Egyptian Fava Bean Soup (Ful Nabed)

fool nabed ful Egyptian fava bean soupHere’s a delightful recipe for fava bean soup. Dried fava beans aren’t so easy to find, so when I do run across them I like to try different ways to use them. The ones I’ve been seeing lately come from Bob’s Red Mill, but I do occasionally see them in the bulk bins as well.

Fava beans are spelled many ways, so you might run across this as ful, foul, fool, or who knows what else. What’s important here is how it tastes.

To be fair, there is a specific type of Egyptian split fava bean that is the “ful” and it seems a bit different than what’s available. I believe it’s smaller and by my guess has a slightly milder and more tender texture. But I can’t compare the taste because I’ve never had it.

The standard fava beans available here certainly are delicious enough for any American palate, although they may not quite pass muster at the Egyptian embassy!

I was quite skeptical of this soup to start. It seemed bland and unpromising. But it all really meshed in the end and produced a very different and admirable soup. I hope you’ll think about this recipe the next time you locate some dried favas. And why not get some extra for Egyptian-style falafel, too?

fava beans

Egyptian Fava Bean Soup (Ful Nabed)
1 1/2 cups dried fava beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash cayenne pepper
black pepper, to taste

Place the favas in a large saucepan. Cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and cooking 45 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking water.

Place the fava beans back in the large saucepan. Cover with 6 cups of the reserved cooking water, adding more water to make up the difference if needed. Cover partially and simmer 45 minutes.

Carefully pour the soup into the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth and return to the saucepan. Place back on heat, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Add water to thin if desired.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with black pepper. Serve with warm pita triangles.

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