Portuguese Fava Beans with Cilantro

Portuguese Fava Beans with Cilantro Recipe

A liberal amount of chopped cilantro and chopped tomato stirred into the beans just before serving makes this a particularly interesting and memorable way of serving fava beans. It’s a classic in Portugal, and you’ll see in home and in small tavernas and tascas, or small, family-run eateries.–Hilaire Walden

LC Portuguese Note

This recipe is Portuguese through and through. That’s why we love it.

Portuguese Fava Beans with Cilantro Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4


  • 2 ounces bacon (about 2 strips), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound shelled fresh or thawed frozen fava beans
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves


  • 1. Cook the bacon in a heavy saucepan until the fat runs. Stir in the onion and cook until softened. Add the beans, barely cover with water and simmer until they are tender, 5 to 15 minutes depending on the age of the beans. (If using frozen beans, cook them the amount of time indicated on the package directions.)
  • 2. Drain the beans and return them to the pan. Stir in the salt, pepper, and tomatoes, and then cover and heat gently, shaking pan occasionally for a few minutes to warm the tomatoes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Irene Seales

May 10, 1999

Even well into summer, it's hard to resist a mound of fresh fava beans at the market. Favas or similar large beans seem part of almost any rustic summer food in southern Europe. It's a lovely end-of-summer dish, served with a simple pasta or grilled meat. This recipe is a simple one best made with tomatoes at the height of summer flavor, and although you might spend a little time shelling the beans, it's something you can do while enjoying being outside as the evening cools down. I shelled about a half pound beans, so I made a half recipe, perfect for 2 people as a first course for a weeknight dinner. My fava beans were a bit more mature, so they needed closer to the full 15 minutes to cook. I had gorgeous dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes and smokey bacon on hand. My improvements for the next time might be to take the onions to a golden brown or use shallots and leave in the tomato seeds to keep things a little more moist. If you like you bacon a little more present, I would take it closer to crisp.

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