice enough again for us to eat out there 😛

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