Beluga Lentils + Fava Bean Puree



Sometimes I go to the grocery store with a specific grocery list based on recipes that I’d like to make that week. And sometimes, well, honestly I’m just not the organized and I wing it. Last week, I went to Central Market here in Houston which is a specialty store run by the Texas chain HEB and I winged it.  Central Market is a foodie paradise. You want it, they’ve got it. Didn’t know you wanted it, they’ve got it!

On this day, the store was featuring all things Italian. They had a special produce section with the most interesting and unusual vegetables. And when I spotted the fava beans, my heart skipped a beat. No lie. Fresh fava beans are something you rarely see in a grocery store. If you are lucky, you can find them in the late spring at a good farmers market.


I’ll tell you right now, they are a little bit of work. But the work is fun and the results are so rewarding. First you remove the beans from the pod. I love doing this. To me it’s like opening a present and finding treasure. I like the way the inside of the pods feel, kind of squishy.


Once the beans are removed, you steam them so you can remove the outer layer. Yes, you shell them from the pod, steam and then shell the edible bean from its outer covering. It’s not like opening a can of beans and you are good to go. There are a few steps required here.


Now you have this amazing little green fava bean. Then I cooked them with some olive oil, water and salt, getting my inspiration from Alice Waters, the Berkley chef who pioneered farm to table cooking. Once the beans are cooked tender, but not mushy I pureed them in the food processor with some basil olive oil. That’s it.

I happened to have some Beluga lentils in my pantry. I know…you should see my pantry! Anyway, I thought they would go well with the fava bean puree. Beluga lentils are small beautiful black beans that resemble Beluga caviar when cooked. And they are tasty too.


The preparation for this is super easy. I sauteed some cipollini onions (any sweet onion would be fine) and garlic in some olive oil. Then I added the lentils and water. Boom. That’s basically it with some additional seasonings.


I served the lentils over the fava bean puree with an assortment of grilled vegetables and bread. I like to spoon some of the mixture on the grilled bread. Heaven. Too die for. Amazing. Oh my.

Beluga Lentils + Fava Bean Puree

Serves 4

1 cup Beluga lentils, rinsed and picked over

4 cups water

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup cipollini onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper or to taste

2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Fava Bean Puree (see recipe below)

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook onion and garlic about 5 minutes until softened but not brown. Add lentils and cook about 2 minutes stirring to coat with oil. Add water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook 30 minutes or until tender. Drain any excess liquid and transfer to a bowl. Add additional olive oil if needed and fresh basil. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Fava Bean Puree

2 pounds fava beans, shelled

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup water

2-4 Tbsp basil infused olive oil

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Steam shelled fava beans until outer layer begins to wrinkle, about 10 minutes. Transfer beans to a bowl and remove outer layer. It’s easiest to make a small opening in the layer and pop the beans out of the skin.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add beans. Cook for about 2-5 minutes, then add water. Cook another 10-15 minutes until water evaporates and beans are tender. Add more water if needed.

Transfer beans to food processor and puree. Add basil olive oil and process until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve Beluga lentils over the fava bean puree. Can be spread on grilled bread or toast.


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