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Azores Festival Fava Bean Appetizer (favas para petisco)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
These fava beans are so tasty. They're one of the most commonly served treats at festivals and dances on the Island of Pico in the Azores. A perfect snack.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Azores, Portugal
Servings: 6 to 8 small appetizers
Author: Nelson Cardoso
  • 1.1 lbs or 1/2 kg dried fava beans (see notes below)
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large cooking onion, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes (or more if you want more kick)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, fine
  1. Soak the fava beans for 2 days. To do this, place the dried fava beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Change the water every 12 to 14 hours. Ensure the fava beans are covered with water during the entire process. Note: these will expand quite a bit, so make sure your bowl has a bit of extra space.

  2. Discard the soaking water and place the dried fava beans in a large pot and cover them with water (I used about 8 cups of water).

  3. Add the coarse sea salt and cinnamon stick. Set the heat to medium high.

  4. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the fava beans are very tender.

  5. While the fava beans are simmering, add half of the olive oil to a medium frying pan and heat it on medium.

  6. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic.

  7. Sauté until the onions look translucent.Add the rest of the oil, tomato paste, ground cinnamon, hot pepper flakes and salt. Mix well, cook for another two minutes and remove the pan off the heat.

  8. Once the fava beans are fully cooked, drain the water from the pot into a medium bowl.

  9. Let the liquid settle for a bit until the water on top is mostly clear. Use a ladle to remove most of the clear water from the top. 

  10. Using a ladle again, scoop out the left over thicker water on the bottom and pour about 1 cup over the onion mixture. Mix well.

  11. Add the onion mixture over the fava beans in the pot and stir until the fava beans are all coated.

  12. Transfer the finished fava beans to a deep serving dish and cover with a lid. Place a blanket over the serving dish to keep it warm and let it sit for about 1/2 hour to soak in the flavours.

  13. Serve these hot, warm or cold. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes
  • The finished fava beans can be made ahead of time to be served the next day or even frozen. Simply microwave or slowly heat them up in a pot with with 1/4 cup of water before serving.
  • Cooking time doesn't include the fava bean soaking time or the resting time after the dish is ready.
  • Although I prefer the dried fava beans we used, you can also use canned fava beans if you're in a rush. In this case, you don't need to soak them. Simply discard the water from the cans, cover them in water in the pot, bring them to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Shut off the heat and follow the remaining steps in the recipe.