A dreamy dried fava bean, mint, and pasilla chile soup

Heidi Swanson posted an adapted version Rick Bayless’s dried fava bean soup back in September, and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. I mean actually dreaming about it. I have strange dreams, dreams of drinking grower’s champagne out of the vintage glasses I’ve been oggling on Ebay for the past few days. My mouth waters at the mere idea of this soup. Chiles, mint, fava beans – sounds like the perfect way to end soup season. Fresh favas will be in season in a few weeks, and I can’t wait for them to arrive at the market. There’s something so therapeutic about peeling and shucking the beans of the gods.

I’ve been baking all day, and studying wine between batches of scones and cookies. Baking somehow makes me crave nutritious foods. Maybe it’s the smell of sugar and butter melting together. It’s not like I’m consuming a ton of baked goods, but definitely feel some sugar guilt.

I’m a soup addict. You can ask P. I really am. We eat so much soup throughout the winter. I buy big bags of organic onions on a weekly basis. Carrots, potatoes, herbs, and bouillion become our Winter staples. I’m looking forward to a sun filled Summer, but honestly have a hard time letting go of soup season. I suppose gazpacho and chilled versions of fava and Spring pea soups could temporarily take the place of a hot, healthy, steaming bowl of soup, but somehow they don’t hit home the same way.

My dreams are finally coming true – favas are boiling on the stove as I type. I can’t wait to follow each step of this recipe so it’s finally in my bowl, in my mouth. Wow – I just realized, I’m a nerd, a hungry nerd, and I like it.

Dried Fava Soup with Mint and Pasilla Chiles

  • 1 pound dried and hulled fava beans (If you can’t find hulled, you’ll have to soak them overnight, and peel like I did.)
  • 8 cups water, or good tasting broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, un-peeled
  • 1 large white onion (I only had red, it gave the soup a lot of color.)
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 6 medium dried guajillo or pasilla chiles, stemmed & seeded (I left the seeds in, we like it spicy around here.)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup  loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup  crumbled Mexican queso anejo or feta


  • Place fava beans in a large soup pot and cover with the broth.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, until very tender, about an hour. (The beans should be starting to fall apart at this point.)
  • While the beans are simmering, roast the garlic over medium heat, turning occasionally, until you get black spots all over, and the cloves have softened up .
  • After the cloves are cooled, smash, or chop.
  • Caramelize onions in a dry pan.
  • Cool onions, and finely chop.
  • Roast chopped tomatoes under the broiler for 5 minutes on each side.
  • Add garlic, onions, and tomatoes to the soup, and let simmer until a coarse puree.
  • Place chiles that have been chopped into small flecks in a skillet with vinegar, oil, water, oregano, and salt, sautee and let stand for a bit.
  • Stir chopped mint into soup
  • Top each soup with chile oil, and cheese. I also used a bit of sour cream considering there was extra heat from the seeds.
  • Enjoy!
Serve with an Italian Chianti, Sagiovese, or a nice Soave.

2 Comments to “A dreamy dried fava bean, mint, and pasilla chile soup”

  1. I made this soup a few months ago and loved it! I actually over salted it and it was a bit much with the salty feta I topped it with… I should give it another go before it gets too warm! I’m with you- soups are the best: nourishing, comforting, and delicious.

  2. I loved this soup! I actually made it very spicy, but it was super delicious!

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