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When you are about to cook one of your favorite bean recipes and it called for fava beans (also known as broad beans), and you realize you are out! It can be daunting to find the perfect substitute for fava beans because let’s face it, there are unique and awesome beans! I know from experience that fava beans are not always easy to find. Especially fresh ones. We usually freeze our fresh beans and use them throughout the year. This is because I’m super lucky and have uncles who grow them! But sometimes you just run out of your fava stash.
Finding a great replacement is crucial to get the best taste possible from your recipe. So, here at The Substitute Foodie, we will help you out. Whether looking for dried or fresh fava bean substitutions, we’ve got you covered!
In this blog post, we will explore what options are available and go over some key tips for identifying the best substitutes so that you can continue making all of your favorite recipes with ease and confidence.
What Do Fresh Fava Beans Taste Like?
Fresh fava beans have a distinct taste that is both earthy and nutty. These delicious legumes are known for their high protein content and nutritive benefits, but they can also add unique flavor to any meal.
Fava beans have a mild sweetness, with hints of artichoke or grassy notes that deepen in flavor when cooked. They are most often associated with Mediterranean-style dishes such as risotto or pasta. Out of all the beans, fresh fava beans are one of my favorites. I grew up eating them and love them to this day. They are a real treat!
What Do Dry Fava Beans Taste Like?
Dry fava beans have a nutty flavor with undertones of sweet green peas. The outer coating of the beans has a crunchy or chewy texture, while the interior inside is soft and creamy. When cooked, they produce a hearty and savory meal with a subtle aroma. Great for stress and hearty dishes.
They are easy to prepare and contain high amounts of protein and dietary fiber, making them a healthy bean to add to your diet, plus delicious!
Fresh Fava Bean Substitutes
All these fresh fava bean substitutes can be used at a 1-to-1 ratio if it calls for shelled and peeled fresh fava.
Edamame is a type of green soybean. It has a similar flavor to fava beans but with added nuttiness and sweetness.
Fresh edamame beans are usually harvested before their full maturity, meaning the pods still retain their crunchy texture, following steaming or boiling and served with a sprinkle of salt. The highly versatile dish can be tossed in pasta, added to salads for extra crunch, boiled as part of a soup, or steamed on its own – making it an excellent choice for replacing fava beans.
Fresh Baby Lima Beans
Baby lima beans are a great substitute for fresh fava beans. Though they have a slightly different flavor profile (slightly sweet and nutty), their texture is similar to that of fava beans when cooked.
They are usually harvested before maturity, but if you can find the mature ones, then the skin can be removed for a softer texture. Baby lima beans can be added to soups and stews, tossed into salads and pasta dishes, or boiled or steamed on their own.
Sugar Snap Peas
Another great substitution for fresh fava beans is sugar snap peas. They have a slightly sweet and crunchy flavor with a delicate texture.
Unlike fresh fava beans, they don’t need to be shelled or peeled before cooking. Simply rinse them off and add them to your dish of choice. Sugar snap peas can be served as a side, stir-fried with other vegetables, or added to salads for a pop of flavor.
Also, it’s a lot easier to find sugar snap peas at your local grocery store.
Dried Fava Bean Substitutes
As for dried fava bean substitutes can be used at a 1-to-1 ratio after they are cooked. These all work great for stews or soup recipes. But please remember that each bean has a different cooking time, especially if you decide to pre-soak your beans.
Chickpeas are a great substitute for dried fava beans. They have a slightly nutty taste and creamy texture that is similar to fava beans!
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or ceci beans (that’s what we call them at home!). They are a type of legume native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. They come in both green and yellow varieties and have a nutty flavor. They work great for a lot of Italian recipes!
Red Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans are a great substitute for dried fava beans. They have a nutty flavor and creamy texture, similar to fava beans.
Red Kidney Beans, also known as common beans, are native to Central and South America. They have a red-brown coloration and are larger than other types of beans with a kidney shape. Rich in protein, fiber, and iron, these plants are a tasty addition to meals, especially when cooked with chili peppers or spices.
Cannellini is one of my favorite beans for soups. They are mild and creamy, making them a great alternative to dried fava beans.
These beans are native to Italy. They tend to have a nutty flavor that makes them a great addition to soups and stews. To top it off, they are high in fiber, protein, iron, and other essential nutrients! It’s a win-win with cannellini!
My Final Thoughts On Substitutes for Fava Beans
I hope you enjoyed this post on fava bean substitutes. Now that you know some of the best replacements for fresh and dried fava beans, you can continue to cook all your favorite recipes without worrying about finding these specific beans.
I recommend trying out edamame, fresh baby lima beans, sugar snap peas to replace fresh fava beans and chickpeas, red kidney beans, or cannellini when you need a dried version. Just remember, when doing swaps like this, you need to consider that different beans have different cooking times. Once you have that squared away, you are good to go, my friend! Happy Cooking!