Delicious Fresh Fava Beans with pods: Levodopa rich, Turkish recipe
Time: prep. 5-7 mins
cook. 7-15 mins
Difficulty: very easy
Yields: 2 portions
In Italy raw fresh fava beans are traditionally welcome on Easter lunches. To tell the truth I have seen them eaten raw only there, in fact in my country, Turkiye, this custom does not exist; however using only the very young ones we prepare a really tasty and extremely easy dish: a side dish of fresh fava beans with pods to be served with yogurt.
If you happened to have to shell the fava beans in a certain quantity, surely you would be inclined to buy them already shelled, fresh or frozen, no matter what the cost!
And that’s why you’ll love this recipe: as long as you find them young, you won’t have to spend precious time getting a small bowl of fava beans from a huge bag of fresh ones. Just wash them, trim the ends, remove (if necessary) the lateral filament and that’s it, they are ready to be cooked.
Besides, you know by now, if CHE Food Revolution wants to recommend a recipe, it’s never just because it’s good or practical; it must be more than that!
In fact, broad beans, as I had mentioned in this article, are very ancient, probably one of the first domesticated legumes in human history; definitely sustainable (they resist frost and drought) and very rich in nutrients: fresh broad beans, I mean the beans you usually eat, have a significant amount of vitamin C, folic acid, iron, magnesium; and on 100 grams contain 5-6 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Thanks to the proposed recipe, precisely because of the presence of the pods, you will also ensure potassium, zinc, copper, selenium, magnesium and many other vitamins.
In addition, fava beans are rich in levodopa (L-DOPA), a compound that the body is able to convert into the neurotransmitter dopamine (1). This places fava beans in a position of remarkable nutraceutical properties. As in the case of the treatment for Parkinson’s disease: which affects the brain cells responsible for the production of dopamine causing tremors, difficulty in walking and movement in general; and in modern medicine the symptoms of this difficult disease are treated through medicines containing L-dopa, as mentioned before found also in broad beans. Continuous research makes us understand that the use of levodopa derived from fava beans, gives to patients (especially those with light to medium symptoms) a more efficient and longer lasting relief than that obtained through synthetic drugs (2, 3, 4, 5).
Moreover, dopamine is also essential in numerous physiological processes: it improves mood, drives, movement, even sexuality!
And hear hear, by consuming whole fava beans as in this side dish of fresh fava beans with pods, you will get a higher amount of L-DOPA: as it is detected more in the skins and seeds of young fava beans, than in dried ones.
Ingredients for fresh fava beans with pods recipe
500 g of young fresh fava beans (better if the ones with an elongated shape)
50 ml of water for cooking (if you are not using a pressure cooker, you will need to double the amount)
1 tablespoon of evo oil
salt to taste
3-4 tablespoons of thick yogurt (to learn how to make it at home click here)
1-2 tablespoons of dill (it fits really good: omit only if you can not find it)
some people also add grated garlic: I confess that together the flavor is delicious, however it is not recommended if you plan to socialize with others…
I wasn’t kidding, this side dish of fresh fava beans with pods is really very easy to prepare.
Wash them, trim the ends, remove if necessary the lateral filament; some pods will probably be riper than others, in this case use only the beans: those with too hard skins are better thrown away.
In a pressure cooker (or a normal pot with a heavy bottom) heat the oil and brown the diced onions. Add the fava beans together with the water and cover with the lid, it’s better to add the salt at the end.
The side dish of fresh fava beans with pods will be ready after 4 minutes from the whistle (pressure cooker) or after 10-12 minutes (regular pot).
Season with salt and serve hot or cold garnished with dill-flavored yogurt.
This soft and fresh side dish is perfect to accompany an Italian chickpea flatbread, or quinoa patties. Together with a slice of whole wheat bread (better if homemade with organic, stone-ground flours) it offers a mind-blowing taste, as well as all the nutrients your body needs, while being sustainable and without spending a big amount of money: a perfect example of the CHEtarian diet.
Enjoy your meal and good revolutions to all
1) Mehran S M, Mohseni, and Golshani B. “Simultaneous determination of levodopa and carbidopa from fava bean, green peas and green beans by high performance liquid gas chromatography.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR vol. 7,6 (2013): 1004-7. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/5415.3072
2) Rabey JM, Vered Y, Shabtai H, Graff E, Korczyn AD. Improvement of parkinsonian features correlate with high plasma levodopa values after broad bean (Vicia faba) consumption. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1992 Aug;55(8):725-7. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.55.8.725. PMID: 1527547; PMCID: PMC489215.
3) Rabey JM, Vered Y, Shabtai H, Graff E, Harsat A, Korczyn AD. Broad bean (Vicia faba) consumption and Parkinson’s disease. Adv Neurol. 1993;60:681-4. PMID: 8420210.
4) Apaydin H, Ertan S, Ozekmekçi S. Broad bean (Vicia faba)–a natural source of L-dopa–prolongs “on” periods in patients with Parkinson’s disease who have “on-off” fluctuations. Mov Disord. 2000 Jan;15(1):164-6. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(200001)15:1<164::aid-mds1028>3.0.co;2-e. PMID: 10634260.
5) Ramírez-Moreno JM, Salguero Bodes I, Romaskevych O, Duran-Herrera MC. Broad bean (Vicia faba) consumption and Parkinson’s disease: a natural source of L-dopa to consider. Neurologia. 2015 Jul-Aug;30(6):375-6. English, Spanish. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2013.08.006. Epub 2013 Dec 12. PMID: 24332774.