The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Sauteed Whole Fava Beans

As much as I adore fava beans, the labor involved in shelling them sometimes dissuades me from cooking with them. Last year, when I first gave this pan-roasted method a whirl, I was blown away. You get all the joy of the fava bean, but the preparation is so heartbreakingly simple that it’s hard to believe it’s the same, fussy bean. The pods take on a smoky quality somewhat similar to shisito peppers.

It’s important to select young, tender pods when you prepare them whole, because the larger pods tend to be tougher and chewier and don’t take so well to the pan.


Serves 4 as an appetizer

1 pound fresh, young fava beans (look for smaller, tender pods)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more for finishing
lemon wedges for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over a medium flame.

Toss the fava beans in the olive oil and salt. Once the skillet is hot, arrange the pods in a single layer in the pan. You will most likely need to work in batches.

Saute them for at least 7 minutes per side, leaving them undisturbed as they cook. Larger pods may need more time.

Using tongs, flip the pods and saute for another 5-7 minutes on the second side, again leaving undisturbed. Place sauteed pods in the oven to keep warm.

  • bianca - Nice! Thanks for this. I love fava beans, but I loathe its fussiness- this recipe changes everything.ReplyCancel

  • james - Ha – we both used fava beans with the salt! I didn’t think to try it on popcorn, though. (I did sprinkle over fresh tomatoes – yum.)

    I may have to pick up more beans at tomorrow’s market to try this out – they look so good.ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - I just got back from Milan with a bunch of fava beans and I’m about to make this, will report back ^_^ I have some macadamia kelp salt from NZ my mum sent me I’m going to use.ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - I wasn’t able to participate due to sickness and I couldn’t tase a thing, but these fava beans look incredible. Thanks for the tip about sprinkling over popcorn!ReplyCancel

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