Simple to make this broad bean hummus has a deliciously fresh flavour. Serve with croutés, flatbreads or vegetable crudities for dipping.
Broad (Fava) Beans
Broadbeans also known as fava beans in the US are a member of the legume family and in season from the end of June to mid-September. They are cheap and easy to grow in a veg patch or allotment and grow in most soils and climates.
They are nutritious too being a good source of protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins A, B1 and B2.
But despite these positives, they remain an unloved addition to many a meal and I don't think I am alone in not really liking broad beans. Perhaps it's a hangover from being made to eat them as a vegetable as a child. The beans once podded still had a tough white outer layer that didn't have much flavour.
So why make a recipe with broad beans then ?
Well I get a weekly organic veg box and come the summer inevitably I get a few boxes with the beans in them and as I hate waste, and am always looking to expand my diet I needed to find some way of using them that I liked.
You should buy broad beans as fresh as possible – pods should be firm and crisp. Avoid any that feel soft with pockets of air inside.
I suspect the beans I was given as a child were older beans and picked young and fresh I now find them ok as a vegetable although they don't overly excite me. But this bean that for years has been neglected is making a bit of a comeback thanks to the trend to double pod the beans.
Now your talking! The bean without the leathery inner shell is a different thing altogether; creamy, vibrant, sweet beans and a lovely fresh flavour
Ok it is a bit fiddly but so worth it and actually it can be rather satisfying.
How to double pod
First the broad beans should be removed from the outer pod. To do this slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the velvety inside to push the beans out.
Next, blanch the beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and cool under cold water before using your nail to slit the inner shell and pop out the bright green bean.
Broad beans which have already been podded can also be bought frozen to double pod these simply defrost, then squeeze them out the inner shell - no need to blanch first!
How to serve double podded broad beans
Now that you have double podded the beans you can gently warm them through in a little melted butter and perhaps a sprinkling of chopped mint and serve them as a vegetable.
They are also delicious tossed through a mixed or potato salad, or added to soups, salads or stirred through a risotto.
You could also use them in place of the edamame beans in my bean and pancetta croustini. Perfect to serve with predinner drinks or at parties.
Or of course, you can make this broad bean hummus. Based on a classic hummus, this recipe used broad beans in place of chickpeas. In summer it makes a delicious change from the more usual hummus.
It has a fresher more zingy flavour and has the advantage of being seasonal and reducing food miles being a locally grown bean rather than an imported bean.
Even if you are not a fan of broad beans I urge you to give it a try you might just surprise yourself. If on the other hand you already love these beans well then you are in for a real treat.
If you like hummus you may like to try...
Step by step broad bean hummus
Broad bean Hummus
- 750 g broad beans
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus extra to drizzle
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp tahini
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Remove 750g (1lb 10oz) broad beans from their pods. Cook in boiling water for 3 -5 minutes, until just tender.
- Drain the broad beans and refresh in cold water, then drain again.
- Remove the broad beans from the skins and place in a food processor, jug blender or deep sided bowl.
- Add 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp tahini. Season with salt and pepper. Blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add a little more lemon juice if desired.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Serve with toasted croutés, flatbreads or vegetable crudities.