Looking for gluten-free and vegan ideas for gut healthy food?

How about fava beans?

Fava beans, also known as broad beans are one of the oldest domesticated legumes. There are a number of different varieties nowadays and they can be found fresh in the pod, dried whole beans, dried split beans, canned, frozen and freshly packed.

Naturally gluten free they are a great choice for people who with dietary restrictions. Being plant based they are ideal for vegans.

They are a spring vegetable and fresh from the pod fava beans are a beautiful bright green. They have a tough skin that should be removed unless they are really young. Blanching the beans helps this process.


Beans are a ingredient that can be a trigger for autoimmune sufferers or those with digestive issues. This recipe is best only attempted if you have confirmed that beans are not a trigger for you and if you are in a state of remission of disease symptoms.

How to use:

I’m using dried split beans from Hodmedods.co.uk a great British company providing a range of British grown grains, legumes and pseudo-grains.

While whole beans should be soaked, it is not necessary with split fava beans but I like to soak them for at least a few hours before cooking. Soaking helps neutralise the anti-nutrients that exist in most grains and legumes. These anti-nutrients can be a trigger for some people and a reason for grain and legume intolerances. (Look out for my blog post on this later in the month for more information!)

Fava bean burger with dressed spinach and sauerkraut

Fresh fava beans can be used similar to edemame and dried fava beans resemble chickpeas in flavour and texture when cooked. As a result they lend themselves well to making falafels, which I did as seen in the photo above! They also work well as the base for a vegan burger and that is the recipe that I am sharing with you below.

I fried this burger in a little oil and served it on a bed of fresh young spinach leaves tossed in a dressing made with blackberry syrup, banana vinegar, olive oil and a little salt and pepper. I added a side of sauerkraut for a bit of fermented goodness. 

Fava beans are popular in middle eastern, northern African and Mediterranean cuisine. Some other recipe ideas for you are: simply sautéed fava beans with a knob of butter and seasoning, fava bean dip with vegetable sticks, fresh beans tossed in a salad, mixed spring vegetables and roasted salmon tray bake and fava bean stew.


Meal Information:

Meal type: Vegan. Vegetarian.

Experience level: Easy

Budget: ££

Nutritional benefit: Low in calories; medium GI (broad beans have a high GI but low GL); low glycemic load: high in dietary fibre; high in vitamins and minerals; high in antioxidants; high in Omega-3. Nutritional information on fava beans can be found here at: www.healthline.com

Free from: gluten, refined sugar, dairy, eggs

Intolerance risk: onion, garlic, nuts, seeds, beans, oats


  • 250g (2 cup) dried split fava beans
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 30g (¼ cup) walnuts, chopped
  • 40g (¼ cup) golden linseed
  • 30g (¼ cup) sunflower seeds
  • 50g (½ cup) gluten free jumbo oats
  • 1tbs basil, chopped
  • 1tbs parsley, chopped
  • 2tsp ras-el-hanout seasoning
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp xanthium gum
  • gluten free flour for dusting


  • Soak fava beans for at least 4 hours
  • Cook fava beans for 20-30 minutes until very soft.
  • If you have a food processor:
    • Add all ingredients and blitz.
    • If required, add 1tsp water at a time to bind ingredients.
  • If you do not have a food processor (burgers will be chunkier):
    • Mash beans.
    • Add all other ingredients and mix together.
    • If required, add 1tsp water at a time to bind together ingredients.
  • Put 3tbs gluten free flour on a plate.
  • With floured hands, bring together and form into burgers and coat with flour on the plate.
  • Fry in shallow oil for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Serve as required.

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