Fava Bean Sauté with Marjoram and Feta

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

This recipe celebrates the spring fava bean harvest by using ingredients that enhance but do not mask the fresh, nutty flavor and buttery texture of the legume. Feta cheese adds a bright tanginess; both shallot and lemon zest contribute a pleasing zip; and marjoram’s mellow, floral hints bring all the elements together.


  • 2 lb. fava beans in the pods
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 oz. feta cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl two-thirds full with ice water. Remove the fava beans from the pods; discard the pods.

Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into the ice water. When the beans are cool enough to handle, slip off the tough outer skins by pinching one end of the beans. Place the shelled beans in a bowl and pat dry.

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and a pinch of salt and sauté until the shallot is soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fava beans and another pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the marjoram and sauté until the beans are just tender, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the heat. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the beans and stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer the beans to a warmed serving dish and crumble the cheese over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).

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