Mixed Beans with Spices and Lovage in a Curry-like Sauce #Farmersmarket

Best time of the year for fresh mixed beans and lovage

Sugar snap peas, string beans and fava beans are in abundance at this time of the year. Fresh fava beans are not available except in a short few weeks in the summer. I almost didn’t recognize them in their shells in the farmers market. I got some although I had no idea how I’d prepare them. This Ottolenghi recipe appeals to me in many fronts: the use of mixed beans, take advantage of the lovage that’s growing strong in the herb garden and the light curry-like sauce. It did not disappoint.

Shelling all the fava beans took a while. If you want to have fresh shelled fava beans, it is a small price to pay considering the narrow window of opportunity to savor the fresh beans. The pile of shelled pods is far larger than the fava beans. They account for 90% of the total weight. I wonder whether there are better use of the pods than simply tossing them out!

Lovage is like a parsley on steroid with an intense aroma and flavor. It’s best to use sparingly. One whole can of tomatoes and all the spices seem to have moderated and brought out the best that lovage has to offer. Still figuring out the right and appropriate use of lovage. This is clearly one way to showcase lovage.

The sauce is a mildly spicy, cooked with a long list of ground warm spices: cumin, turmeric, coriander, ginger, cardamon and cloves. It resembles a curry sauce, except it’s quicker. The dish takes less than 30 minutes to cook from start to finish. (I’ve linked this post to IHCC where the challenge of the week is to make something spicy.)

The result is a wonderful aromatic and flavorful dish packed with every kind of summer beans you can gather in the farmers market. This is more than the everyday spicy tomato and bean dish. Serve it with grains and rice makes for a satisfying and hearty bowl of goodness. We love it.


Fava beans are in season


Mixed Beans with Spices and Lovage

Print Recipe
Serves: 4


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • one 14-oz or 400g canned chopped tomatoes (with their juices)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup or 150g sugar snaps, halved at an angle
  • 1 cup or 200g string beans, sliced at an angle
  • 1 3/4 cup or 250g shelled fava beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp chopped lovage
  • salt and black pepper



Heat up the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently; add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Now add the tomato paste, spices and some salt and pepper and keep on cooking and stirring for another minute.


Add the tomatoes, sugar and all the peas and beans. Stir to mix. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sugar snaps are cooked through but are still crunchy. Taste and add salt and pepper as you like. Stir in the lovage just before serving warm or cooled.


Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi


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  • Reply
    Kim Tracy
    July 17, 2017 at 11:45 am

    So nice you were able to get fresh fava beans (I have never found them) as well as lovage. I enjoyed reading that lovage was akin to parsley. I’ve often wondered what it tastes like.

    Leave it to Ottolenghi to come up with a beautiful way to celebrate fresh fava beans! Delicious.

  • Reply
    July 22, 2017 at 10:08 am

    There’s a lot of different spices used in the dish, sounds wonderful and looks very delicious. Ottolenghi certainly has a magical way of combining spices with delicious results!

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