What’s Cooking Wednesday: Fava Bean Spread

When we get fava beans, we tend to get them by the kilo…several kilos.

We usually just eat them either raw or cooked with Calabrian sausage, but this year I was determined to do something different. Somehow I got the idea in my head to make a fava-based hummus. I love chickpea-based hummus, which I make here despite the lack of tahini, so I gave it a go.

I really enjoyed it, so I’m posting the recipe in case you’d like to try it too.

Some notes before beginning:

  • The measurements in this recipe are estimates (although I am usually pretty good at estimating, so do feel safe in using them as general guidelines). Even if I did measure things exactly, though, amounts are going to differ by personal choice, so use your judgment. I trust you!
  • This recipe makes enough fava spread for about five slices of bread, the size of which you can see in the photo (each slice sits comfortably in my hand with outstretched fingers). For two people as an appetizer or snack this is a great amount; the mixture probably isn’t going to keep very long in your fridge, so I don’t know how much leftover you really want to make.
  • The spread might be even better after sitting for just a little while to let the flavors merge, but I wouldn’t say to leave it more than a day or two. When I make hummus and put it in the fridge, it’s not very appetizing after just two days.
  • After I made this, I then looked online for similar recipes. I know. Cart before the horse and all. I see that many blanch their favas before making a spread with it. If you want to do that just give them a dip in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then proceed with the mashing. I think this may be mainly to get the external shell off and make digestion easier, but you can just remove it yourself while they’re raw and keep all the nutrients intact to boot. That’s my recommendation, unless you have particularly hard favas that you think won’t mash well. Judgment time again!
  • I added the peanut butter to this recipe because I thought it still needed *something*; if you have tahini, you can certainly try that. You can also try it without the peanut butter or tahini, of course.
  • If you play around with this recipe, please let me know. I think it’s a great base spread that can go many different ways, and I’d love to hear your suggestions! This would also be great with some other stuff layered on top or bottom from sardines to ricotta cheese to diced tomatoes. Mmmm.

Fava Bean Spread

  • Fresh shelled favas from about 20 medium to large pods
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (just enough to give it some moisture, not make it oily)
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter
  • 3 squeezes of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

1. Puree together all ingredients to your desired level of smoothness; I like mine a little chunky.

2. Taste for what’s off/missing and adjust.

3. Spread on toast, fresh bread, crackers, grilled meats, raw veggies, whatever you like!

Buon appetito!

10 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Fava Bean Spread”
  1. Gil

    Sounds real tasty!

    Thanks Gil!

  2. Cathy

    Looks really good. Can’t wait to try it.

    Enjoy Cathy!

  3. 04.07.2010

    Sounds yummy! After 11 years living in Italy, I have yet to make fava beans. This recipe, given that it combines them with one of of my favorite things ever (peanut butter) may be the inspiration I needed!

    I hope you enjoy it, Danielle!

    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..5 Reasons to Love August in Rome =-.

  4. 04.07.2010

    Looks fantastic and sounds great. I was surprised with the inclusion of peanut butter.

    I was too! I tasted it without it, and it just needed *something* so I went with it. I’m glad I did ๐Ÿ™‚

    .-= running42k´s last blog ..Great start =-.

  5. 04.07.2010

    I hope they will have fava beans at the market tomorrow, ours did not germinate!

    Boo. That wasn’t very nice of your favas ๐Ÿ™

    .-= LindyLouMac´s last blog ..Terremoto One Year On =-.

  6. Cristina

    We had fave for dinner tonight. Warm puree with greens and garlic. It was yummy!

    Sounds great to me, Cristina!

  7. 04.08.2010

    Yum, yum, yum. And healthy also. Fava beans are good sources of non-heme iron and protein. I recently read that in the book, “What to Expect…” (parenting book). I’m currently at home with my 2-week-old daughter, Tessa ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to make this once I am able to.

    Good to know about the nutritional benefits! And congratulations!

    .-= jen laceda´s last blog ..Smashing Spring Giveaway =-.

  8. 04.08.2010

    I’ve used almond butter instead of tahini when I’m out / can’t find it. You could also add pine nuts to make it more substantial / hummus-like.

    Good suggestions, thank you! I’ve never seen almond butter here (even though we are surrounded by almonds!), but I just may try to make some next time we have fresh almonds laying around….

    .-= Al_Pal´s last blog ..Sensitivity: I have it. =-.

  9. 04.10.2010

    I know it’s crazy but I don’t like to eat any kind of spread that is green in color. What is that about? I do not know.

  10. Yum! The peanut butter is an interesting touch. I can’t find tahini anywhere here on the Amalfi Coast. You just inspired me to be a bit more creative with what to replace it with! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s pretty amazing what a great substitute it is, Laura. Enjoy!

    .-= Laura from Ciao Amalfi´s last blog ..A Welcome Sheep and Goat Invasion =-.

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



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