Skip to main content

Recipes   |   Eating & drinking

Top five recipes for broad beans

Broad beans are the only beans that are truly happy in our damp, cool climate; so much so that the first sowings can be made in late October to November, though a February sowing often produces a better crop and only a week or two later. The first flowers appear in April, releasing a gorgeous scent to draw in the few bees that are hardy enough to venture out.

Like many children, Riverford founder Guy dreaded the dry furriness of broad beans. In his middle years however, the smell of them makes his ‘heart skip a beat’, and at Riverford we look forward to their brief season.

When young and small, they are best raw in salads. Leave double-podding – a pleasing task but time-consuming – for later in the season when the beans are getting hard, pale and much larger. Double-podding reveals their verdant inner green and rids the sometimes bitter skins – eating them this way can be revolutionary and convert even the most stubborn of broad bean hater.


Crushed broad bean bruschetta presented on a wooden chopping board.

A delectable vegetarian springtime starter. Two lovely additions: spread your toasted bread with a little fresh ricotta before piling on the beans, or top the crushed beans with crispily fried pancetta or bacon lardons.

See full crushed broad bean bruschetta recipe.


Gnochi with courgettes broad beans, peas and creme fraiche presented in a wide white bowl with half a lemon

The gnocchi and courgettes cook fast, leaving you plenty of time to pod your peas and beans. Podding has a meditative quality to it. If it’s speed rather than enlightenment you’re after, split the pile in half and race someone. You can use the broad beans with their skins on, but if you have time it’s worth slipping them from their skins

See full gnocchi and crème fraîche with courgettes, broad beans and peas recipe.


Moroccan spiced carrot and buckwheat crêpes with broad bean herb salad

Moroccan spices go well with carrots, and other roots for that matter. We’re using toasted buckwheat, aka kasha, as the filling for the crêpes alongside the veg and spices. It’s a gluten-free seed with a nutty flavour, a great source of protein, fibre and other nutrients. Following the theme, we’re also using buckwheat flour, which is used in traditional French-style crêpes. It gives the crêpes a slightly darker colour.

See full moroccan carrot and buckwheat crêpes with warm broad bean and herb salad recipe.


Broad bean dip surrounded by a selection of chopped carrots, cucumber, cellery and whole broad beans

Eat as a dip with slices of pitta or salady bits, or use as a sandwich filler. A healthy green alternative to the usual chickpea hummus. This is a good way to use up older, larger beans, but make sure you double pod them before puréeing. It’s worth finishing with some good olive oil.

See full broad bean dip recipe.


Broad brean fritters served with a sweet chilli dip

These simple fritters make a good vegetarian main course but you could also serve smaller ones as starters or canapés for a summer party (they can be made in advance and gently warmed through in a low oven). Kids generally love them, particularly the dinky-sized ones.

See full broad bean fritters recipe.


Wicked Leeks Issue 9: Out now

We explore seasonality and hear from cover star Poppy Okotcha on the secret power of gardens.

Read now

Ecological farming can feed UK if diets change

New report outlines how diets can support an ecological farming system in the UK to cut carbon, restore nature and preserve farming livelihoods.

Read now
veg box

Ethical organic veg. Delivered.

Set up by Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford now delivers across the country with a full range of fresh produce, meat, dairy and more.

Shop now
Spread the word

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity losses will be the defining stories of our future, but it is not too late to change direction. 

Here at Wicked Leeks, our mission is to help inform and inspire positive change. Our journalism is free to all because of this, but we want to reach as many people as possible who share our desire for a better world. We know our readers are some of the biggest advocates of sustainable living, and you can help us grow this movement by sharing this article widely, with your friends and on social media. Now is the time to act.