Broad Bean, Vicia faba, Vicia faba, is a species of bean, native to Asia and North Africa. It can withstand cold climates, and is largely cultivated in Mediterranean countries. The fruit is a 15–25 cm long pod, containing (and protecting) 3-8 large and flat seeds, the actual broad beans. The color may vary, according to the species, from green to red to purple.
They are likely to have first cultivated in Cina and Northern Africa about 5000 years ago. Then, they spread among ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans, and finally introduced in America. Romans loved them so much, that they used to eat the pods too. They have later been used as poor food, until replaced by common beans.
In cooking, broad beans can be eaten raw or cooked. Most famous and tasty recipes combine them with pecorino, pancetta, or salami. Soups are well-known too. In Spain they use to make fabada, a kind of a second course with sausages and broad beans.
Fun fact: mathematician Pythagoras forbade his disciples to eat broad beans as he believed them to be an infernal symbol.