Beans –

Scientific Name and Common Name
Phaseolus vulgaris ~ Common Beans, Green Beans,
String Beans
Vicia faba ~ Fava Beans, Broad Beans



The common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris has been cultivated for six thousand years in the Americas. The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas were found in Guitarrero Cave, an archaeological site in Peru, and dated to around the second millennium BCE. Beans were an important source of protein throughout Old and New World history, and still are today. There are over 4,000 cultivars of bean on record in the United States alone.

Nutritional Information, Cooking Tips and Recipes

An interesting modern example of the diversity of bean use is the modern urban recipe 15 bean soup, which, as the name implies, contains literally fifteen different varieties of bean. There are three commonly known types of green beans: string or runner beans, string-less or French beans (depending on whether the pod has a tough, fibrous “string” running along its length), and snap beans, with a thin flat pod that requires less cooking time. Compared to the dry beans, green beans provide less starch and protein, and more vitamin A and vitamin C.
Green bean varieties have been bred especially for the fleshiness, flavor, or sweetness of their pods. The green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. The Fava bean is enjoyed both green and dried and shelled. Fava beans are a late spring or early summer favorite on our farm. The pods can be chopped and cooked whole, or opened and discarded leaving the tender, bright green fava bean under a thin outer skin. A quick blanching (1-2 Minutes), drain, then ice water bath to stop the cooking process finds the thin outer skin easy to slip off.


Shell beans or shelling beans are beans removed from their pods before being cooked or dried. Common beans can be used as shell beans, but the term also refers to other species of beans whose pods are not typically eaten, such as lima beans, soybeans, peas, and fava beans. Fresh shell beans are nutritionally similar to dry beans but are prepared more like a vegetable, often being steamed, fried, or made into soups. Many beans can also be soaked and made to sprout, like mung bean sprouts.

Nutritional Information
Cut Green Beans, raw, Nutritional value per 1 cup cookedg
Nutrient Amount % US RDA
Energy 184 kJ (44 kcal) N/A
Carbohydrates 7.8 g N/A
Sugars 1.5g N/A
Dietary fiber 3.7 g 18%
Fat 0.3 g N/A
Protein 2 g .5%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.12 mg (7%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.72 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 .0.081 mg (6%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 41.63 mcg DFE (22%)
Vitamin C 12.13 mg (14%)
Calcium 57.5 mg (6%)
Iron 1.64 mg (9%)
Magnesium 31.25 mg (9%)
Phosphorus 48.75 mg (5%)
Potassium 373.75 mg (11%)
Manganese 0.37 mg (18%)

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database


Fava Bean Pure’e

Golden Beets, Fava Beans and Mint from  Vegetable Literacy

  • 4-6 smallish golden beets or a mixture of golden and Chioggia beets
  • 1-2 pounds fresh fava beans, in their pods
  • Slivered mint leaves plus a few small whole ones, a heaping tablespoon
  • Sea Salt
  • Ricotta salata cut into thin shards
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon and shallot vinaigrette
  1. Steam the beets until tender.  Rinse briefly to cool, then slip off skins and slice the beets into wedges.  Toss them with a little vinaigrette.
  2. Shuck the fava beans.  Drop them into boiling water for about a minute, then drain and drop them into a pan of cold water to cool. Pinch off the skins and moisten the beans with a little of the vinaigrette.
  3. Toss the beets with the favas and mint leaves.  Taste for salt, and, if dry, add a little more vinaigrette.  Heap them onto a platter.  Put  the cheese in the bowl and toss it with the remaining vinaigrette and season with pepper and salt, tuck into the vegetables and serve. Serves 4.

A Pilaf of Asparagus, Fava Beans, and Mint from  Tender: A Cook and his Vegetable Patch

  • a couple of handfuls of shelled fava beans
  • a couple of handfuls
of thin asparagus spears
  • 2/3 cup white basmati rice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 very lightly crushed green cardamom pods
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • a cinnamon stick
  • 2 or 3 cloves
  • a small pinch cumin seeds
  • a couple of thyme sprigs
  • 4 thin green onions
  • 3 or 4 sprigs parsley
  1. Wash the rice three times in cold water, moving the grains around with your fingers. Drain that, then cover with warm water, add a teaspoon of salt, and set aside for a good hour.
  2. Cook the fava beans in deep, lightly salted boiling water for 4 minutes, until almost tender, then drain and slip off skins running under ice-cold water. Trim the asparagus and cut it into short lengths. Boil or steam for three minutes, then drain.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, and sprigs of thyme. Stir them in the butter for a minute or two, until the fragrance wafts up. Drain the rice and add it to the warmed spices. Cover with about 1/4 inch (1cm) of water and bring to a boil. Season with salt, cover, and decrease the heat to simmer.
  4. Finely slice the green onions. Chop the parsley.
  5. After five minutes, remove the lid and gently fold in the asparagus, fava beans, green onions, and parsley. Replace the lid and continue cooking for five or six minutes, until the rice is tender but has some bite to it. All the water should have been absorbed. Turn off heat, leave lid on for two or three minutes. Remove the lid, add a tablespoon of butter if you wish, check the seasoning, and fluff gently with a fork. Serve with the yogurt sauce below.

Yogurt sauce: 
Stir 2 tablespoons of chopped mint, a little salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into 3/4 cup (200g) thick, but not strained, yogurt. You could add a small clove of crushed garlic too. Spoon over the pilaf at the table.

Gluten Free Green Beans Done Right, Submitted by Louisa Wright

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans (chopped)
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 large new potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tsp. parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ C chicken broth
  • ¼ C water
  1. Melt butter in large skillet.
  2. Add bacon and onions and sauté lightly, tossing all the time until bacon begins to brown.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover tightly, simmer for 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serves 8