Yid.Dish: The Fabulous Fava

By Alix Wall

Published May 07, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Can anyone hear fava beans and not think of Anthony Hopkins?

“I ate his liver with fava beans and a nice chianti.” (The movie is Silence of the Lambs, in case you missed it, and the infamous line was said by Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.)

But references to cannibalism aside, our Tuv Ha’Aretz has started here in Berkeley, and we’ve got more fava beans than we know what to do with. Which, when you get down to it, really isn’t that many at all.

The fava has a lot going for it. Like it’s bean cousins, it is high in protein, fiber and iron and has no cholesterol. In some countries, it has been referred to as the meat of the poor.

The fava is grown and eaten widely around the world, especially in the Middle East. In Egypt, dried favas are commonly used to make ful, a bean stew that is most often eaten for breakfast.

But in North America, they are often left to the domain of high-end restaurants. Why? Because of all the vegetables out there, they are one of the most labor-intensive. First, you must open the pods, and remove the beans. Then, you must briefly boil them (three minutes should be enough). Finally, after allowing them to cool, you must squeeze each one between your pointer finger and thumb, to squeeze out the bean from its waxy coating.

Admittedly, it’s a lot of effort for a bean.

I came up with this recipe inspired by the favas, leeks and green garlic in my box. But you can substitute regular onions and garlic if you don’t have leeks and green garlic. My in-house taster declared this soup absolutely delicious.

Fava Bean Soup

2 or 3 pounds fava beans

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 leeks*

2 or 3 stalks green garlic (Regular garlic and onions can be substituted for green garlic and leeks)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Boil some water. While waiting for water to boil, remove fava beans from their pods. When water is boiling, add favas for three minutes. Strain, and run cold water over them. Put each bean between your fingers and squeeze gently, to remove fava from its shell.

Chop dark green tops off leeks. Chop off the bottom, cut lengthwise, and wash carefully to get rid of any dirt. Chop remaining light green and white parts into slices about half inch thick.

Chop the bottom off the green garlic, as well as the darkest green part. Finely chop the rest.

Coat bottom of a medium-sized saucepan with olive oil. When hot, add green garlic and leeks. Add a good shake of sea salt. Saute about 10 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Then add broth and fava beans. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and cover, for about 10 minutes.

Turn off heat. Allow soup to cool a bit, and then either put it into a blender, or use an immersion blender. (I highly recommend this, if you don’t have one!) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over each one.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.