Also known as broad beans, fava beans are a great source of lean protein and fiber. In the spring, fava beans are delicious fresh from the pod and tossed with a salad. Once dry they require a good soaking, but after cooking they become soft, creamy, and sweet—well worth the wait. Sometimes I make this soup more as a mash, like refried beans, by adjusting how much broth gets added back. Either way, this recipe is a delicious gift from Sicily, where it has been traditional farm fare since ancient times.” Author of Ayurveda Cooking for Beginners, Laura Plumb
Laura’s Fennel & Fava Bean Soup
servings:4 | cook time: 1.5-2 hours
Season: Fall, Winter, Spring
Qualities: Light, Moist,
Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
What you need: a 4-6 quart soup pot
- 2 cups dried fava beans*
- 4 cups broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks, and fronds chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped (small-ish pieces)
- 2 T ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 sprigs oregano or mint leaves
- In a large bowl, soak beans in cold water by several inches for 12 hours.
- Drain the beans and rinse them well.
- Add soaked and rinsed beans to a soup pot with 4 cups of broth and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer. Approx 1 hour or until the beans start to come apart.
- In the meantime, zest and juice 1 lemon. Set aside. And prep fennel and celery.
- When beans start to come apart, add the chopped fennel bulb, stalks and fronds, and celery to the pot. Continue to simmer covered, until the beans fall apart. About 30 mins or so.
- Place the cooked beans, celery and fennel (remove fronds) with 1 cup of the liquid into a blender. Set extra broth aside.
- In the same soup pot warm the ghee and then pour the puree into the pot. Add additional broth for desired consistency.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper and heat until the soup is hot.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprigs of oregano or a mint leaf or two.
Notes from our test kitchen:
- Fresh fava beans can be used instead of dried. Add husked and shelled fresh fava beans to the pot with fennel and celery. Cook until tender, prior to blending.
- If you prefer the ghee to be emulsified with the soup, we recommend using a hand blender or add the ghee directly into the blender.
- Soup can be blended in the pot using a hand blender, we recommend ladling out 1/2 the broth and all the fronds. Adding more broth back into the pot for the consistency desired.