Bearing in mind I eat a plant based diet, it’s just as well that I like most vegetables. And as time goes by and tastes change, I’ve found those that I didn’t like when I was younger seem to be more palatable today; celery is an example of this. I couldn’t stand the stuff and had no idea how people could just munch away on celery sticks and nothing else to disguise the flavour. Nowadays, I have to admit I’ve discovered it’s not as bad as previously thought, and can munch away quite happily with the rest of them!
Broad beans, however, have been more of a challenge. I developed a real aversion to them, maybe connected tochildhood memories of my dad’s vegetable patch. I can’t remember him growing anything else but broad beans (which I’m sure is not true!) and vividly recall having them served up as a vegetable, forcing myself to eat them so as not to offend his wonderful green fingered efforts. But to me they were bitter, woody nuggets that had an odd tangy aroma and I really didn’t enjoy them one bit.
Broad beans seems to have become quite trendy in the last few years, popularised by celebrity chefs and featuring as a seasonal crop in my weekly veg box. But still I managed to avoid them, changing my box order to ensure they didn’t get delivered. Browsing through recipes recently, I realised that maybe the broad beans of my childhood could have been more tasty if they had been served in a different way.
Now, they still have a ‘broad bean taint’ to them, but they certainly taste quite different, and the bitterness changes to a fresh, almost sweet taste. For me, I still can’t eat them by themselves, but fortunately they combine well with other flavours, particularly mint for a vibrant, spring flavour. Which is good news, as broad beans are actually really good for you and a great source of protein in a plant based whole food diet. On top of that, they are an amazing source of fibre, essential for maintaining gut health, as well as a whole range of B vitamins, iron, manganese and potassium, although some of that will be lost in the cooking process.
Even though I find broad beans slightly more acceptable, I still avoid having them; last week I forgot to change my veg box order though, and a whole bag of them arrived. Eating dairy free and plant based can sometimes create lunch time challenges, especially with sandwich fillings; sometimes even hummus can get boring. So I decided to create a broad bean based spread; I found a couple of recipes but they included a large amount of oil which I try to avoid. So instead, I just went the natural route and simply combined broad beans, mint, peas and a little seasoning. It makes a green gloop which has a fabulously rich but fresh flavour and is amazingly healthy with no added fat and all that great fibre.
With a taste like this, I seem to have become a broad bean convert – give a go and see what you think.