Fava beans are BIG.
I realize that this is a ridiculously obvious statement, but it was the first thing I noticed upon opening my first can of them as I went about making the Moroccan-Spiced Fava Bean Stew from Vegan Planet. I’d seen pictures of other fava bean recipes online, so I knew the beans were big. I just didn’t realize how big!
The size was an asset to the stew. It turns out that fava beans are very creamy inside but firm on the outside, giving them a sort of “bite.” Along with dried fruit and a mix of veggies including carrots (from the farmer’s market), peas and green beans (from our garden), it created a nice texture that was pleasing to eat.
In fact, the whole stew was kind of fun. Once and a while it’s nice to try something different from the general flavor profiles that I tend to cook with. I’ve had Moroccan-spiced dishes before, of course, but this was a little more low-key. Garlic, cinnamon, cumin and black pepper provided the seasoning. A simple combination, and yet it gave the dish a surprisingly full flavor.
What struck me as particularly unique about this stew was the inclusion of dried fruit. When I think of dried fruit, I picture things like trail mix and muffins. A few Indian recipes I’ve made include raisins, but it’s always a small amount. The fava bean stew called for 3/4 of a cup of dried fruit total–1/2 cup of “mixed dried fruit” and 1/4 cup of raisins–making it a prominent ingredient and a major player in the overall flavor.
I settled on a mix of dates, raisins, golden raisins, cranberries & currants. The combined sweetness plus the slightly pungent spice blend made for a unique finished stew. I make a lot of stews and chilis, but this one was different. It was a nice introduction to fava beans and a tasty departure from my usual forays into one-pot meals.
What’s your favorite dish to make with fava beans? Let me know in the comments–I need more ideas!