Can You Eat Broad Beans Raw?

Broad beans are the type of veggie that people seem to either love or hate. Some love the bitterness of these beans and others avoid them at all costs! Even when cooked these beans can still seem bitter and difficult to eat. But you might be wondering are they better raw, can you eat broad beans raw?

The Quick Answer

Can You Eat Broad Beans Raw?

You can eat broad beans raw. However, there is a caveat to this. You should only really try and eat the young shoots and beans raw. After they start to grow they become too difficult to eat.

Let’s dive into the article and work out whether or not you should eat broad beans, even if you can.

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What Do Broad Beans Raw Taste Like?

Broad beans have a distinctive taste whether they are cooked or raw. When they are fully grown they can be fairly bitter in taste and have a slightly grainy texture when you bite into them. When they are young you can eat them raw and they taste just as bitter and maintain this odd texture. If you are not a fan of cooked beans then it isn’t worth trying them raw!

If you do like this bitter taste, as many people do, then you can eat the young shoots and beans raw but just be careful as not everyone reacts well to them and some people can have a bad reaction to them.

How to Eat Broad Beans Raw

If you really want to try these beans raw then here is an idea or two for you to try. When picking out the perfect beans to eat make sure you choose young beans that are a fresh green colour and have no blemishes.

Pop Some Into Salads

The bitter taste of these beans can add some interesting depth of flavour to a salad. Make your salad as usual and pop a few young beans and shoots into the mix. Give the salad a mix and then serve. Easy and no one will know where that interesting taste comes from!

Try mixing raw broad beans with cooked and cooled broccoli, chilli, ginger, garlic and sesame for an Asian inspired lunch salad.

Raw Broad Bean Salad

Lightly Sautee Them

Okay, so this one might be cheating slightly because it is really difficult to find recipes that call for raw broad beans. However, if you want a healthy snack then you could toss some garlic and herbs into a pan with a little oil and lightly fry the beans. This won’t overcook the broad beans so you get the benefit of the raw texture whilst benefiting from the taste of cooked beans.

Benefits of Eating Raw Broad Beans

Broad beans are a good source of many vitamins, minerals and nutrients. If you are looking for a portion of good all-round food that includes vitamins A, C and potassium then you can’t go too far wrong than by eating broad beans.

However, you don’t get a much higher benefit from eating raw beans as you would if they were cooked. The cooking process may reduce the number of nutrients in the beans but they won’t lose too much so this isn’t something to worry about. If you like raw broad beans then eat them, if you don’t then cook them instead. They will be just as good for you.

What Countries Eat Broad Beans Raw?

Broad beans are also known as fava beans in many parts of the world and they are common in most countries. In the UK, they are a common seasonal veggie that appears on our plates during the late summer and autumn months. When canned these beans can last for ages and are a handy food to have in your cupboard to mix into chillies and bean salads.

Broad beans are eaten all over the world in their cooked form. They are most commonly eaten in places like Egypt where they are fried up and eaten for breakfast fairly regularly.

Should You Eat Raw Broad Beans?

Broad beans are a sustainable type of bean to farm and eat so there is no real reason you shouldn’t eat the beans. You do need to be careful when eating any beans raw because they can contain harmful bacteria that even washing may not get rid of.

We would recommend you eat raw broad beans only if you know what you are looking for in the bean and are confident the beans are safe. If in doubt cook them instead.

Dangers of Eating Broad Beans Raw

In rare cases, you might be allergic to broad beans. This is down to a disease called favism disease. This can cause a serious allergic reaction and can lead to blood disorders such as anaemia. This is a hereditary disease so chances are you already know you have it and avoid broad beans already. It is worth being aware that this can be a problem for some people.

Other Questions about Eating Raw Broad Beans

Below are some other questions people often ask when it comes to eating broad beans raw. If you do find yourself with further questions, however, then please do ask in the comments area at the bottom of this page:

Can You Eat Broad Bean Pods?

You might be surprised to hear that broad bean pods can be eaten. You’ll be best discarding larger pods as they can be quite fibrous but small pods can be delicious. Simply chop them up and roast.

Eat Broad Bean Pods

Can You Eat Broad Beans with Rust?

Broad beans can suffer from two hugely damaging diseases when grown: Chocolate spot and rust. The broad beans are perfectly safe to eat if there is no clear sign of disease. If they don’t look quite right then discard.

If you’re growing the broad beans yourself, then it’s worth noting that the rust and chocolate spot diseases can both spread in your compost and don’t even die over winter. That’s why you should burn any plants with the disease.