Also known as broad beans, these beans are a favorite Spring delicacy of many chefs. Fava beans are high in fiber as well as protein, but they also require a lot of work, which might add to their reputation as a culinary delicacy. After shucking the outer shell, the beans are generally parboiled prior to removing the waxy coating. This two-part process is great to do while watching the NCAA basketball finals. Fava beans may help treat Parkinson's disease and kick-start a slow libido.
These beans provide a decent amount of iron and are often referred to in Europe, where they are much more popular than here in the states, as meat of the poor. Puree the beans with garlic, lemon, and olive oil and spread onto crostini.