Fava Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Recipe

This unique dip uses protein-packed fava beans and creamy ricotta for a dish that’s both delicious and nutritious.

May/June 2017

  • Fava beans are nutrient-dense, offering protein, fiber, folate, iron, manganese and vitamins.
    Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
  • Fava beans make a great spread mixed with ricotta and roasted garlic.
    Photo by iStock/ribeiroantonio

Total Hands-On Time: 45 min

Preparation Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Yield: 6 servings

An extra portion for all bean-sheller helpers here! Don’t be put off by the need to start with shelled beans: buy them shelled (try Middle Eastern grocery stores) or delegate this fun and therapeutic task to helpers—little or big. Serve with toasted sourdough.


• 1 head garlic (10 cloves), cloves separated, skin on
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 cup ricotta
• 3 tablespoons sour cream
• 2 lemons, rind shaved in long strips from one, 2 teaspoons finely grated zest from the other
• 1-1/4 pounds fava beans (1-1/2 cups shelled beans)
• 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon shredded to garnish
• Salt and black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Drizzle garlic cloves with olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and cook for 15 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, squash flesh out of skins. Discard skins, place flesh in a bowl, and add ricotta, sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Whisk to mix well and set aside.

3. Place remaining olive oil in a small saucepan with shaved lemon rind. Place over medium heat, bring to gentle simmer, then remove from heat to cool and infuse.

4. Bring large pan of water to a boil. Add fava beans, blanch 1 minute, drain. Remove beans from skins and crush with a fork. Add all but 1 tablespoon of lemon-infused oil (removing rind first), lemon juice, chopped mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper, and mix.

5. Spread ricotta mix in a thin layer over the bottom of each serving plate or one large platter. Spoon fava bean mixture on top, lightly spreading to cover ricotta. Top with shredded mint and grated lemon zest and finish with a drizzle of lemon-infused oil.

Find more delicious whole-food dips and spreads in Take a Dip!: Whole-food Appetizers.

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