Thanks for stopping by. This is a blog about a man and his family Living, Eating and Growing in London's East End.

Crushed Broad Bean Pesto

Crushed Broad Bean Pesto

Shelling broadbeans can feel like an unnecessary step in a world of convenience and if I have to be honest, I only pod them when they arrive in our weekly veg bag (which generally occurs but a few times during the summer months). But the site of them excites me, there is something so natural about seeing beans in their shells, especially when we are used to cooking them from dried or even one step further removed, buying them cooked in a tin or frozen in a bag. I have very clear memories of my mother shelling broadbeans in Damascus, before the introduction of extravagant ready shelled beans and the luxury of finding them frozen. She would use them exclusively for riz ou fool a favourite Damascene dish of my father. My mother would shell them seemingly without effort. 

For this recipe I have shelled the beans and for the first time have relished the process. Tearing the pods open releases a scent that smells of wet grass and reminds me of morning dew. In his book, Sleep Smarter, Shawn Stevenson promotes grounding, "the electron transfer from the earth to human tissues", as a way to get a better nights sleep. I have found the shelling of these little green gems very natural and have experienced a little earthing, or grounding from doing so, a better night's sleep? A tired parent will go at great lengths even if a little "out there".

I snuck in a few raw beans as I was shelling and found them absolutely delicious, but decided to go ahead and give them a quick boil for this recipe. Because I intended to give them a little whirl in the our mini food processor, I went against removing the somewhat tougher outer skin. I rarely say no to a little extra fiber. 

We used the pesto to coat some wholewheat spaghetti, but it would be great as a sandwich spread or on crackers served up with a favourite cold tipple for an aperitivo to celebrate this summer vegetable.

Ingredients: (feeds 4 adults or 500g pasta)

  • 1 X cup of fresh shelled broad beans (frozen if not in season)
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g fresh basil (small handful)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 X garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a food processor, blend all ingredients except for the broadbeans.
  • Meanwhile place broadbeans in boiling water for 3 minutes, then run under cold water to stop them from cooking further
  • Add broadbeans to blended pesto and blend for a few seconds to incorporate them and to gently crush them. Leave the broadbeans chunky for flavour and texture
Potato and Raw Courgette Mash (served with swiss chard)

Potato and Raw Courgette Mash (served with swiss chard)