Smashed Fava Beans on Toast with Pecorino and Mint


Fava beans are one of spring’s most coveted ingredients, and my favorite way of preparing them is to smash them with mint and pecorino into a chunky spread for topping toast. Once the favas are blanched and shelled, the spread comes together in mere minutes. It makes a fine snack to start a party, but perch a poached egg on top and you’ve got breakfast or lunch.

Smashed Fava Beans Toast with Pecorino and Mint Recipe
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Dickey / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 2 pounds unshelled fresh fava beans

  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint, divided

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 2/3 cup), divided

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 4 rustic bread slices, toasted


  1. Snap off and discard stem ends from fava bean pods; peel off and discard stringy seams on either side of pods. Split open pods, and remove beans.

  2. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil over medium-high. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Add beans to boiling water, and boil until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer beans to ice bath, and let stand 2 minutes. Drain. Using your fingernail, tear or break through outer shell, and pinch out bright green beans inside. Discard shells.

  3. Using a marble mortar and wooden pestle, grind 2 tablespoons mint, lemon zest, and salt into a smooth paste, about 30 seconds. Add half of the fava beans and 1/2 cup cheese. Pound and smash to a very coarse paste, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of fava beans, and smash to a chunky spread. Stir in lemon juice, oil, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

  4. Spoon fava spread on toasted bread slices. Top evenly with remaining cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon mint. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper, and serve.

Make Ahead

Fava beans can be cooked and shelled up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.


Frozen edamame or English peas may be substituted for the fava beans.

Suggested Pairing

Lightly herbal Vermentino.

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