How to cook/prepare Fava beans

When I posted about the delicious dip called Bissara, quite a lot of you mailed me with the query of how I prepare fava beans. After replying to 3-4 mails, I thought why not make it easier on everyone by making a post about it. Per chance I also happened to have pictures during the process of cooking fava beans previously so I simply consolidated them into this post.

Many think of the lengthy and laborious effort for cooking and preparing fava beans and avoid them, but once you know the process and do it once, you will never think of going past the aisle without buying them. And I have not even come to the part of how deliciously nutty and nutritious these are. So lets get set to the process of Cooking the Fava beans.

Here are some recipes with Fava Beans: Israeli Couscous Primavera, Bissara (Fava bean Dip), Egyptian Falafel, Jambalaya

How to buy Fava Beans?

Fava beans have an outer pods which are approximately 8 -9 inches long. The fresh ones have a bright green color and are firm to touch. Dont buy the soft or wrinkled/shrunken ones. The outer skin is inedible(duh!)

How to shell Fava Beans?

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

Snap the end of the Fava bean, near the string side. Give it a light pull. The string will peel down till the end.

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

Once the string has been removed, you will see the pod parting in the middle and you will see the beans inside.

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

Usually a healthy pod can contain anywhere between 4-8 beans inside and they will be enclosed in a spongy layer. They come out v easily.

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

Wait, wait – its not done yet. See the outer smooth covering..well its still not edible. You have to remove it.

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

To do it, there are two ways – either you can parboil them or if you are bent on retaining the nutrition of this bean like me, then you would steam them. It takes almost less than a minute to make it little shriveled like this above pic.

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

Now put pressure at the end of the bean, yes shell them once again and you will find the waxy outer cover come out easily. Below is a picture with the completely shelled ones on the left and steamed (to be shelled) ones on the right.

How to cook/prepare Fava beans

Pull then out and now prepare this in variety of dishes, be it for soup, casseroles, dips,salads or stews. Though its quite a painstaking process, its all worth it :)

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70 Responses to “How to cook Fava beans”
  1. Löfgren

    When I grew up we had fava beans (bondbönor)in Sweden all thru summer and dried the rest for winter. Never heard about removing outer “shell”. Lived in Lousiana my adult life and it’s very hard to find fresh fava pods. This year I was lucky. Wish I could have a garden.

  2. ellisjard

    outer shell may be edible, but what comes out one’s nether end ain’t so sweet.

  3. Carla

    The outer smooth covering is edible. In fact, in my country we always eat it. It’s a waste to get rid of it

  4. Melissa

    Where did you get that the outer smooth covering was not edible? I always eat it, personnally

    The freshest ones (the ones from the garden) have outer covering that’s edible. But if you get what regular people like me do, at the markets, its extremely bitter and hence needs to be removed –DK

  5. PJ

    Awesome tutorial! I just received some of these in my CSA share and needed to know how to cook them. Your pictures were great! Thanks so much!

  6. Ellen & Gary

    8-O We just returned home after being away for 23 days and our bean plant has produced HUGE pods. There were only flowers when we left! Can the beans still be eaten, or have they passed their prime?

  7. Just heard a report that these beans fight cancer too. :lol:

  8. Kay Anderson

    My grandson talked me into growing fava beans (broad beans when I was a child) and we have just harvested the first young and tender ones. We deliberated on how to cook them and decided to shell them and sauté them in olive oil, garlic, chopped home grown tomato and homegrown parsley. (the garlic is not matured yet!). Everyone really loved the dish and we can’t wait for more. AND it is so good for us!

  9. Jim

    :roll: I purchased dried fava beans, which are brown. How do I proceed to reconstitute these and prepare them for a recipe?

  10. John Duddleston

    :wink: I pick the pods fresh from the garden, they are easy to grow. Rinse them, put them in a bowl and toss with a mixture of olive oil and italian seasonings. Place them on your barbeque grill and cook till browned, put them back in the bowl and serve them as an appetizer, eat them with your fingers, squeezing the beans out of the pod like you would edame. if they are young and tender you can even eat the pod.

  11. jim

    I bought some fava bean plants for my garden, and I just prepared my first harvest using your instructions. I cooked them with a little olive oil and garlic. Wow!

  12. Nancy Frappier

    Can you just eat them plain without mashing them up or anything? I”m not much of a cook but they look so good I would like to try something really easy

  13. laurence.white

    If the pods are stringy when cooked, then they are too masture! I’ve cooked them many times and the pods weren’t stringy, but you have too get them YOUNG, before you see the swollen areas around the beans. The pods are still BRIGHT green and SOFT when young! I like to have some this way, and save the rest to mature, for the beans.

  14. teresa

    :cry: i peeled them now…i steamed them and peeled again..
    now… …how long will they last….im afraid these are the kind of thing that need to be eaten immediately am i right? :-? im going to bed now …i sleep during the day

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