Fava beans recipe, Persian style. This is a tasty appetizer or snack that's so easy to make and is flavored with spices and vinegar. Try it while fresh fava beans are still in season. You can also use frozen or dry beans to make this recipe.
As you know by now, Persian cuisine relies on subtle flavors and simple cooking methods and legumes are commonly used in different ways. From Ash Reshteh (Persian noodle soup) and Ash-e Bademjan (Eggplant soup) to Adasi (lentil soup) and Ghormeh Sabzi (Herb stew), different kinds of beans have been used for a very long time. This fava bean recipe is another way to add more beans to your meals, and it's so easy!
What are fava beans?
Being a part of Middle Eastern cooking since the 4th century, fava beans come in many shapes these days. You can find them fresh, canned, dry or frozen. Fresh fava beans in pods can be refrigerated for up to 10 days.
They are a great source of protein, fiber and iron. As for flavor and texture, fava beans have a mild buttery flavor with a meaty and creamy texture. Fresh fava beans are available for a short time in spring, the pods are bright green and so are the beans. You can make this fava bean recipe using dry or frozen ones if fresh isn't available.
One thing that makes fava beans - also known as broad beans - different from other legumes is that you need to peel the beans after cooking to eat, unless they are prepared in advance, like canned fava beans.
Fava beans - Fresh fava beans (called baghali in Farsi) are available in spring for a few weeks. When choosing fava beans, make sure the pods are bright green without any brown spots. I like ones that are smaller because they're sweeter.
Vinegar - To make Persian style fava beans, you need white vinegar to add a tangy flavor to the dish.
Persian hogweed - Also known as golpar or sometimes angelica, This spice is made from the ground seeds of heracleum persicum. It has an earthy and aromatic flavor that's slightly bitter. It's a pretty special spice used in this recipe and you can find it in Persian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean shops and even online. Unfortunately, there isn't a substitute for it, however, you can leave it out if it's not available.
Spices - I love using a combination of sumac, dried mint and red pepper flakes (such as Aleppo pepper) to add more flavor to the beans.
How to cook fava beans
- Wash the fava beans (keep them in pods) and place them in a pot. Fill the pot with water until it covers the beans. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat, simmering until the beans are fully cooked, about 40 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and carefully take one of the beans out of a pod. Peel the fava beans with your fingers and taste to see if it's tender and cooked. To the simmering fava beans add the vinegar, salt and Persian hogweed. Simmer for 15 more minutes.
- Transfer the fava beans to a platter and top with Persian hogweed, dried mint, sumac and pepper flakes. Pour some of the vinegar water over the beans if desired.
How to serve
We usually serve fava bean (baghali) warm as a snack and peel each bean before eating. If the fava beans are small and fresh like these in photos, I like to suck on the skin as well because of that tangy flavor they get when cooked with vinegar.
Frequently asked questions
No, they are 2 different legumes. Fava beans are less starchy and slightly milder compared to lima beans and they are higher in protein.
Yes. To do so, snap off the top part of the pod and pull it down. The seam will open and "unzip" then you can take the beans out.
You can use frozen fava beans or dry fava beans. Cooking time may vary as it would be longer for dry beans.
If you can't find Persian hogweed, simply leave it out.
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Persian Fava Beans Recipe
- 1 lb fresh fava beans
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoon Persian hogweed (Angelica)
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried mint
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoon sumac
- Wash the fava bean pods and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until it covers the beans. Place it over high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium and cover with a lid. Simmer the beans for about 40 minutes. Take one of the beans out of the pod, peel it and taste it to see if it's tender and cooked.
- Add the vinegar, 1 teaspoon Persian hogweed and salt to the simmering pot. Cover and cook on medium for another 15 minutes.
- Transfer the beans to a platter and top with the remaining Persian hogweed, dried mint, Aleppo pepper and sumac. Pour some of the vinegar and water mixture over the fava beans if desired.
- To serve, take the beans out of the pod, carefully peel them with your fingers and enjoy.
- You can find Persian hogweed also known as angelica or golpar in many Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops. However, if you can't find it, simply leave it out.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- If fresh fava beans aren't available, use frozen or dry fava beans. Keep in mind that the cooking time would vary and it'll be longer for dry beans.