Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic

Fresh fava beans require patience. You have to shuck them twice, once to remove the thick shell, and then again, after cooking the beans, to peel the outer skin. Are they worth the effort? You tell me. Fresh favas, or broad beans, are only available for a short time in spring, so it’s not an effort that you have to, or get to, make that often. I kind of like the meditative aspects of plopping out the beans from their pods like mini-green-bean rocket ships. Cooked in salty water, they taste a lot like edamame, and can be just as deliciously addictive. Here is a recipe for a simple fava bean dip with garlic and goat cheese. It’s terrific with jicama, and cucumber slices. The cool crunchiness of the jicama or cucumber works well with the creamy beany-ness (for lack of a better word) of the dip. Many thanks to fellow Sacramento food blogger Hank Shaw for supplying me with bunch of fava beans from his garden.

Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients

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  • 2-3 pounds fresh fava (broad) beans, shelled (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped green garlic (can substitute 4 cloves chopped garlic)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup or more water
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

1 Remove the outer shell from the fava beans. The easiest way to do this is to work over a large bowl, bend the fava bean pod near one of the beans, squeeze the bean with your fingers, to have it shoot out into the bowl when the bean snaps. Keep squeezing, pinching and snapping, until you've de-beaned all the pods.

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2 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the shelled beans, simmer for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove beans from the hot water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to shock the beans into maintaining their bright green color. When the beans have sunk to the bottom of the bowl of ice water, fish them out and remove and discard the outer peel.

3 In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the chopped green garlic (or chopped regular garlic cloves) and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3 or 4 minutes.

4 Place shelled and peeled beans in a food processor with softened green garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water. Pulse until smooth. Stream in a tablespoon or two more of olive oil while puréeing.

5 Scrape mixture out of food processor into a bowl. Mix in the goat cheese until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve with sliced cucumbers or jicama.

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Links:

Working with fresh fava beans - a great tutorial from Hank Shaw
Wikipedia on fava beans
Grilled fava beans from The Food Section
Fava bean and dill crostini by Susan the Food Blogga
More fava bean recipes at Food Blog Search

17 Comments

  1. jonathan

    This fava bean dip would go well with some liver and a nice Chianti – Hannibal (the Cannibal) Lecter, 1991

    You would bring that up. ;-) ~Elise

  2. Hank

    Oooh! Nice idea to combine with the goat cheese. Makes it much richer, and perfect as a bruschetta topping or ravioli filling. Thanks a heap for the shout-out on shuckin’ favas, too.

    Hi Hank, the credit goes to our mutual friend Ashley who gave me the idea for the goat cheese. I really loved it with the jicama, just a perfect combo. ~Elise

  3. grulmthem

    yum. I don’t think you need to peel the beans the second time though, since they are getting pureed.

  4. Shannon

    I have to agree with Jonathan about the filling for ravioli! I think this would make a delicious ravioli dinner! I have never cooked with Fava beans, but I am sure looking forward to trying it! This recipe looks absolutely divine and delicious! Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Darren

    I’ve never had fava beans but the comparison to edamame makes me look forward to finding them in the store.

    Be careful about shucking them if you suffer from Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. :)

  6. Marc @ NoRecipes

    This looks great. I just made some nettle pasta with fava beans tonight and while they are a bit of a chore to shell, I love the way they taste. Texture of edamame, flavor and sweetness of a pea. Yum!

  7. Lunasea

    We still have lots of fava beans in our farmer’s market, and they have frozen (shelled) ones at Whole Foods now. Yum.

  8. J-Ha

    I made this for a BBQ today — it was delish and quite addictive! Served it with cucumber, jicama, and whole wheat crackers. What struck me even more about this recipe is how much fun it was to make. I’d never done anything with favas before and it was a new adventure for my Sunday morning. Thank you for always providing such clear and relevant recipes!

  9. Jeanne

    I love, love fava beans – the true taste of summer for me! I posted some fava bean crostini last summer too but added some feta cheese to mine before pureeing – heavenly!

  10. Susan from Food Blogga

    I have shelled a lot of fava beans this spring, and you’ve just given me a delicious reason to shell some more. Thanks for the link, Elise!

  11. Mimi

    Based on the comment that fava beans are similar to edamame, I substituted the fava beans with frozen edamame which I had on hand. I also added some leftover roast garlic, used a garlic and herb flavoured goat cheese and upped the amount of lemon juice and zest. It was really yummy and easy. Next time though, I think I would use less cheese for lighter dip.

  12. wendi

    Delicious! We fixed some tonight. I made it without the goat cheese b/c I am on an elimination diet excluding cheeses. We ate it with sliced up Jerusalem artichokes (raw) and carrots.

  13. Susiq

    I spent some time in Malta this summer and love their ButterBean (Lima bean) dip.. which is similar to this recipe. Maybe butter beans can be used instead of fava beans?

    I don’t see why not. ~Elise

  14. Teresa

    Hi Elise,
    I love fava beans, here in Italy we eat them in many different ways.
    For example Rome Lazio area the like them raw with bite size chunks of pecorino cheese and fresh crunchy bread.
    You should try dried fava beans (overnite in cold water then cooked with a bit of salt ultill its rendered puréed or use mixer)
    It’s absolutely awesome with homemade pasta, seasoned with olive oil where you have sauted some garlic add pepper (hot pepper if you like).
    Try and let me know.
    Hugs from Italy
    Teresa

  15. Shan

    I started making this recipe with baby limas and edamame. I think the texture is just right and I do not have to spend all morning shucking beans. I may try it with my cute little sweet peas I have growing in the yard just now. I have tons – and only one shuck. Maybe even kohlrabi! But not for another couple months! Thanks for the recipe. A nice base! I add cayenne and sometimes sub in feta or lebne (cheese made from yogurt).

  16. Aurora

    Used this as a spread in a lasagna with smoked halibut, gluten-free pasta, white pepper and more goat cheese. The fava beans completed the dish beautifully! Thanks for the great idea, Shan’s idea sound wonderful too.

  17. Kris

    We chose this recipe as our first taste of fava beans. We chose itbecause we are big fans of the other ingredients. It was really good. My one complaint is that it will give you no idea what fava beans actually taste like. They have such a delicate flavor that there is no way to tell what they will taste like when you combine them with goat cheese, garlic, and lemon. All you can taste is goat cheese, garlic, and lemon. You might as well skip the fava beans altogether.

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