Traditional Dutch Foods – Fava Beans

fava beans

Tyrosine is the precursor to dopamine, the “feel good” hormone that both curbs food cravings and lowers appetite. Tyrosine-rich foods include:

  1. Algae
  2. Almonds
  3. Apples
  4. Beer
  5. Chicken
  6. Chocolate
  7. Duck
  8. Edamame
  9. Fava beans
  10. Mustard greens
  11. Oats
  12. Ricotta cheese
  13. Salmon
  14. Sunflower seeds
  15. Wheat germ

Looking over the Dutch diet, I find it curious that several items on the dopamine list match up with a few traditional Dutch foods: beer, chocolate (mainly in the form of chocolate sprinkles called “Hagelslag” on their toast), and fava beans.

I’m most curious about the fava beans in the Dutch diet, since they are incorporated into a number of Dutch recipes. They curb the appetite, keeping one thin, and they make people happy. Aren’t the Dutch known for being thin and happy? (And tall too, of course, but I’ve written about that in another earlier article.) So, in researching Dutch fava bean recipes, I have located the following:

Dutch Fava Bean RecipeĀ  (from

6-8 pounds of unshelled fava beans

12-15 strips of bacon

3 large potatoes

1 fried or boiled egg (optional)


  1. Remove beans from pods; the fingernail-shaped connector piece (‘interface’) often stays with the pod, remove it if not;
  2. Prepare bacon (I heat up ready-to-serve, fully-cooked on a low fire in frying pan for 12-15 minutes, put on paper towels, discard fat);
  3. Wash beans a few times, then put in a pan and cover with water; bring to a boil, then add 2 oz. (Ā¼ cup, 50 ml) milk and cook for 12 minutes (don’t let it boil over);
  4. Drain water, add bacon to fava beans and mix.
  5. Serve with boiled poatoes: peel, wash, put in a pan, fill with an inch of water, bring to a boil; potatoes should cook for 17 minutes, drain, then leave on low fire for two minutes;
  6. Add a fried or boiled egg (optional)
  7. When you start cooking the beans and potatoes at the same time, they’ll be ready about together.

Dutch Sweet Potato Caraway Fava Bean Soup (from

  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 4 (orange) sweet potatoes
  • 1 (lamb) stock cube
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans/broad beans (100 g)
  • 5.30 oz soft goat’s cheese/chevre (150 g)
  • Argan oil
  • Salt & pepper


Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat some olive oil in a large soup pot over a low heat, and fry the onions and garlic for about 10 minutes.

In a pestle and mortar, crush 1 tbsp caraway seeds, and add to the onion mix. Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potatoes and add to the pot, along with 3 pints of water (1.5 l) and the stock cube. Turn up the heat a bit and simmer the soup for 15 minutes (or until the sweet potato is tender). Now puree using a stick blender (or decant into a food processor or blender).

Blanch the fava beans in salted boiling water for 1 minute and then rinse in cold water. Now peel the seeds from their opaque skins: simply press with your thumb and forefinger and they’ll pop right out.

Serve soup with the twice-shelled fava beans, some crumbled goat’s cheese (chevre) and a drizzle of Argan oil. Sprinkle some caraway seeds on top, along with salt & pepper, to taste. Delicious with crunchy bread.