Thursday 13 November 2014


Hodmedod's Big Vegan Box is packed full of wonderful beans, peas and quinoa. As soon as I opened my box, I was blown away by the variety and vibrancy of the products in front of me. In it were canned fava beans, baked beans and vaal dhal, as well as four cartons of dried beans and peas, a pack of quinoa, and a selection of roasted beans and peas. A million and one things popped into my head in terms of how I could turn these ingredients into delicious meals. To me, this box is a winner during the cold season as the beans, peas and quinoa provide the perfect base for a range of hot soups, curries and veggie casseroles. I've never cooked with fava beans before and so I was super excited to expand my culinary repertoire. Such is the nature of following a vegan diet; I find that I am now more likely to try new plant-based ingredients that I never would have given a second glance before. 

I highly recommend this box to anyone who is keen to support local, sustainable food in the UK. Hodmedod was founded by Nick Saltmarsh, Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson in 2012 with the aim of promoting and supplying indigenous and less well-known grains and pulses in Britain. If your curiosity is even a little bit piqued, then you should definitely check them out and try a box!

Show Hodmedod some love by following them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find out more about their product range on their official website.

In this recipe, I've gone ahead and made use of the tin of fava beans and the pack of lightly salted roasted fava beans. Forget regular croutons, the roasted fava beans give a deliciously crunchy element to the soup and complements the flavour of the fava beans infused in the soup. By blending half a can of the beans with the sweet potatoes, I was able to achieve a rich, creamy consistency. This soup is comfort food at its best, chock full of nutrients and vitamins from top quality whole foods - no hidden nasties here! It's also oil-free and gluten-free, nudging it high up there on the healthy, clean eating scale.

(serves 2)
- 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes 
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 1 tin of Hodmedod's British Fava Beans
- Handful of Hodmedod's British Roasted Fava Beans (lightly sea salted)
- Pinch crushed chilli flakes
- Pinch dried thyme
- Pinch curry powder
- Salt to taste
- Chopped fresh herbs

Wash and dice the sweet potatoes into small pieces. I chose to leave the skin on as it is packed full of nutrients, but you can peel the skin off if you prefer. Place in a large saucepan with the crushed garlic and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes completely. Boil for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.

Allow to cool slightly, then place the potatoes and garlic in a food processor, along with the liquid broth it was cooked in and half a can of fava beans. Blend on a low-medium setting for 1-2 minutes or until you are satisfied with the consistency.

Pour the soup back into the large saucepan and return to the heat. Season with a pinch of crushed chilli flakes, dried thyme, curry powder and salt to taste. Add the other half of the tin of fava beans.
Heat the soup for no longer than 5 minutes.

Serve hot and garnish with a handful of lightly salted roasted fava beans and a sprinkling of fresh herbs (I used parsley).

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