{recipe} Fava Bean Bruschetta + Why I Only Buy Fava Beans Once a Year

I first fell in love with fava beans while cooking at Rose Pistola, where I had some inkling of how they were prepared but never actually had to DO it myself- since there was always a prep cook ready to take my gigantic bag of dirty old pods into the back room and return a couple of hours later with a little container of gorgeous, glistening prepared fava beans.

They are not my favorite thing to prepare myself, sans eager-beaver prep cook guy, because they need to be shelled not once, but twice, which is pretty annoying and time-consuming. Also, you have to buy a rather large amount in order for them to yield a relatively meager pile of usable end-product.

However, I tend to forget these facts from year to year. So about once every spring, I see them in some market stall and buy them, and then I end up taking them home and fooling around with them for hours and hours and making something that is annoyingly DELICIOUS. Why annoyingly? Because if they weren’t delicious then I’d never be tempted to mess with them, I’d just leave them for some other poor sucker.

first shelling: so many pods, so few beans to show for it.


second shelling: yet another big pile of detritus for an ever-shrinking pile of beans.


This item was inspired by the yummy appetizer I ate recently at Beretta, but I didn’t see the need to cover it with oil and cheese as they did. It is maddeningly, disgustingly, irritatingly tasty and fresh and wonderful as it is and I wish I could make and eat it about once a week, but that just isn’t going to happen. Unless, of course, I stop working and devote more time to cooking each day, or until the glorious day that I’m wealthy enough to employ a cadre of servants in my home. So, yeah, probably never.

Fava Bean Bruschetta
this will make enough appetizers for 6-8 people.


  • about 1 lb. fava beans, in their pods
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed mint leaves
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • olive oil to taste/texture- probably about 1/3 cup
  • salt to taste (about 1 tsp.)
  • 16 slices good quality fresh baguette, about 1/2 inch thick


  • Remove fava beans from pods and discard pods. Boil a pot of salted water and cook the beans about 2-3  minutes. Strain and pour cold water over them until they are warm. Squeeze beans until insides pop out and discard shells.
  • Combine beans, spinach, mint, lemon, garlic, parmesan, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine and chop. Add oil, about 1 Tblps at a time, until mixture is thick but spreadable. Adjust salt and oil as needed.
  • Heat broiler of oven. Arrange bread on a pan and toast lightly on both sides.
  • Remove bread from oven and spread a thick layer of fava bean paste on bread. Serve immediately.
  • If you have leftover paste, you can thin it out with cream or olive oil and toss it with pasta.

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5 Responses

  1. susan says:

    hi there! i totally feel you on fava beans. last season i didn’t even buy them once. this season i’ve bought and cooked them exactly once. a big pile of empty pods, and a small handful of fava beans. but they do taste so delicious and are so beautiful. i alllmost feel motivated to get them again. almost.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Susan- love your blog, looks great! Readers you should click through and check it out!

  3. I did not know you had to shell twice. I bought them and shelled once, cooked them, and ate them. I thought they were bitter and didn’t understand why everyone was all into them. I’ll have to try again now that your photo has made clear to me my mistake.

  4. James Joyce says:

    Well researched site – love the kitchen gadgets! – Will look to incorporate some of your ideas into my site. Thanks!

  1. May 24, 2011

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