Hand drawn image of Broad beans

Broad beans

Vicia faba

Big, fat, beautiful broad beans – a burst of greenery to brighten up your plate. When very young and fresh, they’re good raw in salads with shavings of parmesan. Also whizz with olive oil and garlic into a dip, toss into pasta dishes, risottos and or serve as a simple side.

Image of Broad beans being produced

In the kitchen


Broad beans keep well in their pods in the salad drawer at the bottom of the fridge. They should stay fresh for a week, even if the pods wilt a little.

Prep & Cooking tips

Podding beans has a meditative quality to it (for anything less than a kilo). If it is speed rather than enlightenment that you are after, then split the pile in half and race someone.

To get to the beans, split open the pod with your nail, as you would to pod peas. The smallest, youngest beans need only the outer pod removing before cooking. You could ‘double-pod’ larger ones; after boiling, refresh in cold water, then pinch off the skins to reveal the bright green beans inside. It isn’t essential (especially early in the season) but if you haven’t eaten broad beans like this before, they will be a revelation. You can compost the pods, or if they’re tender, boil and purée them.

Easy ideas

  1. Pod, blanch & skin Pod the beans and blanch lightly in salted boiling water for about 3 mins, cool immediately in cold water and take a little time to slip them from their skins to reveal the bright green heart. Scatter through any host of salads, toss into pasta dishes, risottos and stews, or eat on their own with a flash of olive oil and parmesan shavings.

  2. Mash & bash Take some beans as prepared above and mash or blend them into a rough paste. Thin with a little crème fraîche or mascarpone, season well with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. A fresh herb, like mint or tarragon, will bring it to a new level. Spread onto bruschetta or use as mezze dip.

  3. Slow cook Although coveted for their fresh verdant appearance, you can slow cook them with a little onion, garlic, wine and stock for an hour or so until soft, tender and dulled to a grey/green. You can even add the sliced pods to the pan if they are young and tender, too. Finish with chopped herbs and a little cured ham or chorizo for a Spanish feel.

Goes well with

Cheese (Feta, Goat’s cheese, Halloumi, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Pecorino, Ricotta)

Herbs (Dill, Mint, Rosemary)

Pork (Bacon, Chorizo, Pancetta, Prosciutto, Serrano ham, Roast pork)

Starches (Bulgur, Couscous, Gnocchi, Pasta, Potatoes, Rice)



Broad beans recipes

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In the field

  • Meet the grower: Riverford on Sacrewell Farm , Peterborough

    Sacrewell Farm is Riverford’s home in the East. We’ve been farming there since 2007; it was the first ‘sister’ farm to our original Devon HQ, Wash Farm.



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