Recipe/ Sides/ Vegetarian

Exquisite Fava Bean Pasta (& healthy to boot!)

I don’t like the word healthy. Most of you know that. So when deciding how to title this recipe I wasn’t sure I wanted to include that exact descriptor.

Why not “healthy”? Because healthy denotes images of skinny, low fat, low cal, low sodium, low carb, low low low low low…. (you should read that part out loud and make your voice go lower as you say it… It’s more fun that way).

Like less – or low – is better, somehow.

Fava Bean Pasta Recipe -

I’ll be honest, when it comes to this exquisite fava bean pasta, less is most certainly not better. We spend a lot of our adult lives trying to attain a “better” level of pretty much everything. Which invariably, manifests as “lower”.

I know that as a woman (note: not a lady because my friends, I am no lady) I struggle each and every day to resist the cultural pressure to be less. I should – another word I hate: “should” – be a lower body weight. I should eat lower amounts of butter and put lower amounts of cream in my coffee. I should use a lower voice. I should intake a lower level of alcohol. I should do less of the things I love – mainly, drinking wine and bourbon, eating fatty, calorie rich foods, and being active in public ways – and more of the things I’m told to.

Healthy is what pits the “skinny” girls against the “real” women. Because for some reason, and totally against 98% of the images and messages we receive from the media and police ourselves (and each other ) by, if you weigh less you’re somehow not a “real” woman. But be careful because if you’re too heavy, you need to be less fat. But if you’re too light, you have to be less light and more heavy. WTF are we supposed to do with THAT one?

If I believed everything I saw on TV or in movies or feel pressured by, I would be less loud. Less proud. I’d have less goals and less success. I’d have less male friends, less choices, less adventures, less physical strength, and less colour in my hair and on my nails. Less joy, less food, and less life.

In fact, I was told once by a person close to me (who will remain nameless) that if I wanted to get married some day, I’d have to be less outgoing and less independent or no man would want to be with me… Assuming it was in fact, a man I wanted.

Essentially, I’d have to be less me.

I’m 33 and still not married. And maybe this person was right – maybe if I want that then I should drop trou and put on a skirt, metaphorically speaking. Though FYI…. I rarely do actually wear pants. I like my skirts. A lot. But if I don’t get married, that’s okay. Because as a self identified feminist, a woman who believes she can do (almost) anything she wants (provided societal structures and resources and privilege allow), a woman with a loud fucking laugh that carries through a room and who says fuck a lot….. I like me. As is. Lumps, bumps, fucks, and strength and fun and joy and all.

Fava Bean Pasta Recipe -

What does this have to do with fava bean pasta? Not a lot, actually. Except that I worried about calling it “healthy” (I worried about it too when I titled Fresh & Healthy Veggie Tacos) because of all of those reasons above rolled into one word that triggers unhealthy habits, thoughts and actions in many of us. Man or woman or transgendered…. Healthy is a scary word.

Yes. It’s “healthy” in that it’s loaded with fresh, seasonal vegetables and the pasta is from scratch so it lacks any preservatives or stabilizers or what have you. The vegetables are grown by farmers who practice organic and permaculture principals and they’re all sourced from local producers. And eating it brings me pleasure which is good for the body, mind and spirit (if you believe in that kind of thing).

But mainly, more than healthy, it’s exquisite.

Exquisite Fava Bean Pasta




Yield 4 servings


  • 1.5 Lb Fava Beans
  • 2 Shallots, peeled & finely chopped.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, sliced.
  • 1/3 C Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • Pat of Butter.
  • Juice of 1 Lemon.
  • 1 Chili, thinly sliced.
  • Handful of Shaved Parmesan Cheese.
  • Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
  • 2 Big Handfuls of Linguine Noodles, homemade pasta or Scratch Slow Roasted Sweet Potato Pasta to serve.


  1. Prepare the fava beans. This does take a bit of time but it’s very easy. Snap off the top end of the bean and gently peel off the seam (like peas). Then gently wiggle your fingers inside to open the pod. Pop out the beans and discard the shells to the compost.
  2. Now here’s the time consuming part: the beans are tricky and have a second shell. You’ll need to bring a large pot of water to a boil, dump the beans in, boil for about 30 seconds to loosen the second casing and then immediately drain and run cold water over the beans to stop the cooking process and maintain the brilliant green color. Now you can carefully made a tear in the outer coating near the “bum” of the bean (when you see them you’ll know what I mean) and just gently pinch the bean out of it’s casing. Tada! Bright green broad beans! Again, discard the shell. Set beautiful beans aside.
  3. The rest is fairly quick and straight forward. Set a large deep frying pan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Once hot (but not smoking), add the shallot and garlic. Soften for a couple of minutes and add the fava beans and season with salt and pepper. Stir often and cook until beans are tender, about 7 minutes, followed by the fresh lemon juice.
  4. As the beans cook, set a medium to large sized pot full of water over high heat and bring to a boil. As it begins to roll, add enough salt that it tastes like sea water. Chuck in the pasta, stir and cook until el dente (3 to 4 minutes for fresh pasta, 6-7 for dried). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid and throw the pasta in with the veggies. Mix in the pat of butter and toss to coat. If it feels very dry, add a Tbsp or 3 of the pasta water in with the mix.
  5. Dish up on individual plates or pour the whole lot into a giant bowl. Top with Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of really good olive oil if you have it, and serve with pepper on the side.
  6. Eat.


