Fava Bean Soup (Bessara) Recipe. Iced Variation

Fava Bean Soup (Bessara) Recipe. Iced Variation

Fava Bean Soup

Fava Bean Soup (Bessara) Recipe. Iced Variation

This is a funky and much beloved Moroccan classic, called Bessara.

Fava Bean Soup soup costs pennies

It also takes no time to make, but it tastes like a million bucks, much more seductive than the sum of its modest parts. Ethnic meets yuppie and gets him hooked!

Fava beans are very high in protein!

With their superstar nutritional profile, they give chickpeas a ride for their money

Serve it Chilled too!

I make it in summer as well, and served it iced (see variation below). Naturally vegetarian and gluten-free too!

You might choose to serve fava bean soup not as a soup but as a side dish. In this case, proceed just as instructed, using only 6-8 water.

There is no substitute for the funky and incredibly flavorful fava beans. You will find them in Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern Grocery stores, or simply go online: well worth looking for. You will love them, so get a nice supply and store them in glass jars. Get only peeled fava beans.

Get only PEELED fava beans!

Don’t get it into your head to peel the fava beans, which would be pure slavery: Buy them peeled! 

Fava beans do not need soaking!

They will fall apart, in a good way, during the cooking, so you might say they are ideally low maintenance.

It freezes very well!

Only, do not stir the coconut milk in the portion you will freeze, but rather, stir it in before serving.



  • 4 cups peeled dry fava beans
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice


Bring the beans, water, oil, salt and garlic to boil in a wide bottom pot. Reduce the flame to medium and cook, covered, for 2 hours. Whisk the paprika, cayenne, cumin, lemon juice and a little water in a bowl to make sure you have no spice lumps, and throw the mixture in the pot. Cook 15 more minutes. You will find that the beans have almost completely dissolved all by themselves, but just in case you want a more elegant presentation, cream the soup with an immersion blender. Adjust the texture and seasonings.

Variation: Cold fava bean soup: GF Stir in a 15-ounce can coconut milk in the chilled soup, and serve cold.

Yield: Makes a dozen ample servings.

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