Fava Bean Spread with Mint & Preserved Lemon

by Tara Bellucci on May 24, 2012

in All Recipes, Appetizers, Massachusetts, Vegetables

Last month Tara introduced us to  Boston Food Swap,  an organization she co-founded that lets local food lovers swap abundant homemade, homegrown or foraged food.   At this month’s event  she swapped homemade batches of fava bean spread.  She tells us there’s been quite a bounty on hand recently: jams and pancetta to smoked fish, fresh eggs and spice mixes.  I’m helping plan the group’s 1st birthday and would love for you to come by and share your most swap-worthy recipes. – Maggie  

You never know when inspiration will hit you. Sometimes, it arrives on a sandwich.

This particular imaginary light bulb came as I bit into a minty pea spread, served on crusty white bread with ham and mayo at City Feed & Supplyin Jamaica Plain, MA. It tasted like Easter dinner and the English countryside, and bewitched me to come back again and again. It was only a guest sandwich on their menu and now that it’s gone, I was lured into the kitchen to create my own version of this fresh green dip.

While wandering a local market in San Francisco, I spotted some wonderfully knobby fava beans, and that minty spread was instantly on my mind. Though I’m not often drawn to fava beans, their creamy texture and grassy taste are a good substitute for English peas, which can be elusive in their fresh, unshelled state. Frozen peas will work just fine, but I enjoy the meditation of shelling. Taking a few minutes of my last day in California to commit the trip to memory, I prepared something delicious for my gracious host.

Since preserving my own lemons this year, I find myself adding a little bit to almost anything I’m cooking. If you substitute a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, this dip would be enjoyable but plain, while the briny citrus adds a savory flavor. If you’re new to preserved lemons, it’s super easy to make your own.

Fava Bean Spread with Mint & Preserved Lemon
Makes about 1 cup


  • 2 lbs fresh unshelled fava beans
  • 5-8 mint leaves, torn
  • ¼ preserved lemon, rinsed
  • â…“ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Shell the fava beans.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch fava beans for 1 minute and shock in a bowl of ice water.
  3. Finely dice the rind of the preserved lemon. Discard any seeds or flesh.
  4. Add fava beans, mint, preserved lemon, salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped.
  5. While pulsing, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the the processor in a steady stream until the mixture forms a paste of the desired consistency.
  6. Enjoy with a good loaf of bread, mixed with pasta, or on a tasty ham sandwich. Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days.

What’s an unusual stroke of inspiration you’ve had?

All photos styled and taken by Tara Bellucci.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans.  We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can  order today.

Tara Bellucci

Tara Bellucci is a lifelong New Englander who grew up in the kitchen and never left. A founder of the Boston Food Swap, it's her mission to share culinary creations and connect people through the joys of real food. Outside of swapping, Tara writes about décor & design for Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn. See what she’s up to at tarabellucci.com.

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