Broad beans are actually related to the pea family so contain more protein than most vegetables. Some of their most creative uses are found in Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean cuisine, where the dried beans are also used. They have been an important staple in the human diet for thousands of years, with traces found in European Iron and Bronze Age settlements
Season: June-August, but best early in the season, before they get too chewy. Baby broad beans are also sold in freezer sections of food shops and are a cheap and useful staple
Nutritional benefits: broad beans are good sources of protein, fibre, vitamins A and C, potassium and iron. They also contain levodopa (L-dopa), a chemical the body uses to produce the 'happy chemical' dopamine.
Quick cook's tips:
- Lightly steam and serve with a little vegan marg and seasoning
- Add them to risottos, stews and (cooked) to salads
Cooking methods for broad beans:
How to prepare broad beans: They are sold fresh in long, slightly furry pods. Split the pods open and pop out the beans! If they are quite late in the season, the outer shells can be rather chewy, so remove shells to reveal the small, bright green inner bean - delicious. Steam/boil until tender.