Jun 14, 2014

spinach pesto with fava beans and potatoes bowl

I've recently been on this kick of making food in a bowl. Robin Robertson has a whole chapter on bowl dishes in her new cookbook More Quick-Fix Vegan, and I know that a lot of people enjoy eating a great meal with all the components in one big bowl.

I designed this bowl of food around my produce box, hence it is seasonal and, as an added bonus, I got to use some unique ingredients that somehow always seems to find its way into my box.

Last week I received fennel, more new potatoes and fresh fava beans. Fava beans are incredibly delicious, if you ever have the opportunity to find them fresh. However, they are truly a labor of love, as the beans need to be shelled, quickly blanched and then peeled of their tough outer skin. Once the beans are blanched, the tough outer skin can be easy pierced and the delectable beans popped out of their skin.

Fava beans are buttery and creamy and I fell completely in love with them with the very first bite.

The potatoes are roasted with the fennel, which adds a wonderful light anise flavor and the ingredients are then tossed with an easy-to-make nontraditional pesto.

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of each serving to cut through the richness of the potatoes and fava beans and enjoy! I served ours with some toasted French bread.

Spinach Pesto with Fava Beans and Potatoes Bowl   
Serves 4

6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
5 tablespoons vegetable broth, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 pounds small new potatoes, halved
2 small fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled (about 2 cups)
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 ounce fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon neutral oil
Lemon wedges, garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F. Combine 4 minced garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons olive oil  and salt and black pepper, to taste, in a small personal blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Mix the potatoes, fennel slices and garlic-mixture in a medium bowl. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet. Bake until tender and golden, about 30 minutes.
3. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil over medium heat. Add the shelled fava beans and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the cooked beans to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a separate bowl. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute.Transfer to the bowl of ice water to cool. Drain the spinach and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer the spinach to a food processor and set aside.
4. Peel the blanched fava beans. Each bean is encased in a tough outer-skin that needs to be removed.
5. Add the basil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons vegetable broth and salt and black pepper to the food processor with the spinach. Process until smooth as possible and set the pesto aside.
6. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the peeled fava beans and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the roasted potatoes and pesto. Mix well to combine and cook to reheat the potatoes and pesto, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve the potatoes and beans with lemon wedges.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


  1. That sounds amazing! I love fava beans, looks like a great way to prepare them! :)

    1. Thank you, June! I love those fava beans, too!!


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