Springtime Fresh Fava Beans
with Wild Mushrooms, Fresh Asparagus and Vegan Gnocchi
In late spring and early summer, keep your eyes open for FRESH FAVA BEANS. These gigantic green pea pods are filled with large green beans that are encapsulated in yet another layer of protection that must be removed before cooking. While the excessive work of harvesting fresh fava beans is difficult and time consuming, but the reward is worth every moment!
The best choices for fresh lava beans will be found at Farmer’s Markets where local growers take special care in the growing and harvesting of their precious fava beans. Look for firm, bright green and lightly fuzzy long fat bean pods for the perfect choices. Avoid bean pods with dark on the ends, soft spots or show limp ends. Last year at my Portland, OR, Farmer’s Market I was introduced to the young fava shoots with blossoms. Stir fried, they provided a fresh green tender side dish. The fava shoots were only available for about two weeks.
Fava Bean Names
Fava beans are also called: butter beans, broad beans, Windsor beans, pigeon beans, or fresh horse bean.
The Fava Bean Taste
The brilliantly green fresh fava bean produces a delicate,tender, moist, nutty flavor with every bite!
Fava Bean Protein Power
One cup of of shelled fresh fava beans provides 13 grams of protein.
How to Select Fava Beans
Look for fresh fava beans that are at least 6 inches long. Examine the outside of the fava pods. They should be brightly green-skinned, plumb and firm to the touch and show no dark ends. Avoid yellow or dried out pods.
The first time I purchased fresh fava bean pods, I had no idea how many to buy. Purchase approximately one-pound of fresh fava bean pods for every 1/2 cup required in a recipe.
Fava Bean Preparation
The Double Fava Bean Shuck
Fresh fava beans require the removal of the outer tough pod that has a bright white fuzzy interior that surrounds the light green beans. Snap the end of the pod open and use your thumb to pry open the full length of the pod to reveal the beans inside.
Fresh Fava Bean Shucking Leftovers... Discard
Bowl of Fresh Fava Beans with Tough Exteriors
Score the Tough Fava Bean Exterior Slightly and Peel the Tough Skin Off
Score the Fava Beans
The light green skin on the freshly shelled fava beans must be scored with a bird’s beak knife to remove its tough waxy skin and expose the inner brightly colored shinny green fresh fava bean.
Take your time, I promise the time spent will be worth every bite later! You’ll never eat a dried fava bean again… fresh is the only way to eat them!
Fresh Fava Beans with Tough Skin Removed Exposing Bright Green Interior
Saute the Fava Beans
Once I shelled and peeled my fresh fava beans, I cooked up some Fresh Vegan Gnocchi. Then I used a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and sautéed some wild mushrooms. When the mushrooms began to released their juices, I threw in the fresh fava beans, sea salt, black pepper and fresh slices of asparagus. I stir-fried the contents of the pan till heated through and poured over the gnocchi and served. A drizzle of olive oil and a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice complete the dish.
No, I did NOT parboil the fava beans and yes, they were perfectly cooked and tender! Fresh, sweet, nutty, succulent, rich, the taste was incredible. Needless to say, when I see FAVA BEANS this spring, I’ll be purchasing MORE!
HINT: Whatever you do, DO NOT OVERCOOK the fava beans! They are tender and cook quickly without boil or precooking before adding to a recipe.
Dried Fava Beans
After eating fresh fava beans, I was greatly disappointed in the taste and appearance of cooked dried fava beans. So when Springtime arrives, keep your eyes peeled for fresh fava beans and give them a try.
How to Make Vegan Gnocchi