Sweet fava beans are a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Young favas can be used unpeeled, but as they mature, their tough outer skins need to be removed. It’s well worth the effort—their rich flavor is wonderful in everything from light salads to hearty stews.
In the United States, this common Middle Eastern street food is better known under the name, falafel. Whether made of chickpeas or fava beans (as it is here), it is typically served with tahina, a lemony sesame sauce. See the Fried Fava Bean Patties Recipe Tria Giovan See the Recipe Brooke Slezak Fresh young fava beans signal the beginning of spring and all its glory. For best results, add hot pasta to fava beans just as they finish cooking. See the recipe for Fettuccine with Fava Beans » Maura McEvoy Choose tender, bright green pods with beans that feel fresh and pliable through the pod skin for this quick and simple vegetable dish. See the recipe for Grilled Whole Favas » Meredith Heuer Tuscany-based food writer Lori Zimring De Mori suggested we make this dish only with fresh young favas whose skins are so thin and tender that they don’t need peeling. Look for smaller unblemished fava pods and snap a few open to see whether the beans are small and thin skinned. See the recipe for Fava and Pecorino Salad» Ben Fink This dish is traditionally made with the blood sausage called botifarra negra–it is unavailable in the U.S., but morcilla may be substituted. Ben Fink Smooth, whipped feta cheese dresses the fresh favas, tomatoes, and mint in this Greek dish. See the recipe for Fava Pasta Salad » Ben Fink This is a country dish that is commonly served as an accompaniment to meze–a traditional assortment of small plates–at Kamares Taverna, in the southern town of Lofou. It is often eaten with freshly baked bread, which is used to sop up the aromatic broth. See the recipe for Fava Bean Stew with Garlic, Thyme, and Bay Leaves » André Baranowski See the Recipe Dominique Vorillon This is a simple but rich spring recipe that combines the earthy quality of morels with the bright sweetness of favas. Christopher Hirsheimer See the Recipe Penny De Los Santos See the Recipe James Oseland Tender artichoke hearts and fava beans pair beautifully in this simple Greek side dish. Get the recipe for Artichokes and Fava Beans (Aginares Me Koukia) » Farideh Sadeghin See the Recipe Anna Stockwell The secret to this soup is a flavorful aromatic base of tomatoes, garlic, and onions—called a recado—that is pureed and fried before the beans go into the pot. Todd Coleman Cumin and lemon bring a smoky and tart savoriness to this classic Egyptian bean dish. Todd Coleman Best known as Egypt’s national dish, ful medames is a hearty stew of warmed fava beans stirred with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, usually eaten for breakfast. Todd Coleman