Cooked Fava Beans

Cooked favas

Cooked favas

By Cat, Aug 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Favas are another food my Greek friends in Portland introduced me to.  I love Middle Eastern foods, and favas are a favorite in this cuisine.

I’ve never had fresh favas before, and have always used commercially canned favas. But a good friend, Marc, who owns La Provence restaurant in Bigfork, gave me some fava pods fresh from his garden, so I’m about to learn how to prepare them. This first time, I’ll simply sauté them in butter and olive oil (see Sautéed Fresh Favas, below).

Fava Beans in Shell

Favas have an outer pod (see photo, left, from Wikimedia Commons), and then a waxy skin around each bean (the white covering in photo), that must be removed before you can eat them, although really young beans can be eaten with the tender skin that has not yet grown thick and waxy.

Favas have other names, too: broad bean, fava bean, faba bean, field bean, bell bean, butter bean, haba bean, English or Windsor bean, ful, or foul bean (4). Canned favas are often labeled by their Arabic name: Ful Mudammes or Foul Medammes. See Fava Knows Best (from Sundance Natural Foods (1)) for helpful information.

Sautéed Fresh Favas

This recipe is adapted from, by Julesong (1). You can make them with or without added herbs, but I don’t recommend using more than one herb at a time.

I used Marc’s fresh favas in this recipe. I didn’t have quite a cup of shelled beans but I used the amounts of other ingredients as written, with just very light sprinkling of thyme since it goes great with grilled lamb chops (with Rosemary in place of lima beans). Mmm, a great dinner.

I’ve made this recipe 3 times now (2010, 2011, 2012) using about ½ cup of Marc’s beans and other ingredients as written. It is delicious! The favas are not as dry tasting as limas, with a hint of sweetness. The second time I used thyme and a bit of fresh mint. Mmmm!

Sadly, Marc and his family have moved far away; I may start growing some of my own, but in the meantime, lima beans (fresh or frozen) are a good substitute.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 cup fresh favas, shelled
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • sprinkling of herbs such as savory, thyme or sage (optional)
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


    1. Prep: Shell favas, then steam about a minute. Shock with cold water, then remove outer covering from the favas with your fingers.
    1. Heat butter and oil in skillet until butter melts. Then add garlic and saute over low heat 1 minute.
  1. Add favas and herbs (if using); saute 5 – 7 minutes more, until they are done to your preference.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Excellent with grilled or roast lamb.

Ful Mudammas

This recipe is adapted from DeDe Med’s video. She uses canned favas with canned chickpeas, but I prefer to start with fresh or dried beans from scratch. Fresh beans do not need to be pre-cooked, but you will need to pre-cook the dried beans; see Fava Beans (About) for instructions.

In the Middle East, this dish is served for breakfast, but can also be served for lunch.

NOTE: plain canned favas are called Ful Madamas in Middle-Eastern Groceries; this is not the same as this dish, which is garnished with tomatoes and other veggies, and olive oil.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 cup cooked or canned favas, or 1/2 cup each cooked chickpeas and favas
  • 1 – 2 lemons
  • 2 – 4 large cloves garlic
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion, optional
  • 2 fresh radishes, sliced (if large, halve them before slicing)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro (or a mix of the two)
  • ½ tsp cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Equipment
  • saucepan
  • large bowl
  • mortar or other object for mashing


  1. Cook beans (if using dried, soak them overnight, or sprout them before cooking; see Fava Beans (About)). Rinse and drain.
  2. Warm cooked or canned beans in saucepan with about ¼ cup water over medium high heat. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Juice the lemons to make about ¼ cup juice. Mince the garlic, then sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt and press with flat blade of knife to make a paste.
  4. Pour beans into bowl. Add lemon juice and garlic, stirring with a spoon to combine well.
  5. Mash with back of a spoon, bottom of a glass, or with a mortar until about half of the beans are mashed and the mixture thickens to desired consistency.

Garnish the Ful

  1. Chop tomatoes and onion and place in small bowl; slice the radishes and add to tomatoes; stir lightly to combine, then sprinkle over the top of the beans in the bowl.
  2. Chop parsley/cilantro and arrange around the edge.
  3. Sprinkle cayenne over the top, then drizzle olive oil over all.

Lebanese Favas

Foul Mudammas (Canned, Seasoned Favas)

Foul Mudammas (Canned, Seasoned Favas)

I’ve sampled this dish at a Lebanese Meza table at my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Portland. When I first saw this recipe on the web (CD Kitchen (2)), calling for cans of foul mudammas, I had to look that up and learned that it is a common breakfast dish made from favas or chickpeas, and garnished with tomatoes and olive oil (see recipe above). But then I also learned that plain canned favas from Middle-Eastern groceries are called ful mudammas (see photo, from Sadaf (3)) I’m certain this is what is meant in the recipe. Thus I use cooked favas instead of the canned beans.

Canned favas typically contain just salt and water with the beans; canned ful mudammas usually have lemon juice added. So if you use canned favas or if you cook your own favas, you may want to increase the lemon juice to 4 Tbsp – taste first.

This recipe is adapted from CD Kitchen (2). The original uses canned favas. I’ve cut the recipe in half, to serve 3 – 4, and modified it to use home-cooked favas.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 ½ cup cooked favas (from fresh or dried)
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground cumin
  • ⅛ tsp ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne
  • ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more, to taste)
  • Equipment:
  • medium cast iron skillet


  1. Prep: Favas:
    • If using pre-cooked or canned favas, skip this step.
    • If using fresh, uncooked favas: Shell favas, then steam about a minute. Shock with cold water, then remove outer covering from the favas with your fingers.
  2. Chop onions and mince garlic.
  3. Wash and rinse tomatoes, remove seeds (if using Roma tomatoes, they don’t have seeds to remove), then chop coarsely.
  4. Cook: Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat until hot; reduce to medium low. Warm ¼ cup of  olive oil in pan, about 30 seconds, then add prepped onions and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer if they are cooking too fast.
  5. Add prepped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  6. Add cooked fava beans and spices; cook for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Just before serving stir in the lemon juice. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the beans and serve with pita.


  1., by Julesong (link no longer available)
  2. CD Kitchen Lebanese Fava recipe (
  3. Sadaf – canned Foul Muddamas (
  4. DeDe Med’s video for Ful Mudammas (

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