This ramp fava bean soup is deeply satisfying with its velvety texture and subtle garlicky note.
When it comes to spring ingredients, my two favorites are ramps and fava beans. A couple years ago, while cleaning out the fridge I decided to combine some wilted ramps along with languishing fava beans into a satisfying soup. Since then I've made this ramp fava bean soup every year from April to May while they are in season.
- Ramps: also known as wild leeks, they grow wild in only certain regions along the Appalachian ridge from Georgia to Quebec, and are foraged like truffles. Ramps belong to the genus Allium, which also includes domestic onion, garlic, shallot, leek, and other wild onion species. They lend a wonderful pungent garlicky-onion flavor. In Europe, you can substitute with wild garlic.
- Fava beans: also called broad beans, are a popular ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Snap the pod open and remove the beans. Cook the fava beans in a pot of salted water until the skin turns bright green and becomes soft, about 1-3 minutes depending on size. Transfer them to a bowl with iced water to stop the cooking process. Once they are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to remove the waxy, white translucent covering and you’ll be rewarded with tender and buttery fava beans.
How to Cook the Soup
It takes less than half an hour to make the ramp fava bean soup. The most labor intensive part is prepping the fava beans. You have to pod and shell them as described in the ingredient section. To make the soup, saute the shallot and ramp leaves until fragrant and softened. Add the shelled fava beans and broth and cook for 20 minutes. Use a high speed blender to puree the solids. Transfer the liquid back in the pan and add heavy cream for richness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This ramp fava bean soup makes a delicious vegetarian spring soup. Its vibrant color is a feast for the eyes. I love serving it with creme fraiche to add a little tang and chive blossoms for an oniony kick. The soup itself is velvety with a subtle garlicky note from the ramps. Serve it a start for dinner or with a salad for a full meal.
Ramp Fava Bean Soup
- High speed blender
- 1 pound podded fava beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces ramps, green parts only, chopped
- 2 medium shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup creme fraiche for serving
- 2 tablespoons chive blossoms for serving
- Bring a medium saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the shelled fava beans and cook for 1-3 minutes depending on the size of the fava beans. Transfer the cooked fava beans into a bowl with iced water to stop the cooking process. Remove the cap at the top of the fava bean and slip each bean out of its waxy coating.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and ramps and cook for 3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add shelled fava beans and vegetable stock. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Transfer soup mixture to high speed blender and puree until smooth.
- Scrape puree back into saucepan. Add cream and bring to a simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Thin soup with 1 tablespoon of water at a time for desirable consistency.
- When ready to serve, divide soup among serving bowls, swirl through a dollop of creme fraiche, top with chive blossoms, and freshly ground pepper if desired.