Valérie Fernandez

By Valérie Fernandez

September 17, 2014


Fava beans: They’re ready to come out of their shell!

Article revised on 19 June 2017

Fava beans, AKA broad beans, pigeon beans and field beans, are both nutritious and delicious.

As a member of the legume family, the fava bean has a high protein and fibre content and is an excellent source of nutrients such as iron and several vitamins. Fava beans are also low in fat and gluten free.

Dried fava beans are available year-round, but if you spot them fresh in the market, you could be in for a treat! Fava beans are easy to prepare, perhaps a little time-consuming, but well worth the effort.


  • Remove beans from their pods. A pod typically contains 5 to 10 beans.
  • Remove the pale green skin that covers each bean. This is easier to do if you blanch the shelled beans for 2 minutes and cool them down first.
  • Simmer beans in salted water for 20 to 25 minutes.

Shopping tip: Select beans with firm, bright green, unspotted pods. They will keep for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Recipe idea: Serve cooked fava beans with a drizzle of EVOO and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice as a side to grilled meat.


  • Soak them in a large pot of water for 24 hours and drain.
  • Remove the skin covering the beans.
  • In fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours or until fork-tender.

Recipe idea: Add fava beans to soups or replace mashed potatoes with a tasty fava bean mash.


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