Fava Bean Couscous

Fava beans turn an ordinary couscous into a high-protein, vegan lover's dream

Credit: Christina Symons

This fava bean couscous – made with lemon, olive oil, and pepper – is simply delicious

Fava Bean inspiration from The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook

If you haven’t planted your fava beans yet, it’s time to get to it! If you’re not sure if fava beans are for you, there are six great reasons why you should add these easy-grow edibles to your garden (and that’s just scratching the surface).

Delicious in many recipes, such as Carolyn Herriot’s Fava Bean Couscous (see below), these beans are extremely high in protein, making them a fantastic addition to a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Properly cooked, they are “melt-in-the-mouth” delicious, according to Carolyn, who is the author of the newly released The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes for Delicious Homegrown Food.

Centred on simple yet superb plant-based meals that reflect the season, The Zero-Mile Cookbook features more than 160 recipes, including Homemade Pasta with Camille’s Nettle Pesto, Zucchini Ribbons with Rice, Beet Hummus, Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves, Creamy Parsnip and Apple Soup, Crispy Kale Chips, and more.

Back to those fava beans, Carolyn is happy to share with us what she says is probably the favourite dinner pick of her husband, Guy. I know I’ll be giving it a try once my own fast-growing fava beans start producing this summer!

Fava Bean Couscous from The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook

My husband, Guy, goes nuts for fresh favas (broad beans) from the summer garden. Fava beans are delicious when steamed and served with olive oil, lemon and salt. They also make a wonderful addition to pasta and grains, as in this tasty recipe.

Freeze fresh (unshelled) beans on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag or container so that you can enjoy succulent buttery beans anytime.


  • 1½ lb (700 gr) fresh fava bean pods
  • 1¼ cup (300 mL) water
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Israeli couscous*
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced


  1. To extract the beans from their skins, **  bring a medium pot of water to the boil and boil the beans for two minutes until the skins have loosened.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans into an ice water bath, reserving the cooking water in the pot.
  3. Pierce each fava and squeeze the inner green bean out, discarding the skin into the compost. Set aside.
  4. Add the couscous to the pot. Bring the bean water back to the boil. Turn off the heat, add a lid and leave the couscous to soak for 15 minutes. (Drain off extra liquid if necessary.)
  5. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and sauté the shallot with the salt and black pepper, stirring frequently until golden brown, about five minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat, add the prepared fava beans and sauté until they are tender, about a minute (longer if the beans are still in their skins, or frozen).
  7. Add the couscous and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  8. Serve garnished with the mint and zest.

Makes four servings as a main course, six as a side dish

* Israeli couscous is pearl-shaped, lightly toasted pasta. If it isn’t available, try
substituting orzo pasta—just cook according to package directions.

** This recipe includes a step to skin the beans, as the slightly chewy skins detract
from the buttery nature of the inner bean. However, when in a hurry for dinner, we are
happy to eat fresh beans skin and all!