Fava beans are not just for cannibals.
In fact, fava beans are actually quite delicious with whole wheat pasta and veggies.
Now if you’ve never had fava beans before, it’s likely because you won’t find them in most grocery stores. Fava beans are best fresh and they don’t preserve well, so they’re not sold in cans or frozen. They’re also only in season for a few weeks every year. This means you have to stalk your local farmer’s market for fava beans in May or June, depending on where you live.
I was so excited when I discovered one vendor at my local farmer’s market in New Mexico selling fava beans. And I knew exactly what I wanted to make: whole wheat pasta with fava beans and spring veggies.
Pasta and fava beans pair really well together. Add in some olive oil, garlic, salt, lemon, and spme bonus seasonal veggies like asparagus and zucchini and you have a simple, delicious meal.
Now I want to be straight with you:
Fava beans require a little work. Usually come in long, fuzzy green pods. The beans are inside those pods, but once you get to those, you’re not quite done. You have to blanche the beans in order to get to the edible part of the bean on the inside of those baby green bean pods. So it’s a process. Read up here on how to prep your fava beans to eat. I recommend listening to a good podcast while you’re doing all of the fava bean prep work.
Once you’re fava beans are ready, it’s smooth sailing through this recipe. Even my picky husband loved it. He added some shredded Daiya Cheese, but otherwise he didn’t mess with it.
I think you’ll love it, too.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Fava Beans and Spring Veggies
1 cup shelled fava beans (if you’re starting from the pods, this would be about 1 or 2lbs of fava beans. if you’re able to buy them already out of their pods, It would be closer to a 1lb or about 2 cups)
1 Tbs olive oil (plus a little extra for mixing at the end)
16 stalks asparagus, cut into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
salt, pepper to taste
2 tsp lemon juice***
4 cups uncooked whole wheat penne pasta plus cooking water (or 8oz per person eating)
Take care of your fava beans according to the instructions I listed above. This is th emost time consuming part of the process.
Once the fava beans are done, set them aside until you need them.
Cook your pasta.
While pasta cooks, you’ll saute the veggies. Start with olive oil in a good sized sauce pan. Add in the asparagus and cook until bright green. Then add in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds or so, then add in the zucchini. Cook the veggies until the asparagus is tender and zucchini is soft. Stir consistently to prevent burning.
Add in the fava beans, salt, and pepper. Combine the veggies well so fava beans get warmed up and mixed in with the asparagus, garlic, and zucchini.
Once everything is nice and warm, divide the pasta into 4 bowls. Add in equal portions of the veggies and the tomatoes. Top with a little lemon juice and more salt/pepper if you need it.
***if you wanted to be fancy and have more time, you could use lemon zest instead. You’d add the lemon zest in with the fava beans, salt, pepper. Personally, I prefer the lemon juice. Zest is more subtle. If you like your flavors on the more subtle side, go for the zest and it will be perfect.