Spring Vegetarian Delicacy

Fava Beans, one of the treasured parts of spring have arrived. We made these in class recently and they were a big hit. I wanted to share the recipe with you. You can serve them as an appetizer, or a side dish; hot, or room temperature.

Braised Fava Beans

Braised Fava Beans


  • 3 ½ pounds of fava beans (once shelled, blanched and skins slipped off will yield 1 cup and 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup leeks (white and light green parts only), split, washed and diced
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 5 turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (or more) of chicken stock, warmed
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme or marjoram
  • ½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. chiffonade of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. finely diced scallions (split lengthwise then sliced into 1/8 inch semi-circles) or snipped chives
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
  • 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil for finishing


  1. After shelling the fava beans, blanch half of them in 2 cups of rapidly boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon then repeat with the other half. Slip off the skins. Set aside.
  2. In a 10-inch stainless steel skillet, sauté the leeks for 3 minutes in 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium low heat or until they have softened. Add the salt and pepper. Add the fava beans to the sauté pan and turn over in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the stock a few tbsp. at a time, using up to ½ cup, as necessary, until the fava beans are cooked through. Total time will be between 7 to 10 minutes, but begin to taste for doneness after the first 5 minutes. Be careful not to stir the beans too often or they will begin to break. Remove from the heat. Add the herbs – the thyme, rosemary, half the basil and half the parsley to the pan.
  3. Place the fava beans on a serving plate. Drizzle the beans with 2 tsp. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Finally, sprinkle the beans with the diced scallions and the rest of the basil chiffonade and parsley.
  4. The dish can be made a few hours ahead and can be served either hot at room temperature.


As an alternative to the fava beans, the dish can be made with any fresh bean, such as cranberry or lima beans, or with any dried beans, such as chick peas or black beans, which will need to be soaked and cooked in advance.

6 comments… add one
  • Sarah Williams April 14, 2013, 4:06 am

    How interesting! I’ve never seen a fava bean in a shell! One question — (1)What is a chiffonade? I’m going to try this dish! I enjoy reading your recipes and can see you cooking and slicing – so patient – so knowledgeable —

    • Karen Lee April 14, 2013, 1:44 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      A chiffoade of basil is when you slice the basil leaves thinnly.
      first I pluck the basil leaves from the stem of of the plant, wash , drain and dry them. Then I roll them, and then cut them into thin shreds. Thank you for writing. kl

  • madeline schuster April 15, 2013, 1:05 pm

    Lucky for me having been in class for this dish.Can always count on you to discover when and where the seasonal vegetables , fruits and fish are available. Spring is full of choices and can’t wait for our May class!

    • Karen Lee April 15, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Dear Madeline,

      Your enthusiasm is a joy to me.
      Thank you.

  • Susemarie Swenson April 17, 2013, 10:59 pm

    Tried copying the recipe, but it would not let me.
    Is there the need for me to copy it by hand??

  • Sigun Coyle April 24, 2013, 6:37 am

    You are courageous to make fava beans for a class — it takes such a long time to prepare them! Have made fava bean puree as hors-d’oeuvres just a few days ago: you prepare them as you do, but instead of cooking them, you put them in a blender with Parmigiano a bit of good olive oil, a clove of garlic and some fresh thyme, salt and pepper; great on ‘croutons’ and it can be made a day ahead of time. Amities, Sigun.


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