Vegan Fava bean and vegetable tart: a poor, but nutrient-rich meal
Time: prep. 10 minuti
cook. 15-45 min
cool. at least 3 h
Yield: for 4 servings
If your intention is to include traditional foods in your diet, you will certainly need to find a place in your pantry for fava/broad beans.
They are among the first domesticated and cultivated legumes in the history of mankind, since the numerous archaeological evidence proves their existence already 6000 years B.C.; you can read about them in ancient books such as the Talmud and you can see them in Egyptian hieroglyphics and even in Roman mosaics.
According to the findings, fava beans originate from Asia Minor or the Anatolian region; however, in the following millenniums they have managed to integrate into the gastronomic culture of all countries facing the Mediterranean basin, to then reach more remote places, such as China or America.
It should also be said that their popularity is not only due to their good taste or availability throughout the year (thanks to the drying process); and not even because they are very rich in fundamental nutrients for human health, such as proteins (about 27%) and iron (6.7 mg/100 g); but especially because the Vicia faba plant is very resistant to frost and drought. Two climatic conditions that have been hitting our planet more and more frequently over recent years, putting the crops at risk.
Who knows if the “miraculous” broad beans will be able to save us from hunger even in the future!
But now let’s talk about this vegan fava bean and vegetable tart of great exterior beauty and interior quality: a perfect combination of proteins, vitamins, mineral salts, complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats; combined with an enveloping taste that surprises, without deluding: the confirmation of our roots and if you like, a reassurance for the future.
All this costs very little, without harming the environment and living beings.
for the base of the vegan fava bean and vegetable tart
300 g dried fava beans
1 medium onion
the juice of an orange (or if it’s not in season, put a teaspoon of grape molasses or similar in the juice of a lemon and don’t add extra lemon juice)
the juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes
8-10 pickled lupins washed and peeled
2 tablespoons of mungo bean sprouts
150 grams of cooked peas
150 grams of green beans cooked and cut in 2 or 3
2 tablespoons of olive oil
the juice of a lemon
fresh or dry dill leaves (optional but if you have it, use it because it matches perfectly) or parsley leaves
After washing carefully fava beans, soak them for at least 12 hours: I normally use to leave them in water for 24 hours, by renewing soaking water every 6-8 hours. At the end of the soaking phase, do not forget to wash fava beans one last time.
Why do we have to soak fava beans?
Dry beans, like all legumes, must be soaked for at least 12 hours before being cooked. This procedure serves not only to facilitate cooking by reducing the time, but also to decrease the concentration of substances called anti-nutrients, which inhibit the proper absorption of nutrients beneficial to the body, such as proteins or minerals. By applying a sufficient soaking and cooking time, these substances are denatured up to 100% (1). But you should know that even if we soak and cook them properly, fava beans are still a risk for people affected by favism
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Take a pressure cooker or a regular pot.
Pour in 2 tablespoons of oil and an onion roughly cut; once the onion is lightly browned, add the juice of an orange together with fava beans.
Immediately afterwards cover them with cold water. The amount of water is important so make sure that the beans are just covered (in the case of the pressure cooker); or if you are using a classic pot, bearing in mind the longer cooking time and consequently a greater evaporation, often monitor the water level: start with a sufficient amount to cover the beans of at least one-finger (one inch approx); you will probably have to add a few more ladles of hot water during cooking. At the end of cooking, about 15 minutes for the pressure cooker and 40-50 minutes for the normal pot, the beans should be soft almost like a puree, but not dense and dry as you see in the picture. Their final firmness will come with time and cold temperatures, keep calm. The important thing is not to see any water together with fava beans at the end of cooking: this would indicate an unsuitable result for the creation of the base of your vegan fava bean and vegetable tart.
In case the mixture is too watery, not everything is lost: you can remove excess water by filtering out the beans.
With an immersion blender turn them into a homogeneous puree. At this stage add the juice of half a lemon and salt, blend for the last time and pour the bean puree into a baking pan (preferably made of glass: remember that our bean puree is acidic due to the juice of citrus fruits, so we should avoid any contact with the metals present in the Teflon or other pans) washed but not dried. Yes, you got it right! The baking pan must remain wet so that the tart does not stick to the walls.
Once cooled to room temperature, put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Before serving, turn it upside down on a serving plate with the utmost care, and decorate it as you like.
In Turkey and Greece, fava beans prepared in this way are normally served, covered only with dill and spring onions, or with red onions.
They are eaten as a meze, (appetizer), so not as a main dish, but rather as a very rich and tasty side dish.
In my interpretation instead there are peas, cherry tomatoes, lupins, green beans, sprouts of mung beans (to see how you can make sprouts at home, click here) and parsley. This mix, in addition to delighting the eyes, is useful for creating a healthy, balanced, nutritious but also satiating meal.
Before serving, emulsify well the juice of a lemon with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; then pour it flush over the gorgeous vegan fava bean tart.
The addition of lemon, or vitamin C, is useful to absorb most of the non-heme iron: in other words, the inorganic iron present in the beans (2).
Personally I appreciate very much the acidulous flavors, but I understand that it may not be so for everyone. And since, as the motto of CHE Food Revolution teaches, “no one should be left behind”, I can suggest not to season your tart with lemon juice, but to ingest the necessary amount of Vitamin C, in the form of lemonade or home-made orangeade, during or after the meal: in this way you will not alter the final taste of your delicious vegan fava bean tart. I recommend you also bring some good bread to the table and if you like, a little bit of vegan cheese (or if you are not vegan some pecorino or feta would be very fine).
Enjoy your dinner and good revolution to everyone
(1) Jamalian, Jalal. “Removal of favism‐inducing factors vicine and convicine and the associated effects on the protein content and digestibility of fababeans (Vicia faba L).” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 79.13 (1999): 1909-1914.
(2) Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419