Fava Bean Soup with Lentils is a perfect way to incorporate more meatless meals during Lent. This is also a wonderful meal for vegetarians, to serve on Meatless Monday or any time you want to to offer a meatless meal. Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are earthy and hearty. They are very healthy with lots of dietary fiber and lean protein, have no saturated fat or cholesterol and contain a high concentration of vitamin B-6, potassium, and magnesium. They are a substantial bean, and a great substitute for meat.
The fava beans are simmered in a rich vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, more veggies and loads of garlic. The addition of baby green lentils adds texture and helps to thicken the soup. If you have a parmesan rind, this a great time to use it. If inclined, this is also a great soup to add some red wine for extra flavor. Serve Fava Bean Soup with a crusty bread and a salad for the perfect Vegetarian lunch or dinner.
This recipe for Fava Bean Soup uses canned fava beans. Fresh fava beans are hard to find when out of season, and need some time to properly shell. Canned fava beans must also be shelled before cooking but they are much easier to do since they are already softened. It is easy to pinch and squeeze the bean out its shell.
If you find fresh fava beans, my Fresh Fava Beans and Peas with Mint, Basil and Lemon Ricotta on Crostini on is another great recipe to serve during Lent.
Fava Bean Soup with Lentils
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 large whole onion diced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound dry baby green lentils
- 3 carrots finely diced
- 3 stalks celery finely diced
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup Chianti wine optional
- 2 cups water as needed to cover
- 3 14 ounce cans fava beans
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Parmesan rind optional if you have one
Drain, rinse and shell the canned fava beans. Pinch the end and squeeze out the bean. Toss the skins.
In a large dutch oven on the the stove, add the olive oil, red & black peppers, garlic, onion and saute until translucent. Add the carrot, celery, thyme and cook for another 10 minutes until the onion starts to caramelize.
Add the tomato paste and mix until incorporated.
Stir in lentils, vegetable stock, tomatoes,wine (if using), oregano, and bay leaf. Add more water to cover all the ingredients if needed. Bring to a slow boil.
Cover and simmer 30 minutes, sitting occasionally. Add the fava beans and more water if needed to the desired thinness or thickness of the broth. Add the parmesan rind if you have it. Cook another 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the fava beans warmed through. Toss out bay leaf before serving.
Serve with toasted garlic bread and grated parmesan cheese.