Favas, a love-hate relationship

April 21, 2011 | By | Comments (6)

If you’ve ever eaten AND cooked with fresh favas, you know what I’m talking about. They’re super delicious, but a pain in the you-know-what to prepare. I only make them once a year, as a sort of spring treat to myself and the chosen few I share them with.

The reason favas are such a pain to prepare is that you have to peel them TWICE—Ugh!  The first peeling is super simple and a lot like shelling peas from their outer pod. The second peeling requires a little more work. You need to blanch the beans in boiling water for a minute or two, then run cool water over them and peel off the thin skin, which is surprisingly tough. Don’t even think of attempting this without blanching (trust me, I know from experience!). See below:






Having gone to all this work, you want to prepare a dish where the “fava” flavor really shines through. I often use them in simple pastas with parmesan and lemon, so I decided to do something similar today with Israeli couscous.

I peeled my favas. Blanched them. Peeled them AGAIN. Then I brought some chicken broth and water to a boil. I added some Israeli couscous, dried oregano, and chopped dried red chile (both the oregano and chile were leftover from our garden here at Sunset). I reduced the heat and let the couscous simmer, stirring occasionally, until it was tender and most of the liquid had evaporated. Then I stirred in some lemon zest, lemon juice, a little extra-virgin olive oil, some salt, and, of course, the favas. Delish!


See you next year my fava friend!

(P.S. If you haven’t tried Israeli couscous, here’s a great recipe.)

What do you like to do with favas?



  1. UK Dating Sites

    Thanks Stephanie for this good post.I will come to know some good aspects of cooking and food from this blog.I read some of entries and found them impressive.I will follow this blog in future.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:44 am
  2. Rena Takahashi

    I just made Jamie Oliver's smashed peas and favas recipe for a party and it was really amazing:

    I always peel my favas. I dunno what variety the above posters grow, but the skins on my beans taste aaaaawful!

    April 26, 2011 at 5:01 am
  3. Elaine Johnson

    Maxie, at Sunset we also love them grilled! Here’s a post about cooking them that way:


    April 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm
  4. maxie

    @Susan, same here. My family is from Sicily and we never blanched/peeled the fave. And, if you buy the canned dried ones in an Italian grocery, you’ll find the skins still on the beans.

    A great appetizer at a bbq is to grill them in the pods, salt them and let everyone peel and eat while you finish cooking.

    April 23, 2011 at 11:47 pm
  5. David

    Really peel them twice? I know they do that in fancy restaurants but hardly necessary at home especially if you have the luxury of picking them fresh from your own garden. Often ones you buy are a little too large and not so tender and I could just about see that peeling the inner skin might make them better, but picking them small and tender yourself they’re great just as is no second peeling. Lightly steamed then on a piece of wholemeal toast with some chopped parsley and butter. Definitely food for the gods.

    April 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm
  6. Susan @ pinkportugueseroses

    Favas have become very popular as of late. I grew up on them. My grandparents (my parents too!) were Portuguese we grew these every year.

    We would make a dish called “Favas and Linguica”. Linguica is a portuguese sausage. I don’t remember needing to blanch the beans. We would just cook them with the skins on. My grandmother said that those tough skins gave us extra fiber…LOL!!! I don’t know if that is true or not.

    Thanks for the wonderful post!

    April 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm

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