Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fava Bean - First Timer Here

A faint whisper in my ear... 'fa fa fava b-b-b-beans" as my husband and I laugh all these years. That's all I knew about fava beans until a Saturday in May. 

It was one of the healthy and unique (something I would have not bought before this point in my wellness journey) food items in my CSA box from Abundant Harvest Organics (AHO).

I was intrigued to say the least. What was the fascination, in other words, what are the health benefits of such ... a little pod of beans? 

Nutrition-and-you shared that fava beans (a.k.a. broad beans) are easily grown in home gardens but are typically only available a short time each year - late spring to early summer. They are high in fiber, iron, copper, potassium, are low in sodium, are a great source of folates (B12), and rich in L-dopa (the happy hormone). With all these benefits, it was a no-brainer to eat them. But, how? I had never prepared them nonetheless eaten them!

So as usual, I scoured the Internet. I found that they are a common food in the Mediterranean. Other than super spicy dishes, I am a fan of the cuisine. I learned how to prep the pods for consumption and then found several recipes and made one into my own.  

My #bounty from the CSA. See the fava beans? 
I removed the beans from the husk, in addition to, removing the bean from the outer skin. The husk was easily removed by snapping them in half and peeling the skin back or squeezing them gently. It was therapeutic ... it reminded me of snapping asparagus. The pea is revealed when the beans are boiled for two minutes. The outer skin wrinkles and the pea slips out the side of it. It was not as fun as the first part because they were slippery little buggers. It made me think of the scene in Pretty Woman! =)

Once the beans (peas) were ready, I sautéed onions until translucent then added garlic for about 30 seconds (do not brown) then a 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. I added the peas and all my seasonings. I am a pinch-and-go kind of gal most times, but I have added the measurements below. Gently simmer then reduce heat to low and cook covered for 20 minutes until the texture of the beans that you like are reached. Part way through cooking, I added 1 cup of diced tomatoes. 

I served the fava beans with jasmine rice, grilled chicken breasts, and steamed broccoli. Though I must admit, while I prepared the rest of dinner, I kept putting my fork in the pan. Yes, I thought they were that good! 

In the image below is the set-up for the chicken breasts I served with the fava beans. I used the same seasoning in the bread crumb mixture as I did in the fava beans.

1.5 cups of prepared fava beans
1/2 cup of diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or chopped finely
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp himaylan salt
1/2 tsp onion powder 
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp parsley + 1 tsp of any herb you like (pictured is dried oregano in the plastic cup from AHO)
1 tsp red pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes

I started to mash some of the beans to see if they were ready. 

I think the fava beans can stand alone but in my family, rice can take up a dish two notches.

All the above minus the tomatoes + 1/2 cup plain Panko and 1 egg slightly beaten
I pan sautéed them in EVOO until no longer pink on medium-low heat about 5 minutes each side. 

I hope that you'll consider trying fava beans if you've never had them before. In the words of my 4 year old, 'you can't say you don't like something until you've tried it."

If fava beans are not available where you live, I challenge you to try a new vegetable this week!

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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