Soup on Sunday – Italian fava bean soup recipe Nonna di Giulia

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I know it might seem like I have a fava bean fixation, but if you try Nonna’s fava bean soup, you might understand why that is. Nonna has been featured here a number of times, she has shared her crostata recipe, her meatball recipe and also enabled me to showcase some of the fruits and vegetables of her native Apulia (Southern Italy).   Fava bean soup is easy, it’s inexpensive, it’s filling and it’s healthy too. The recipe is not even really a recipe – take about 2 cups of peeled, split fava beans, dried, and soak them for about 6 hours. Drain:


Put soaked fava beans into a saucepan, add 1 red onion peeled and halved and either 1 medium tomato skinned, ideally, or else about 5 cherry tomatoes, and add water to just cover.


Simmer until fava bean is tender – you can test this by squashing between a thumb and forefinger.


You can now drain off some of the fluid into a separate container, do not discard. Use a hand blender blend to a puree, you can now add more of the cooking fluid to achieve the desired consistency.


Eat either as a puree, add some salt,  dribble some good quality olive oil over the top and enjoy with bread and some homemade onion and green pepper pickles, this is really very delicious or as a soup see pics above.


Or you can eat as pictured in the first shots – as a soup with some croutons in the bottom of the plate, soup on top, and liberal lashing of olive oil! Enjoy!


Fava Bean Soup Nonna di Giulia

  • 2 cups dried peeled split fava beans – rinse and then soak in water for about 4-6 hours
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half
  • 4-6 cherry tomatoes skin on, or 1 medium tomato skin off
  • good quality olive oil for seasoning
  • croutons large ones not those faffy tiny ones


Soak fava beans in water until a little softened about 4-6 hours, depending on how old they are, try to get sun-dried fava beans that are not older than last years crop. Depending on your source they may not soften at all, I had this problem with fava beans source from Turkey, so the ones I used above were brought back from Italy (where they were grown, shelled, split and dried, by uncle Antonio on his piece of land).

Rinse fava beans, add them to a saucepan, add onion and tomatoes, add water to cover and boil until the beans are soft – test it: a bean can be easily squashed between thumb and forefinger.

If you are making a puree – drain off some of the water and puree the saucepan’s contents with a hand blender, add in water until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle with olive oil on top – with pickled onions and pickled chilis to go with. Or serve it with shrimps (as seen here) –  it is  a very good combination indeed!

If you are making a soup: Drain some of the soup water into a separate container, do not discard – and then puree the contents of the saucepan, add back in some of the fluid until you reach a very thick soup consistency. The soup should cover the back of a spoon when you turn it in the soup. Season with salt, put some big croutons in soup plates, ladle over the soup, add lashings of olive oil and serve with thick slices of semolina and wheat flour bread (recipe coming up)!




30 thoughts on “Soup on Sunday – Italian fava bean soup recipe Nonna di Giulia

  1. As you know, green favas are a lot of work, and you start with a lot only to wind up with a little bit, but they are delicious. Your dried fava puree looks almost like hummus, and I’ll bet it is just as delicious. The soup really looks good. Thanks to you and Nonna for sharing.

    • Hello there – you are right, I have to say I also love to eat fresh green fava beans straight from the pod with some primo sale cheese, which I don’t think is easy to get hold of outside of Sardinia, and Salento and any of the other regions it is eaten – in combination with freshly shelled favas it’s a gustatory revelation! I did make fresh fava bean soup too: – back when I was on my quest to get some really smooth soup – just before I found out about the pacojet! Have a good start to the week Poli

    • oh and you are welcome – every time I visit nonna I document some more of her recipes – there is something magical about watching history in action as I sit in that kitchen in the deep south and watch this older dynamic lady sprint around the kitchen, her hands never idle.

  2. Delicious! I love beans and fava beans are always a favourite. The simplicity of the soup with the lovely flavours makes it irresistible! 🙂

  3. This look so hearty and warming Poli– It’s hard to find fava beans here and they are fresh and had to be popped out of their pods. Are these dried beans (since you soaked them)? I’ll keep my eyes open for them. such a cozy recipe. thanks.

    • Hi Rhonda – yes dried fava beans – you should be able to find them at italian grocers or other middle eastern grocery stores – hulled and split and sun dried. Not all the dried ones work for this though I bought some turkish ones and they never got soft, so I guess it’s trial and error until you find the right type – unless you can source from an italian gardener!

    • aha 12 degrees °C most definitely soup weather I agree – the beans may have a taste your kids are not acquired to though, a little strong if you are not used to them – but I guess in order to know you have to try! Let me know if you do.

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