Have you tried broad beans before? Broad beans, also called fava beans, are a common food in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. They look like lima beans and come in various sizes and colors (ranging from green to brown). One of the common ways green broad beans are eaten in Middle Eastern cuisine is simply sautéed with garlic and cilantro. At home we usually eat it with pita bread and a side of yogurt. This dish is one of my go-to dinners because it’s so simple to prepare and tastes delicious. And it’s great way to add more plant-based proteins to your diet.
Broad Beans Nutrition
Broad beans rank high when it comes to its nutritional content. A cup of broad beans contains 13 g of protein, making it a great plant-based protein option. One cup also contains 33 g of carbohydrate, with 9 g of those being fiber. Now that’s high in fiber! It is an excellent source of folate, and contains many minerals including iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also contain plant sterols, components in plants that have been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Where to buy broad beans?
Broad beans can be found fresh, frozen, dried or canned. I personally buy them from Arabic grocery stores. The green broad beans usually come in a frozen bag. The smaller, brown broad beans come in dried bags or cans (these beans are used in a dish called fool-mudammas, which is a bean salad consisting of tomato and parsley).
If you don’t have a local Arabic store in your city, a quick search shows that some grocery stores carry broad beans, either in the dried form or in cans. If you purchase the dried broad beans you will need to soak the beans overnight, and boil the next day for an hour or until tender.
Sauteed Garlic Cilantro Broad Beans
A delicious Mediterranean vegetarian recipe featuring broad beans sauteed with garlic and cilantro.
- 1 bag frozen broad beans around 2 cups
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 medium garlic clove minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- plain greek yogurt optional
Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pot and add the bag of frozen broad beans. Stir together over medium heat for a minute as the beans start to defrost.
Add a ¼ cup water to the pot, lower the heat to medium low, and leave the pot covered for 20 minutes or until the beans are tender and cooked. Check on the beans and give them a quick stir every few minutes, adding water as needed to cook beans thoroughly.
Add the cilantro, garlic, salt and remaining olive oil to the beans and stir together on low heat for one minute.
Serve immediately or at room temperature. You may add yogurt and pita bread to the side (optional).