Fresh Fava Beans, Two (Easier) Ways Recipe

Fava Beans

While I adore fresh fava beans {a.k.a. broad beans}, I find it hard to justify the time commitment they require.

Mind you, I’m not against making an effort in the interest of great flavor. But unlike fresh pea pods, which are a delight to pop, these particular pods are rather tiresome to rip open, and between the blanching and the peeling that follow, I’m frazzled before I’ve even started to cook the actual dish.

I used to restrict my fava bean eating to restaurants, where I was happy to pay for someone else’s thumbnails to get grimed with green gunk.

Because of this, I used to restrict most of my fava bean eating to restaurant settings, where I was happy to pay for someone else’s thumbnails to get grimed with green gunk.

But then I started subscribing to a vegetable delivery service, and the late spring to early summer crop often includes young fava beans, so I had to devise a counter-strategy.

I found two: the first one is inspired by the way the Japanese prepare edamame, boiled soy bean pods. It’s effortless, and the fava pods can then be served warm or cold, in little bowls, as an appetizer or a side, for each eater to shell and eat himself.

The second consists in tossing whole fava bean pods with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasting them in the oven. The pods become soft and golden, and you can easily tear them open to collect the sweet beans inside. Even better, if they’re young enough you can eat the whole thing, pod and all, a fact sure to appeal to the thriftiest of us.

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Fresh Fava Beans, Edamame-Style

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Serves 4.

Fresh Fava Beans, Edamame-Style


  • 900 grams (2 pounds) fresh fava beans in their pod, the smaller the better
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Trim the stem end of the fava bean pods, pulling down the seam to remove the string. Wash thoroughly in a large bowl of fresh water, renewing the water once or twice as necessary.
  2. Bring salted water to the boil in a large pot. Add the pods, let the water come back to a simmer, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the pods. Check the doneness by opening one pod (caution, it will be hot) and tasting one bean: it should taste sweet (rather than green) but still be a little firm to the tooth.
  3. Drain thoroughly, toss with salt and pepper, and transfer to one big or several small bowls. Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Each guest can shell his own pods and pop the beans into his mouth, deciding whether or not he wants to first remove the thin pale green skin around each fava bean.

Fresh Fava Beans, Roasted

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves 4.

Fresh Fava Beans, Roasted


  • 900 grams (2 pounds) fresh fava beans in their pod, the smaller the better
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking


  1. Trim the stem end of the fava bean pods, pulling down the seam to remove the string. Wash thoroughly in a large bowl of fresh water, renewing the water once or twice as necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  3. Dry the fava bean pods in a dish towel and put them in a large baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil, and shake the pan to coat.
  4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the pods are soft and lightly browned. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve, immediately or at room temperature.
  5. If the pods are small, they can be eaten whole; if they're larger, they'll likely be stringy, in which case you should shell them and eat the beans only. These are most enjoyable when eaten with your fingers, but it's a little messy, so provide napkins and serve them to guests who'll be comfortable with that.

  • Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy

    how interesting! i love edamame, so this is super intriguing!

  • Susan Walter

    I’ve just picked the last of my broad beans (aka fava beans) so I will try the roasted ones tomorrow. I love both fava and edamame, so it will be a treat if I can do something similar to the Japanese style at home with homegrown produce.

  • Gene

    Wow! I must say that I’m impressed. It would have never occured to me to roast the whole fava bean, pod and all! A stroke of genius, this.

  • seth

    many people grow them in our community garden, and we pick them and rip them open and eat them raw. tastes good to me! i know you’re supposed to slip the skin off of the individual beans but i never do that.

  • Lucy

    Oh this is good and timely too! I was writing to an American friend and didn’t know if broad beans were Lima or fava beans, now you’ve confirmed it for me.

    I also have the last of my crop waiting to go so I’ll try the roasting idea too; I did a big bowl of succotash with sweetcorn yesterday (and some green tomatoes and of the last of the red basil pesto from last year, how’s that for fusion food!), but it must be said they not only need shelling but are really better if popped out of their skins too, which is even more time consuming. When we kept hens they used to love to eat the skins which kind of justified the extra work, but now it seems a waste…

  • Wendy Hutton

    I adore fava (or broad beans as most Anglophones know them) but — fresh or frozen — they’re impossible to find in the tropics. I always substitute them with frozen edamame and am delighted to see your latest suggestions. Do you by any chance have a recipe for aubergine, fig and black olive tapenade? I tried a jar from France and it was superb.

    • clotilde

      I don’t have a recipe for such a tapenade, but I’ve included a recipe for eggplant and black olive caviar in my upcoming book, to be published next spring. ^_^

  • Augustine Douglas

    I love beans have seen them at Farmers’ Market just reading these posdt I sm intrigued yo try them. Will do so the next time I see them.

  • Charlotte

    Wait for the little man to get bigger — my best year in the garden with favas was the summer my friend’s twins were 4. They LOVED shucking favas — the weird spongy stuff inside the pod was very attractive to small children.

    • clotilde

      Good to know! I’ll recruit him as soon as he has sufficient upper limb coordination. :)

  • Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life

    Thank you for this. Our tiny local Mexican store occasionally has fava beans on the counter in a cardboard box — I never expected to find there or anywhere in our little town. Next time, I’ll snag some and try this!

  • Anna Browne

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I grow my own broad beans, but quite often struggle to eat them after taking all the time to grow and harvest them. This will make things much easier!


  • Sanita


    good to see you back in kitchen:)

    Fava beans have been regular feature in my Latvian summers as long as I can recall. The easiest and simplest recipe is simply to wash and boil them, with pods and all. When they are ready, just put the whole lot in collander to get rid of extra water – and in no time they are on table, with small pot of sea salt and another with butter next to them. Everyone takes as much as they want, pop open and eat – some with skins, some without, as people prefer. I tend to take kefir as a drink, my mum used to eat herring as side dish, but it does not matter: the essence is literally putting them in pot and relaxing with friends and family while they cook, doing nothing:)

  • Rose {Cake Recipes from Scratch}

    broad beans are actually my fav dish for lunch – it would be impossible for me to live without them… I haven’t been brave enough to try growing broad beans in my garden so far. Perhaps next year as you have definitely inspired me!

  • Wouter (@hopsandspices)

    Just picked up my veggie subscriptions and there they are! Definitely trying the roast version tonightas it is waaaaaay to hot to do any work.

    Stupid country, rain for weeks now 30+ heat.

  • steve

    Instead of roasting them, I put them on the barbecue grill until the pods were close to burnt. The beans popped right out, and were delicious.

  • emmycooks

    You are so smart! I love the idea of boiling the favas whole and putting the work of peeling them on the eaters. I’m always up for innovations that make a cook’s life easier, but until now my best innovation for favas was to hope that someone would show up at my house with them already shucked, boiled, and peeled. Your approach sounds much more realistic. :)

  • Bana Wilkins

    Growing up my mom just took the whole pods, put them in a pot of water with a little salt, boiled until soft, and we’d eat them like that- so good! :) In fact, just bought some today :D

    • Clotilde Dusoulier

      It sounds like the “edamame-style” method I outlined above — is that how your mother did it?

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