Definition of Fava bean

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Fava bean: The broad bean to which many people react adversely with an acute hemolytic anemia with sudden breakup of red blood cells (see Favism). Fava beans look like large tan lima beans. They are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, are eaten raw when very young, cooked in soups and many other dishes, and made into fava brittle (like peanut brittle) as candy. The botanical name for fava is Vicia fava. Fava is Italian for bean and refers specifically to the broad bean. Fava beans are the main commercial source of the drug L-DOPA.

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