Fava Bean, Almond, and Mint Pesto


Ingredients (Makes about 1 1/2 cups):
1 cup Fava beans, shelled, blanched, and shelled again, from about 18 - 20 pods
1/4 - 1/3 cup Fresh mint, leaves only, loosely packed
2 tablespoons Raw almonds, plus more for garnish, if desired
¼ cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
Lemon, zest of 1 and juice of 1/2, or more if it is not a particularly juicy one
½ teaspoon Sea salt
½ teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon Crushed red pepper
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Filtered water


Place all ingredients in a mini food processor. Blend for two minutes or until pesto has reached a smooth, creamy texture. If the pesto is too thick, add an additional teaspoon or two of water. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with additional crushed almonds, and serve with whole wheat pita chips, crudites, or your favorite cracker.
Notes: This dish is naturally vegetarian and gluten-free. Those with nut allergies can substitute sunflower seeds for the almonds. This fava bean, almond, and mint pesto can be made up to three days ahead when kept properly refrigerated (if making in advance, be sure you have plenty of willpower, or make a double batch for yourself).




I think this is one of the best things I've ever made. It tastes amazing, comes together in less than ten minutes, and the exotic name makes it the perfect dish to show off at your next picnic. I created this recipe after receiving some fava beans from Alicia with the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture (http://www.kccua.org/). I volunteered to create fresh, seasonal recipes that they could send out with their CSA baskets. I am now very nervous, this recipe will definitely be hard to top! Fava beans are one of those foods that I have always been interested in, but have never cooked with. I was intimidated by the whole "blanching" and "double shelling" aspect. I did some sleuthing and noticed that every recipe using fava beans included mint. Some used lemon, and some used cheese, but they were almost all some sort of puree. I decided to create a pesto. Instead of the traditional pine nuts, I decided I wanted to use some raw almonds (not sure why, but it worked). I also threw in a pinch of crushed red pepper to add an underlying essence of heat. Let me tell you, the results were awesome. I had planned on trying it with pasta (thinned with a couple tablespoons of the cooking water), or stirring it into a risotto. However, Darren, the girls, and I downed the entire batch within 30 minutes of him getting home from work. (Oops!) I sure hope we can get more! My fava bean and mint pesto is also a great recipe to involve your kids in. Annie loved helping me shell the beans, measuring out the ingredients, and pressing the button on the mini food processor. It was so sweet to see how proud she was when Daddy couldn't stop raving about "her" dip. Hurray for another great way to get your kids excited about eating and creating healthy, flavorful food!


2.0 servings


Friday, June 18, 2010 - 5:00pm


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