Fava beans, also known as broad beans, grow in pods. They are edible seeds of the legume family, and on a broader scale, are considered a pulse. They originated in the Mediterranean and have been found in some of the earliest human settlements, being cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Today, fava beans are widely cultivated in Pakistan and Iran.
Why Should You Eat Them?
These pods are packed with nutrients! Fava beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, are low in fat, and are a complex, high quality carbohydrate. Aside from also being a good source of fibre, fava beans provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, including iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorous, folate and a variety of other B vitamins. They also contain phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that work with other essential nutrients to promote good health. In addition to being nutrient dense, these legumes are easy to incorporate into your diet as they store well and are inexpensive.
Nutrition Value of 100 g (~½ cup) of Fava Beans
- 8 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fat
- 6 grams of fibre
- 50% of recommended folate intake
- 10% of daily iron needs
- 20% of daily magnesium requirements
The Wonders of How to Enjoy Them
With a firm texture and subtle nutty flavour, fava beans are a wonderful addition to your favourite dishes. From appetizers, to salads, soups, dips and casseroles – fava beans can do it all! They can be purchased in a variety of ways, including fresh, frozen, canned, bottled or dried. Fresh favas are in season from late March to early May, and are becoming more readily available in your typical grocery store. When buying fresh, look for pods that do not appear to be bulging, as this quality indicates that they are overripe. If you are unable to find fresh fava beans, you will find that frozen, canned, bottled or dried beans are greenish-brown in appearance compared to the vibrant emerald green colour of fresh fava beans. Don’t forget: these beans have a tough outer skin needs to be removed prior to eating. Sometimes the skin has not been removed in the canned or bottled variety, and these products can also be higher in sodium; therefore, ensure that you rinse the beans well and peel off the outer skin.
For more information on preparing broad beans, visit:
- Fava Falafels (this month’s feature recipe)
- Fava Bean Yogurt & Mint Soup
- Pea & Broad Bean Dip
- Crushed Broad Bean Pesto
- Salmon, Pepper & Broad Bean Salad
- Moroccan Fava Bean Salad
- Asparagus & Fava Beans with Toasted Almonds
- Grilled Fava Beans
- Fava Bean Stew
- Artichoke and Broad Bean Omelette
Did You Know That…
Fava beans are actually not a true bean, as they are a species of a flowering plant! Their botanical name is Vicia faba, and their stems (which can grow up to 6 feet in height) have white flowers that grow in clusters.
How do you enjoy fava beans? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below! 🙂