Early Spring Vegetable Sandwiches with Slightly Chunky Fava Bean Spread On Fresh Baked Focaccia Rolls

Seriously I don’t know what came over me today but I had a craving for a vegetarian sandwich on a fresh baked focaccia  roll.  It may have been the first sighting of fava beans in the market that got me started with this sandwich idea using one of my favorite chunky vegetable spreads.  Back in the kitchen while my focaccia dough was rising I began the process of preparing fava beans for a smashed spread for the rolls.  It’s probably better to wait until mid-season for larger fava beans to make this slightly chunky spread, but even though it’s more time consuming to shell the smaller beans, the spread is very good made with the tender early Spring fava beans.  Focaccia dough can easily be divided and formed into dinner rolls which also make delicious sandwich rolls.  A few spears of blanched asparagus and strips of roasted yellow peppers cut into generous pieces layered on top of the fava bean spread make fresh early Spring vegetable sandwiches that hit the spot every time.

I’m sharing two recipes so I’ll start with the one for the focaccia rolls since you’ll want to get those started first if you decide to make the vegetable sandwiches.  I used fresh rosemary from my garden and a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the rolls but they are good served plain.  I also used blanched asparagus spears and roasted yellow peppers on top of the fava bean spread but feel free to use whatever vegetables you like in your sandwich.

Ingredients and Directions for Focaccia Rolls
Makes 12 rolls

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons to brush on tops of rolls
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 cups bread flour, plus extra if needed
Sea salt and fresh chopped rosemary for sprinkling on top of rolls

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment sprinkle the yeast and a generous pinch of sugar over 1/2 cup of the warm water.  Wait 10 minutes while the mixture becomes foamy.  Add the remaining warm water, sugar, olive oil, sea salt and 1 cup of the bread flour.  Beat on medium speed for a few minutes until smooth.  Switch to the dough hook.  Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough becomes soft and starts to climb up the dough hook.  Knead on low speed adding more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if  dough is too sticky.  The dough should be slightly sticky, soft and moist, after about 5-6 minutes of kneading.  Cover and let rest in the bowl about 20 minutes.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the rolls.  Place the rolls evenly spaced on the 2 baking sheets, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Brush the rolls with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and chopped rosemary.  Bake for about 16-18 minutes until golden brown on top.  Cool on rack before cutting in half to make sandwiches.  Spread with the fava bean mixture (recipe below) and layer in a few of your favorite veggies, enjoy!

Ingredients and Directions for Slightly Chunky Fava Bean Spread
Makes about 1 cup
1 1/2 pounds fava beans
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 small sprig rosemary
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, juiced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare the fava beans.(yikes!)  Put a large pot of water on to boil.  Shell the fava beans, discard the pods.
Blanch the fava beans for one minute.  Drain and immediately plunge them in ice cold water.  Drain again and remove their light green skins by popping them between your thumb and forefinger.  Place the now naked fava beans in a bowl, set aside.  Warm the olive oil in a saucepan with the garlic and rosemary.  Add the fava beans and simmer for a few minutes until soft.  This will take longer for bigger more mature beans.  Place the beans, removing the garlic and rosemary, in a mortar and pestle or use a small bowl with a wooden spoon to mash them. Add the walnuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Mash everything together leaving nice pieces of the fava beans and walnuts in the mixture, add more olive oil if needed.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
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  1. yum, yum, yum…definitely a spring kind of dish! very interesting burger with fava beans – something I haven't tried before, but certainly adding this to my “recipes to try” list.

  2. The bread rolls look perfect and with the fresh veggies perfect for a lite lunch or dinner.

  3. Woooow…que ricura Paty estos pequeños panes y las hamburguesas todo una delicia con verduras fresca y exquisitas MMM…me encanta,abrazos y abrazos.

  4. I don't know what came over you, but I like it, lol. I haven't seen the beans yet. I'm in the mood for bread this week, especially rolls. Hope you had a wonderful and didn't get too rained on. I'm looking forward to catching up soon.

  5. What a mouthwatering vegetarian meal! This sandwich looks delicious and the focaccia rolls are perfectly golden brown – great job, Patty!

  6. This looks amazing!

  7. A really delicious spring treat! These focaccia buns are so lovely.

  8. I often get a craving for a good vegetarian sandwich, and I have never thought to try a fava bean spread. What a wonderful idea, Patty! Also, have been looking for a good focaccia recipe – the rolls look perfect :) Thank you!

  9. Wow..those look AMAZING!!!! What a great looking rolls and sandwich is just beautiful and tasty!!!

  10. Always looking for more ways to get veggies in our diet!

  11. Fresh from the farmers market – my kind of lunch (or dinner), except for the prepare the fava beans part ;) And, homemade focaccia buns… I.Want.

  12. What beautiful foccacia rolls! I think they would make any sandwich delicious. The bean spread and veggies are perfect for spring.

  13. Gorgeous! I think anything taste good on those beautiful focaccia rolls, but the spring veggies and bean spread sure sounds wonderful!

  14. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I often enjoy vegetarian sandwich more than cold cut sandwiches. I think the amount of meat that sandwich store places in the sandwich put me off for some reasons (most people are happier with more meat, I guess?). I don't know I'm weird like that. I think a little bit of meat or just veggies like yours are totally appetizing. It must be so good to have a sandwich with fresh rolls, and it's Focaccia! I won't just finish with one sandwich in this case though. ;-)

  15. I really like the idea of turning focaccia bread into dinner rolls. They make a great sandwich. Your spread looks and sounds delicious. Lovely photos!

  16. I love veggie sandiwches loaded with flavors, but homemade focaccia dinner rolls…oh divine!!

  17. Patty, This looks scrumptious! Your focaccia rolls look heavenly! Nice post!

  18. Oh my, I want lunch at your house! This looks AMAZING!

  19. This sandwich has my name written all over it! I love that you made the bread too, rosemary focaccia sounds delish. This is why I just love spring, it inspires such great healthy foods :)

  20. What a great sandwich…love the spread, and these rolls look amazing!
    Hope you are having a great week :)

  21. Beautiful creation, Patty! This gives an idea for a vegetable night. I've been eating too much meat nowadays. Need to detox! your rolls look great as always. Man. I need to bake. Thanks for motivating me to bake everything I stop by here.

  22. Wow, what a great, delicious combination. Love the idea of using both the spread and asparagus on the sandwich, delicious!

  23. I love loaded sandwiches like this. I especially like the sounds of your fava bean spread. One to try!

  24. Patty…you're one of the few that can actually make Fava beans appear culinarily sexy ;o)

    I'd take a few bites of that 'panino' anytime!

    Have a great week,

  25. Patty! I've given you the Versatile Blogger Award! Come check it out!


  26. I agree with Gina–I'm glad you were inspired to make this. I like the sound of the spread a lot. And the bread, well, I've been wanting to make a roll like I had in Rome years ago but I'm a bit intimidated with the process. Yours are perfect and have inspired me to try them out!

  27. This is a beautiful meal, Patty! Those rolls look fantastic and I bet they made the house smell amazing…can't wait to make them! Love the fava spread too!

  28. Patty, your focaccia rolls are incredible, and oh, so tempting with the spring veggies. I would love to have one right now! Lovely photos, as always!

  29. What a beautiful crating and healthy way to enjoy the fava beans; you inspire me to try this one.

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