Food is fabulous all year round, but in summer, the freshest flavours really explode onto our plates! I’m a firm believer in all fresh foods as superfoods, but broad beans are one of those real nutrient powerhouses that absolutely must be seen regularly in a healthy diet, making the most of the seasonal stars.
Health-wise, it doesn’t get any better – very high in protein and energy, they are a rich source of dietary fibre, and bursting with phytonutrients like isoflavones and plant sterols, which have been found to protect against breast cancer and reduce blood cholesterol levels. As one of the highest plant sources of potassium, these pale green beauties support your heart and blood pressure too.
As if that weren’t enough, they’re also an excellent source of folates, essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division, vital for energy metabolism and nervous system function, aiding in the synthesis of DNA, RNA and red blood cells. People who eat folate-rich foods regularly have been found to have a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and depression.
With a plethora of other essential nutrients like iron, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, chromium, potassium, molybdenum, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin, vitamin E and vitamin K, piling broad beans on your plate is doing yourself good in far too many ways for me to elaborate on here – broad by name, broad by nature! The delicate flavour doesn’t need anything else to make it sing, but this recipe, with just a three other ingredients, turns up the taste dial to maximum – as gorgeous as part of a main meal as it is on toast for lunch or scattered over leaves for an amazing salad. Get podding, and enjoy!
Minty Broad Beans with Lemon
450g broad beans
2 tbsp garlic-infused oil
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
fresh mint, chopped
Unless the beans are very fresh, and young, skin so you’re left with the very green inside part. Blanch in lightly salted water for around 4 minutes until just tender. Drain and toss with the oil, lemon juice, rind and mint. Season to taste and serve.
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