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Sage and Onion Fava Bean Bake with Boozy Cranberry Sauce

Looking for a delicious but simple vegetarian or vegan option to serve for Christmas lunch? This festive recipe fits the bill perfectly! Made with Hodmedod’s British-grown Split Dried Fava Beans, this seasonal recipe comes from Carol Kearns, who does the beautiful illustrations for our packaging and also publishes recipes on her food blog The Art of Baking.

Sage and Onion Bake with Boozy Cranberry Sauce

I’m a firm believer in easy stress-free recipes, particularly at Christmas. This recipe couldn’t be simpler - and everything can be made in advance and either stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen for up to six weeks.

The layer of sage and caramelised onion infuses the bake with a wonderful flavour and the boozy cranberry sauce not only looks and tastes spectacular but provides a vegetarian ‘gravy’ to make a meal that works perfectly with all the traditional Christmas veg.

I’ve often been asked by work colleagues to suggest a vegetarian option that they might serve to the one vegetarian guest visiting for Christmas lunch. This recipe can easily be made in individual pie dishes so that a one-person portion can be cooked alongside your traditional Christmas fare.

But don’t save this recipe just for Christmas! It makes a great Sunday lunch with roast potatoes and other winter veg. On these occasions I make it slightly simpler by omitting the cranberries from the sauce and substituting 100ml of carton orange juice for the fresh orange juice and zest.

Makes 4 servings


For the Bake
  • 300g Split Dried Fava Beans
  • 600ml Vegetable Stock (Marigold Vegetable Bouillon works well)
  • 50g Unsalted Butter or Vegan Alternative
  • 3 medium Onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Sage, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to season
  • Melted Butter or Oil for brushing the top of the bake
For the Sauce
  • 100g Frozen or Fresh Cranberries
  • Finely Grated Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
  • 4 tbsp Cranberry Jelly
  • 4 tbsp Port
  • 100ml Red Wine


  1. Put the split dried fava beans in a saucepan with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the beans are soft and much of the stock has been absorbed. Stir the mixture occasionally, more frequently towards the end of the cooking time.
  2. Melt half of the butter in a large frying pan and sauté the onions for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until they have browned and reduced in volume. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped sage.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C / Gas Marrk 5.
  4. When the beans are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Use a hand blender to purée the mixture and season generously with salt and pepper. (The purée should have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes so if the mixture is too stiff add a little water.)
  5. Spoon half the bean purée into a pie or small lasagne dish and spread evenly across the dish. Distribute the onions evenly across the surface and then top with the remaining bean purée. Smooth the top and brush with melted butter.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes until golden on top. (If baking in individual serving dishes, reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes.)
  7. Towards the end of baking, make the sauce by placing all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Just before serving, decorate the bake with small bunches of fresh sage and some defrosted or fresh cranberries. Serve the boozy cranberry sauce in a jug with a small ladle or spoon.

If making in advance, the bake can be made up to Step 5 and then either stored in the fridge for a couple of days (covered in cling film) or placed in the freezer for up to 6 weeks (stored in a large plastic bag). Defrost overnight or take the bake out of the fridge an hour before baking. The sauce can also be made in advance and either stored in the fridge or frozen.

Carol Kearns
Carol Kearns


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