Thursday, July 5, 2012

{ Fava and Cranberry Beans with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Garlic and Sage }

Inspiration: a process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Don’t know about you, but when I am inspired, I get a shot of adrenalin throughout my body. My mind begins to run circles with different, unique and creative thoughts that begin to flow. At that moment, I need a notepad to jot all of the ideas down or simply type into my iphone. As long as I can remember, I have always been an intensely visual and creative person who is inspired by beautiful things. That is part of the reason I started this blog several years ago – an outlet for my inspirations and creativity.

With a quick stop at Whole Foods last week – upon entering the front door by the produce section, there they were – fresh cranberry beans. Instantly my mind flashed to a recent post by my friend Jean from Lemon and Anchovies. Jean featured fresh cranberry beans and created a dish that was so simple yet filled with beautiful flavors. She shared her recipe for Sautéed Fresh Cranberry Beans with Sage and Garlic. Perhaps these little beauties were not in my purview until now, since I had only imagined them in the dried form all packaged neatly and sold on shelves.

The stars had aligned with my stop to Whole Foods. With fresh Cranberry Beans in hand and a wonderful recipe from Jean, my mind was inspired and the creative juices began to emanate. The idea of fragrant fresh sage and garlic being married together with aromatic olive oil just made my senses dance. Since I had fresh Fava Beans and Applewood Smoked Bacon, I thought these would be wonderful additions to this lovely dish. The outcome was simply sublime. Thank you Jean for the recipe and inspiration!

Fava and Cranberry Beans with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Garlic and Sage

Serves 4

1 ½ C. Fresh Cranberry Beans, shelled
1 ½ C. Fava Beans, cooked and shelled
8 Garlic cloves, minced
12 Fresh sage leaves, rough chop
4 Slices Apple wood Smoked Bacon, cooked crisp and rough chop
¼ C. Olive oil (add more if desired)
Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Cook the beans until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.

In a skillet, cook the apple wood smoked bacon until crispy, let cool and rough chop. In another skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium. Add the garlic and sage and cook for one minute. Reduce the heat to prevent burning. Add the five and cooked cranberry beans. Let heat through for 2 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked bacon and toss together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Fava Bean Preparation:

To shuck the beans, simply break off one end of the pod and use your thumb to pry it open. Pop the beans into a bowl and make a pile of pods. The easiest way to peel the beans is to parboil them first. To do so, bring a large stockpot filled with water to a rolling boil. Add the beans and let them cook until they turn bright green. About one minute. Then remove the pan from the stove and drain the beans into a colander. Run the beans under cold water for a minute or so to stop them from cooking any further.

Next, you need to remove the skin surrounding each bean. Use a knife or your fingernail to make a slit in the seam at one end of the bean and then squeeze the bean out. It should pop right out of the skin. Once you've peeled the beans, they are ready to use in any recipe.


  1. Looks like a great dish, fresh and flavorful. The bacon would taste so good with these beans.

  2. What a fabulous side dish, I love the blend of fava and cranberry beans, and what's not to love about garlic and sage? Happy Thursday!

  3. For some good reason, favas and cranberry beans make me think of summer! Picnic by the beach...or lunch on the porch...this dish makes a great lunch in many scenarios! Belated Happy 4th!

  4. Eating so much meat lately, I would love to have a bowl of these beans. I love the combination of beans, bacon & sage. Thanks for the the wonderful, simple recipe.

  5. Lovely dish! I love this idea and I'm glad you have your blog to share it with us;-) Thanks to Jean for her inspiration, isn't it wonderful to be inspired by friends? Have a wonderful weekend;-)

  6. I remember Jean's recipe and I really think these cranberry beans are so beautiful! Wonderful side dish, and I love how nutritious ingredients are packed in this dish, and not to mention applewood bacon is a nice plus! ;-)

  7. WOW, those beans looks adorably cute too :D

    you are welcome to visit my blog :)

  8. I am going to have to make a trip to WF for some cranberry beans! I love fava beans and the rustic appeal of this hearty, healthy and satisfying dish. Have a great weekend, Lisa!

  9. That is a beautiful salad that combines LOTS of my favorite ingredients. I'm inspired!!!

  10. This salad is so lovely and full of wonderful flavors!

  11. Cranberry beans are just so it when I find them fresh :) This is such a great dish, I just love the combination!
    Hope you had a wonderful 4th and are having a great weekend :)

  12. What a gorgeous salad! Great sources you pulled inspiration from!

  13. Such beautiful beans, I have not had a chance yet to play with these pretty little things yet. I will have to visit Whole Foods and hunt them down, and try both yours and Jean's recipes. I love how you used applewood smoked bacon, my my!

  14. I may have inspired you but boy, did you make the original that much better! I love your addition of bacon and fava beans. Will make it this time next. :)


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