Friday, December 18, 2009

Egyptian Breakfast Beans

(pictured: Egyptian beans with a green salad in the back of the photo)

Before I start I need to say this is my variation of Egyptian breakfast beans and should not be considered authentic. I understand that mini favas are called “ful” (pronounced fool) in Egypt. Some say it is the national dish of Egypt. I don’t know if that is true but when used in this breakfast dish they are really tasty.

I reduced the fat substantially and added the cumin, bay and onions for additional flavor since I reduced the flavor by backing off on the oil. I like to eat this with raw veggies (especially cucumber) and olives. It is also good with a little almond feta. Here is what I did.

Egyptian Breakfast Beans
Makes 5 cups or 5 servings


1 ½ cups dry mini fava beans, picked through and soaked overnight (or quick soaked)
2 tablespoon red lentils
water to cover the beans by an inch
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon onion flakes
¼ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, pasted with ½ teaspoon salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
¼ to ½ cup of freshly minced parsley

Topping ingredients:

1 ¼ teaspoons olive oil (1/4 teaspoon for each 1 cup serving)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 1/2 cups diced tomato, fresh is better but canned will work
1 lemon, cut into 1/8th to serve with beans
2 green onions thinly sliced, optional


Cook the favas and lentils in water with bay leaves and onion flakes until the favas begin to burst. You want the favas to be soft so you can smash them. When the beans are soft add the salt and pepper. Drain the cooked beans in a fine wire sieve and move to a mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to coarsely mash the beans. You want some bean texture to remain (you are not trying to make hummus).

Paste the garlic by mincing it as finely as you can and adding the kosher salt and smashing the garlic with the side of your knife. Add the pasted garlic to the beans and stir so that it is evenly distributed.

When you are ready to serve the beans warm them slightly in the microwave. They are to be served warm (think room temperature), not hot (although I don’t know why that is, it is just what I was told). To the warm beans stir add the lemon juice, zest and parsley and stir to evenly distribute.

Warm the oil with cumin seeds until you can smell the cumin then remove it from the heat. Allow the cumin oil to cool slightly.

Top each serving of the breakfast beans with fresh diced tomato, sliced scallion (if using) and a ¼ teaspoon of the warm cumin oil. Serve the bean dish with lemon wedges. Traditionally this is also eaten with flat bread. I eat it with raw veggies and frequently salad.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 210.13
Calories From Fat (9%) - 18.99

Total Fat - 2.2g
Saturated Fat - 0.33g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 369.02mg
Potassium - 800.15mg
Total Carbohydrates - 36.08g
Fiber - 13.48g
Sugar - 5.83g
Protein - 14.27g


Even though this is a breakfast of brunch dish we had it tonight for dinner after a hectic trip to Costco. I served it with celery and carrot sticks and a small green salad on the side. We both decided that we needed a little more food and I added another green salad with a veggie burger and raw cashew chipotle dressing. It was a quick meal but quite tasty and filling.

Each serving of the Egyptian beans contains approximately 1,100IU of vitamin A, 80mg of calcium, 225mcg of folate, 75mcg of vitamin K, 235mg of phosphorus, and 110mg of magnesium.

Unrelated note:

The hubby and I spent hours this evening going to Costco to replenish the pantry. Our timing could not have been worse. A winter weather warning was issued for our area starting at midnight tonight. It seemed as though everyone decided to go to Costco tonight. What a mad house.

When we got home we had a quick bite and then walked to our local grocery store for garbanzo beans. I know I could have purchased hummus at Costco but I really prefer to make my own so I can control the fat in the dish. At 10:30pm tonight when our local grocery store is normally empty the store it was packed with the self-check out line being 12 people deep when we got in line.

The weather service is predicting a minimum of 18 inches of snow tomorrow and possibly 28 inches of snow by Sunday morning. Since this town practically shuts down with 3 inches of snow that much snow will cripple the city for days. It should be interesting. I will keep you all posted regarding the antics. If nothing else it should be entertaining.

Stay warm and dry and I will be back tomorrow with something appropriate for the cold weather.


  1. I love a good bean dish, and that certainly looks like one I'd enjoy. As many types of beans as I eat, I sheepishly must admit I've never tried favas. I'll have to add them to my shopping list.

    I am glad you are well stocked before the storm hits. Here in MI we get a lot of snow, but no where near 28 inches. That's a crazy amount of snow!

  2. Janet,

    I love dried favas but they can be hard to find. We buy them at either the Italian or Middle Eastern market.

    Egyptian falafel it traditionally a mixture of garbanzos and mini favas (according to my friend from Cairo). Favas come in two sizes, regular and mini. I prefer the minis because they cook quicker, and therefore seem to be more creamy. I hope you can find some locally because I think you will really like them. I know I do.

    The snow has really started here, I think we got a foot of it overnight and it is still coming down. My pantry is very well stocked now. We probably have enough food for at least two weeks now, so we are fine.


  3. Janet,

    If you like the ingredients substitute another bean for the mini favas. You want something that has a creamy interior. Favas have an exterior texture (at the skin) that is a little more firm than other beans, so that will be tough to replicate. I would probably use a red kidney bean since the color is the closest to a cooked fava but any bean would work.


  4. I've been wanting to make ful. I will definitely try your recipe soon.

    Yikes! I hope the snow isn't as heavy as predicted. Stay safe and warm!

  5. Alicia, thanks for the substitution tips, we do have an Italian market near us and I will look there for mini favas this week. Stay warm with all that snow!

  6. Brigid,

    I hope you like my healthier version of ful. If you want the traditional high fat version let me know and I will post the changes. In essence they use a lot more olive oil.


  7. Janet,

    If I didn't have the mini favas I would definitely use the larger ones. I typically have both on hand.


  8. I've never heard of Egyptian breakfast beans, but they sound delicious. I'll have to look for dried fava beans.

  9. Beatrice,

    If I didn't have a friend from Cairo I wouldn't have heard of this either. The traditional version uses quite a bit of oil, but I prefer our food to be healthier.

    I hope you like it as much as we do.


  10. I love fava beans, and this sounds like such a great breakfast...I like to eat something hearty in the morning.

    Thanks for the great idea.

  11. Rose,

    This is one of my favorite breakfast dishes. My hubby thinks it is a little unorthodox, but agrees that it keeps him full until early afternoon.

    talk to you soon,

  12. That sounds wonderful--I *LOVE* ful! I can't wait to try this recipe :-)

    Thanks so much, and good luck with the snow...


  13. Courtney,

    Thanks for letting me know. I am glad you are eager to try it. If you have any modifications when you make it please share.

    We definitely have at least 2 feet of snow so far, and it is still snowing. It is some crazy storm we are getting.



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