Artichoke Hearts and Fava Bean Stew

Last Updated on Monday, 5 December 2011 12:18 Written by Flax Wednesday, 16 February 2011 03:16

Artichokes are not one of the most attractive vegetables.  They are strange-looking, they have thorns, and most of the vegetable is inedible.  I guess their saving grace is that they are absolutely delicious.  While most of us are willing to put up with the thorny exterior in order to access the sweet heart at the center of the artichoke, surprisingly enough, most of the nutrients are located in the thorny leaves.

Artichokes are a member of the thistle family.  Milk thistle is a purple thorny weed that has wonderful healing properties.  Like the thistle, the artichoke is best known for its ability to cleanse the liver and the gall bladder.   The artichoke stimulates bile production, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, detoxifies and fights free radicals.   Artichokes can be help with any digestive disorder, including Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Gallstones.

Since the recipe below uses only the heart of the artichoke, and the leaves have the best of the healing properties, I suggest making a tea from the discarded leaves.  Remove a few of the artichoke’s leaves, add them to a pot of boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.  Drink hot or cold.

Artichokes and fava beans appear in the Israeli market in the winter and spring.  While I always recommend using fresh food for better flavor as well as for better nutrition, shelling the fava beans and removing the artichoke leaves is extremely time consuming .  For those of you who lack time or child labor, be aware that this dish is extremely quick if you chose to use both the frozen fava beans as well as the frozen artichoke hearts.   Additionally, while the recipe below is vegan, this dish goes very nicely with either lamb or beef.  I might add either shoulder of lamb or meatballs to make a scrumptious main course for Shabbat.  To do so, simply add the meat to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.


  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1 tomato
  • olive oil
  • 6 artichokes
  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 1 tsp pickled lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper

Remove the leaves and the choke of the artichoke.  Put the artichoke hearts in a bowl of water with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

Using a food processor, puree the onions, garlic, tomato and herbs.  Oil the bottom of a sauce pan with a tight lid.  Put all of the ingredients into the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer covered for 5 minutes and then remove the cover.   Cook on a low flame for about 45 minutes or until all the water has boiled out.  Stir occasionally during the cooking  to prevent the bottom of the dish from burning.

Serves 4- 6.

Serve hot on a bed of rice.


Photo credit:  <p><a href=”″>Image: xedos4 /</a></p>

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Feeling Ful

Last Updated on Wednesday, 9 February 2011 04:53 Written by Flax Wednesday, 9 February 2011 04:50

Ful, known in english as fava beans, broad beans or horse beans are a staple in the Middle East and Africa.  In Egypt, Ful Mesdames, is the traditional breakfast food.  This is because a plate of ful fills you up.  I keep making a pun of it but I am convinced that they do have the same etymological source.

I think I have tried every single stupid fad diet in existence.  I learned math through counting calories.  I starved myself and did many other destructive things to my body.  While I may have lost weight, I always gained it right back along with a little bit more.  It took me about forty years but I finally realized something.  Diets don’t work.

What I finally understood is that I was overfed and malnourished.  The main reason I was overeating was because my diet was wrong for me and my body lacked nutrients.  Switching to non-processed foods, consuming less animal products, and eating more vegetables-especially sea vegetables, helped to cure my cravings and to cut down overeating. 

Eating excess amounts of animal protein is probably the main reason for the rising obesity problem.  Making the switch to a vegetable based diet instead of a meat/dairy based diet is not so easy.  One way to help the change-over is to eat high protein foods.  Legumes will help you to feel full while your liver is adjusting to the lighter eating pattern.

Fava beans are especially good at helping you to feel full.  This dish is the national Egyptian breakfast dish because it is so filling while also being a high energy food.   I highly recommend this dish for people who have a munching problem.  It’s hard to look at food after eating this dish, let alone eat anything.


  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 piece kombu
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp pickled lemon
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 5 sprigs coriander, chopped

Soak the fava beans overnight.  Drain and cover with fresh water.  Add the turmeric and kombu.  Bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for 2-4 hours, checking that the water doesn’t boil out. 

Remove the kombu, add the tomatoes, pickled lemon, and spices, and  bring to a boil.  Simmer for twenty  minutes more.  Remove from the flame, mix in the scallions, coriander and olive oil.  Use a hand blender or a fork to puree the beans to a chunky consistency.

Serve hot accompanied by pita and salad.

Serves 4-6


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Sweet Couscous with Fava Beans and Rasins

Last Updated on Monday, 26 July 2010 11:57 Written by Flax Monday, 26 July 2010 11:44

While most Moroccan food is not sweet, this is one dish that is an exception to the rule. It is traditionally served after the Yom Kippur fast, perhaps to emphasize that the coming year should be a sweet one.

Super easy and quick, it takes about 15 minutes to prepare.


1 bag instant whole wheat couscous
250 gr. fava beans-fresh or frozen (1/2 lb.)
1/2 black raisins
1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare the couscous according to the package. Salt and add oil and lemon

Soak the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes.

Cook the fava beans.

Serve the couscous, fava beans and raisins in three seperate bowls. Place on the table along with the sugar and spices. On the individual plates, combiine the three ingredients and sugar and spices.


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