The Beauty of Byesar (Fava Bean Hummus)
One of my dietary goals over the past couple of years has been to incorporate more beans and legumes into my diet. (Not what you were expecting? Sure, getting into better physical shape is on the list, too—but also eating more beans and legumes).
Partly, it’s because I love them and somehow don’t think of them often enough when I’m standing in front of the fridge at 4:45 PM trying to decide what to cook for dinner (probably because most beans aren’t “instant” and that’s what I seem to need most days!). And partly, it’s because I know that increased bean and legume intake was crucial to the significant improvement in my osteopenia test results (I managed to increase my bone density over the space of 12 months without drugs of any kind).
One of my new “discoveries” in the world of beans is dried fava beans (also called broad beans when fresh). True, bright emerald, fresh favas are a wonder unto themselves, but the dried variety has its own charms. A single cup of fava beans is naturally gluten-free and contains 14 grams of protein (more than 1/2 cup cottage cheese), as well as 14% of your daily iron needs, 9 grams of fiber (38% of the daily requirement) and only one gram of fat—all for just 182 calories. And their smooth, buttery flavor is, to me, just as alluring.
Dried favas area a staple ingredient used in ful medames, a Middle Eastern spicy fava bean breakfast (and one of my favorite meals). But this fava bean hummus dip (called Byesar) is equally delicious, and a simpler twist on the classic chickpea variety. It’s so easy to make, it’s practically instant. So why not whip up some Byesar next time you’re looking for a quick, healthy, low fat dish? Getting in shape as a result—well, that’s just the bonus.
Have you tried an unusual dried bean or legume? What did you cook with it?
Other Gluten-Free Bean Recipes:
- Black Bean Burgers
- Silky Black Bean Fudge
- Chocolate Fudge
- Potato, Pepper, & Pinto Hash
- Quick & Easy Mexican Pizza
Byesar (Fava Bean Dip) adapted from Vegan Recipes
Unlike in chickpea hummus, the garlic here is cooked in liquid with the beans. Traditional byesar starts with dried beans, soaks them and then simmers with the garlic until cooked. My version speeds up the process to just 15 minutes by using canned beans.
Makes about 1-1/2 cups (360 mL)
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth or stock
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- one 19-ounce (540 ml) can small fava beans, drained and well rinsed (about 2 cups beans)
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt, or more, to your taste
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
- reserved liquid from cooking the beans (see instructions)
- extra cumin, cayenne, and bread, crackers, or cut vegetables, to serve, optional
- Combine broth and water in a medium pot with the beans and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to medium-low and boil gently another 5-10 minutes, until about half the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are very soft.
- Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the beans, garlic, cumin, salt and oil until smooth. Add a bit of the reserved cooking water if necessary to achieve desired texture. Sprinkle with more spices and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired before serving. Sprinkle with spices and serve with gluten-free bread or crackers for dipping (it tastes great while still warm, or can be served at room temperature). Byesar also makes a great filling for sandwiches or wraps. Makes about 1-1/2 cups (360 ml). Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
Ricki Heller is the blogger behind Diet, Dessert and Dogs and the author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar , recommended by Ellen DeGeneres on her website. Ricki’s second book, Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free, will be published in October, 2013. She lives near Toronto with her husband and two dogs. Find Ricki on Facebook, twitter, and Pinterest, too!
Read all of Ricki’s posts here.