This is the first year in forever that I didn’t plant broad beans (you might know them as fava beans), and it is also the first year that I have come up with a broad bean recipe that my kids will not only eat, but hey love it!
Thankfully my mother-in-law did plant some broad beans, and has been kindly sharing her harvest with us so that we can make delicious tomato and broad bean pasta.
I know broad beans might seem a little fiddly sine you have to pod them, then blanch them, then peel them again, but they are so good for you, and good for the garden. You don’t need a lot for this recipe, and once you get the hang of it you can blanch the broad beans while you chop the herbs and then peel them straight into the sauce and you’re done.
- A splash of live oil.
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced.
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes (400 gm)
- 2-4 tbsp tomato pasata or 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
- A small bunch of spinach, silver beat or other greens, washed and chopped.
- A few handfuls of fresh broad beans (fava beans) in their pods
- A big bunch of mixed herbs, – basil, rosemary, thyme, chives etc – finely chopped
- In a medium sized saucepan heat the olive oil and add the garlic and onions. Cook over a medium heat until they just begin to brown.
- Add the can of tomatoes, the pasata, and the chopped greens and cook gently over a low heat while you work on the broad beans.
- In another smaller saucepan bring some water to the boil. Pod your broad beans and when the water is boiling, tip all the beans into the pot. Watch them for a minute and as soon as the water comes back to the boil take them off the heat, strain them, and dump them into some cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Peel each bean by making a slit with your finger nail in the top where the little tail part is, then simply squeeze the beans out of the shell and into the pasta sauce.
- Add the herbs and cook for a few more minutes.
- Serve over bowls of warm pasta with lots of cheese and crusty bread.
This recipe is one of those where you can vary the ingredients depending on what you’ve got. We added spinach and silver beat as that is what is growing in our garden, but you could add kale or frozen spinach, or switch it for grated carrot of zucchini or whatever veggie your kids love. The same goes for the herbs, use whatever combo you have on hand, fresh, dried or frozen.
Truth be told you can even leave the broad beans out of this recipe and just make it a herb and tomato sauce, but those broad beans are so good for you, full of protein and folate, and they are fun and easy to grow so worth a little effort!
For more information about how to grow broad beans and step by step instructions and photos showing how to prepare them check out this post featuring Niçoise Pasta Salad with Broad Beans.