How do you feel about the word “healthy”? Do you ever feel the need to be “less”? How about to be “more”? Ever have the pleasure of shelling fava beans?

Other great Fava Bean Recipes:

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  • Tara @ Rovin' Rambler
    July 7, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    I really enjoyed this post (by the way- I’m semi-new to your blog, so hi!). I really hate the distinction between “skinny” women and “real” women- like it’s one or the other. And like you said, you can’t be too much of either one. Ugh. I don’t really have too many comments because you perfectly articulated my thoughts on this subject.

    Also, I could not help thinking of Hannibal Lector when I read the title of this recipe. I’m sure a nice Chianti would go wonderfully with this fresh, exquisite pasta!

    • Kristy Gardner
      July 7, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Hey Tara! It’s great to have you as part of the community! Can I ask how you found my little corner of the blogosphere?

      Thanks so much for your kind words about my post. I’m glad it resonated with you. To be totally honest, it was a very difficult one to publish. Luckily, I’ve always felt pretty confident in myself and my abilities but there’s always those insecurities that pop up from time to time and I’m happy to hear I’m not alone 🙂

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA….. pht pht pht pht pht pht (I’m making the Hannibal sound but it doesn’t quite translate 😉 )

      Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to comment – I hope to see you around more! xo!

      • Tara @ Rovin' Rambler
        July 7, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Hi Kristy! I found you on Bloglovin, but I believe you went on hiatus shortly after I did…glad to see you’re back!

  • Lisa
    July 7, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    What a great post (and a fava bean recipe to boot!) I don’t shy away from the word “healthy” because I’m not scared of it, and don’t feel like it makes anything “less” but instead makes things better. I don’t buy into the “light” and “fat-free” labelling in grocery stores, but put more veggies on my plate? Go for it! I am growing my own fava beans this year, and I’ve shelled and eaten a few raw so far (or crushed them in the pestle & mortar and combined them with EVOO and parmesan to make a paste). I am going to have a big picking session later this week though, as they are so heavy with beans that they are starting to fall over. 🙂

    • Kristy Gardner
      July 7, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Aw thanks Lisa!! I think you’re probably right – it’s all about reclaiming the word and making it mean something that ACTUALLY means something to us, right?

      I’m so glad to hear you don’t buy low-fat, cal, etc… They’re such scary products! It’s like, if they take the fat out, they have to replace it with something… WHAT are they replacing it with?! Gross man! More veggies though = good so I’m with you on that one too!

      PS. I’m so excited for your garden!!! Growing fava beans makes so much more sense than buying them because most of what you buy gets tossed in the compost so it almost seems like a waste of money. haha… Let me know how they work out for you! What will you do with pickled fava beans…???

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    July 7, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    I like you just the way you are. In fact, if I wasn’t already spoken for, I’d marry you.

    I also think instead of avoiding using the “healthy” word we need to change the way people think about it, and this pasta does that by the way. I think it’s healthy and deliciously decadent all at the same time. Amen to fresh pasta. You rock.

    • Kristy Gardner
      July 7, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      Aw, thanks girl!!! If you ever get divorced, I’m available. haha 😉

      I agree I think with you and Lisa – we need to reclaim the word and make it into something meaningful instead of scary. Feminists have been doing it for years and I find it empowering in that sense. So why not with the word healthy?? Love your thoughts my friend!!

      You rock too. PS. I was at the gym this AM and I was sweating like a pig and I should have took a photo but didn’t but I was hashtagging #SweatyBitchesRock in my head 😉 xoxoxo! You’re an inspiration!

  • Lindsey @HalfDimeHomestead
    July 9, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    I’m gonna try this! And not because it’s healthy, but because I have an unnatural fear of fava beans and I need to get over that fear, pronto.

    But if I see a bottle of chianti hovering in my periphery, I’m beatin’ an egg out of there.

    • Kristy Gardner
      July 10, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      hahahahaha Fair enough Lindsey. I think you’ll probs be okay – once you get over the unnatural fear of fava beans, you’ll love ’em!!

      PS. Lock up the red wine in advance, just to be sure. I’m talkin bolt and chain locks. 😉