Fava Bean and Pistachio Paté

Source: Linda Hillel, Piedmont Adult School.

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

If you love the distinctive flavor of fresh fava beans, this bright green pâté will delight you. Naturally green pistachio nuts reinforce the color of the favas while adding a wonderful nutty note. Serve the pâté on crostini or use it as a fabulous sandwich filling. The pâté also freezes well.

Serves 6


3 to 4 pounds fava beans (see Fava Notes below)
1⁄2 cup unsalted shelled pistachio nuts
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon summer savory, winter savory, or rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄3 cup (packed) grated aged cheese, goat’s milk or sheep’s milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, shell the fava beans; you should have about 3 cups. Steam the beans until tender, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the maturity of the beans. The beans are done when the skins are easy to slip off. Reserving the steaming liquid, drain the beans and set them aside to cool. Roast the pistachio nuts just until they begin to take on color, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Finely chop the nuts in a food processor with 1-second pulses. Remove the processor lid and peel the beans directly into the bowl. Press the garlic into the bowl. Add the savory, oil, 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
  3. Add the cheese and continue to pulse until the pâté is fairly smooth, adding a little more of the reserved liquid or oil if the pâté is very stiff. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Fava Notes
You can use young, tender fava beans or mature, late-season beans for the pâté. Mature beans are starchier and take longer to cook; they also make a stiffer pâté, so you’ll need to use more of the steaming liquid and/or oil.

Serving Suggestions
Crostini: Slice a baguette diagonally 1⁄3-inch thick. Brush or spray with olive oil. Bake at 350°F for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until light brown. Spread the pâté on top.

Green Fava Bean Sandwich: Spread the pâté on your favorite sandwich bread. Top with shavings of the same cheese you used in the pâté, slivers of sun-dried tomatoes, and sprouts or lettuce.

© 1999 Linda H. Hillel

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