Sautéed Fava Beans

Sautéed fava beans

The Spruce Eats / Molly Watson

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
283 Calories
5g Fat
45g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 283
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 674mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 12g 44%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 83mg 6%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 609mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sautéed fava beans are a lovely side dish that tastes like spring. Tender yet crunchy and with a lot of character, these fava beans require very few ingredients and might become your new go-to veggie dish. Serve alongside fish, pork, turkey, or beef, or as a side to pasta or rice for those who don't eat meat. Top crusty bread with the beans and add a generous grate of Parmesan cheese to make an appetizer, or add them to any grain or vegetable salad to add extra protein, texture, and lots of flavor.

Fava beans are a delicious addition to your menu and a versatile ingredient. They can be used to make hummus and dips, or a crunchy snack if air-fried. And they're a good source of low-fat plant protein, magnesium, and phosphorus. Eating a cup of cooked unsalted fava beans will bring 13 grams of protein to your diet, along with 73 milligrams of magnesium and 212 milligrams of phosphorus—around 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of the recommended daily intake of these minerals.

When buying fava beans at the market, look for beans with plump pods that have just started to turn shiny. They must feel firm to the touch and the beans should be big enough to create bumps on the pod. Although cleaning and shelling the beans might take a while if you've never done it before, the hard work will pay off as you can prep many pounds of the beans and freeze them for later use.


  • 3 pounds fava beans

  • Fine sea salt, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Minced fresh mint, dill, and/or parsley, for optional garnish

Steps to Make It

Parboil and Shell the Fava Beans

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Remove the fava beans from their pods. They usually have a stringier side; simply "unzip" them open by pulling that string off. Place the beans in a bowl and discard the pods.

  3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add a generous amount of salt to make for very salty water, and blanch the beans for about 1 minute.

  4. Drain the fava beans and rinse with cold water to cool them off until they're cool enough to handle.

  5. Once easy to handle, squeeze each bean from the waxy whitish skin it's covered in. Remove the shells from all beans. Reserve the clean beans.

Cook the Fava Beans

  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the fava beans. Cook, stirring frequently, until the favas are tender, or about 3 minutes.

  2. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the fresh herbs if using and serve immediately.

  3. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead and Freeze

  • These beans are ideal for making ahead, and their texture won't suffer too much. Parboil and shell the beans up to a day before, but don't remove the waxy second skin until you are ready to sauté them.
  • If you have plenty of fava beans and want to prep and freeze for later use, simply parboil and shell all beans, pat dry, and place in freezer bags. Keep for up to six months.

How to Incorporate Fava Beans Into Other Dishes

Think of fava beans as a more meatier bean, with a lot of bite and firmer texture. Their sweet flavor goes well with plenty of other flavors. They can be a stand-alone dish or incorporated into other recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started. Once the beans are cooked and the skin is removed, you can:

  • Add them to quinoa, rice, farro, or barley and make a grain salad with any vinaigrette of your liking.
  • Mix them with pesto and make a pasta salad, adding cherry tomatoes, slices of peppers, and thinly sliced carrots and cucumbers.
  • Add them to your favorite hummus recipe instead of garbanzo beans.
  • Air-fry them at 300 F with a spritz of olive oil for 5 minutes. Shake the basket and fry for an extra 3 minutes or until crunchy.
  • Use sautéed fava beans from our recipe to top flatbreads. Add mascarpone to a flatbread or naan, top with sautéed fava beans, and add mixed fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh lime juice, and some sea salt to top.

Do fava beans make people sick?

Yes, but only if you have a condition known as favism, the result of a genetic disorder: G6PD deficiency. People with this condition lack an enzyme needed to digest the fava beans and, thus, the beans can't be decomposed in the digestive tract. Acute hemolytic anemia is the more present danger for people with this condition.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cooked Fave Beans, Unsalted. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture.

  2. La Vieille S, Lefebvre DE, Khalid AF, Decan MR, Godefroy S. Dietary restrictions for people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiencyNutr Rev. 2019;77(2):96-106. DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy053