Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fava Bean Dip Recipe: Healthy Hummus Alternative




Ever since I discovered fava beans, I have become borderline obsessed. These spring season-celebrated pea pods  are light, hyper-packed with vitamins, and low in fat compared to other beans. They take no time to cook, and their slightly overcooked mushiness makes them a perfect candidate for nothing other than a dip! They are also relatively inexpensive, allowing you to stock up without splurging. Feed the masses or freeze them for future use.

After many trials with spices and flavors, I've locked in this top-ranking recipe, which highlights the bright and fresh flavor of the fava. Spoiler alert: The secret ingredient is FRESH MINT. And I forewarn, you may just give up chickpea hummus all together after whippin' this dip. (Gasp) Blasphemy!

For an intimate party portion, collect these components:
  • blender
  • uncooked split fava beans, 2 lbs
  • half of a large cucumber
  • fresh mint leaves, at least a healthy handful
  • garlic clove, 1 large or 2 small
  • red wine vinegar, to taste and consistency
  • large lemon, zest and juice
  • half a lime, zest and juice
  • ground black pepper, to taste

To cook your fava beans, you have the option of pre-soaking them in water, but it is not necessary. However it does cut down on their cooking time; the longer they soak, the less time they need to cook. I always soak mine overnight, drain and rinse, and cook in simmering water with the lid on for about 15 minutes. It is not a bad thing if your beans overcook. As a matter of fact, the mushier, the better! In this state, they are already half way to dip form. After your beans reach a soft texture in the pot, drain and rinse them with cold water. Allow the blending to begin.

As with any dip, you are trying to attain the perfect consistency: thick enough to stick to your cracker, but not so stiff that you get a pasty mouthfeel. This is where your judgement comes in, so start with half of your portion of fava beans and work your way up. Combine all the ingredients in the blender and continue to add your beans to thicken the dip. If you get bean happy and wind up needing to thin out the mixture, no problem. Just add a bit more red wine vinegar and a touch of water. Fixed.

Just make sure you are generous with the mint. It is, after all, the secret ingredient that makes this dip so unbelievably outstanding. There is no better herb to heighten the levity of the fava bean. And it gives it a beautiful hue of guacamole green!

My fava bean dip makes it feel like spring time any time of the year. Spread it on your morning toast, serve it alongside dippable veggies for your gathering guests, or even eat it by the spoonful and watch how quickly it disappears. (Trust me, I know.) So break out your blender and whip up a batch (or a barrel) - you will want a hefty reserve of this minty bean mash.