Broad Bean and Bacon Pasta

17 Sep 2023

This delicious pasta dish uses broad (fava) beans, which are in season right through the summer months. Making this dish with wholemeal pasta gives it a higher fibre content. This dish also uses our own Hey Pesto! which is made with chickpeas instead of pine nuts, so it’s suitable for people with nut allergies – find the recipe on our website.


400g fresh broad beans in the pod OR 200g frozen broad beans
1 x small red onion
2 x cloves garlic
200g lean smoked bacon  medallions
8 x sprigs fresh thyme
1 x 15ml spoon olive oil
300g wholemeal pasta (shells or fusilli)
Black pepper (optional)
2 x 5ml spoons Let’s Get Cooking’s Hey Pesto!


Weighing scales
Medium saucepan
Small bowl
Pan stand
2x Chopping board (meat and vegetable)
Sharp knife
Garlic press
Scissors (optional)
Medium frying pan
Measuring spoons
Wooden spoon
Measuring jug


  1. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil.
  2. If using fresh broad beans, while the water comes to the boil, remove them from their pods. When the water is boiling, drop in the fresh or frozen beans and cook for 2 minutes. Drain using the colander and cool the beans quickly by running under cold water. Double peel the beans by removing the tough skin. Set aside the beans and throw away the skins.
  3. Peel and finely chop the red onion and crush the garlic.
  4. Cut the bacon medallions into 1cm wide strips (this can be done using kitchen scissors). Wash your hands after handling the meat.
  5. Rinse and dry the thyme, then strip the leaves from the stalks.
  6. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Stir with the wooden spoon until it begins to soften.
  7. Fill the medium saucepan two-thirds full with water and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain through the colander, keeping about 150ml of the cooking liquid for later. Return the pasta to the saucepan.
  8. While the pasta is cooking, add the garlic, bacon and thyme leaves to the frying pan with the onion and cook for 5–6 minutes. Stir the mixture well to prevent it sticking. Add black pepper to taste (if using). Reduce the heat to low.
  9. Add the broad beans and pesto to the onion and bacon mixture. Stir gently to combine, then tip into the cooked pasta.
  10. Mix well, adding the 150ml of saved cooking liquid little by little (to be sure the dish doesn’t become too wet) and serve immediately.

Skills used include:
Measuring, peeling, chopping, crushing, mixing, boiling/simmering and frying.

Top Tips

  • Double peeling broad beans is not essential, but their outer casing can be tough. Once the casing is removed, the bright green of the broad beans makes the dish look vibrant and colourful.
  • Broad beans are easy to grow and can be harvested between April and September.

Something to try next time

  • For a colourful and healthy change, add 150g of halved cherry tomatoes at the end of step 8. Let them heat through, but don’t allow them to become too soft.
  • You can use ready-made pesto instead, but check for allergens as most pesto sauces contain nuts.
  • If you prefer a creamier dish, stir in 2 x 15ml spoons of reduced-fat crème fraîche at step 10.

Prepare now, eat later

  • Make the pesto in advance – our Hey Pesto! keeps in the fridge for 24 hours. Or freeze it in icecube trays for up to 1 month. Defrost before use or add a frozen cube to the cooked bacon mixture and stir until melted and hot.