Grilled Fava Beans

Grilled Fava Beans Recipe


When Wayne and I went to Japan earlier this year, one of the highlights of our trip was a quiet little dinner at Asahi. It is an artisan soba spot so tiny you feel as if you could touch all four walls from the center of the place. It is Tokyo's only ital noodle shop (Rastafarian veg cuisine), but the noodles weren't the only highlight. I knew we were in for a great meal when chef Koichi Nakajima started our night with two deeply charred fava beans served on a piece of paper. We split the pods open with our fingers, slipped each fava bean from its skin and popped them in our mouths one after another. It doesn't get much better - simple, smoky, perfectly cooked, and fun to eat. If you haven't tried grilling fresh favas, you must! You can make them on the grill or in a grill pan, then toss them out onto a newspaper where people can dive in and make a bit of a mess with the pods and skins.

Grilled Fava Beans

Here's the secret. Any seasoning you put on the pods will stick to your fingers. In a good way. Toss the pods with a few glugs of olive oil and some sea salt before placing them on the grill, you can certainly play around with ideas beyond that. I sometimes add crushed red pepper flakes to the olive oil, or finish the favas with lemon zest or freshly chopped dill (or chives) after they come off the grill. The key is getting the grill (or pan) the right temperature - too hot and the pods char before the beans have time to steam in their pods.

 
 
 
 

Grilled Fava Beans

1 pound of fresh fava beans, still in their pods
a couple glugs of olive oil
a few pinches of salt

optional: crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and or chopped fresh herbs.

In a large bowl toss the fava bean pods with olive oil and salt. Arrange them in a single layer on a grill over medium-high heat. If you're using a grill pan, you may need to cook them in batches. If I'm using an outdoor grill I don't bother covering the favas, but when I use a grill pan, I typically cover the pan with a flat baking sheet to keep more of the heat in the pan and circulating. Grill until blistered on one side - 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and grill for a few minutes more on the other side. If you aren't sure when to pull them off, take a pod off the grill, open and taste one of the beans. You want the fava beans to be smooth and creamy when you pop them out of their skins - not undercooked. But keep in mind that they'll keep steaming in their pods for a few minutes after they come off the grill, unless you eat them as soon as you can handle the pods without singing your fingers - which is what I encourage you to do :) Season the grilled favas with a bit more salt (if needed) and any herbs or lemon zest if you like. To eat: tear open the puffy green pods, take a fava bean, pinch the skin and slide the bright green fava from its slipper. Eat them one at a time and be sure to lick your fingers.

Serves 2 - 4

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Your Comments


Christina
May 10, 2009

I love this idea!

Also, a "couple glugs" of oil should become a new official term!

 

Brenda
May 10, 2009

Oh wowee YAY. I love fava beans like nobody's business. I will be trying this out as soon as possible!

 

Rodrigo
May 10, 2009

Yes, the glug should be a unit of volume!

 

Berna
May 10, 2009

Can they be roasted in the oven on a cookie sheet instead of a grill to get that flavor?

They do look yummy!
Love the pictures and your blog!

 

chika
May 10, 2009

Hello Heidi,

Oh I guess I first saw/ate those char-grilled fava beens in the pods at a nice izakaya almost ten years ago(!) and got hooked - but haven't had these in years, which is a shame. Gotta try them while they are around! Thanks :)

 

Lisa C.
May 11, 2009

I'm SO excited to try this! I've been eating lots of favas the past few weeks since they made their first appearance of the season at the farmer's market. :) Have always just steamed them... never thought of grilling them! Love the thought of them just steaming inside their pods.

 

I need to get some favas so I can try this out! What a great thing to add to a bbq when the grill is already fired up. Like how it was served to you on a piece of paper.

 

Jen (Modern Beet)
May 11, 2009

oh yum! I often serve fava beans with a dish of ricotta mixed with lemon zest. Grilling the favas instead of just blanching them would add a whole other delicious dimension to the dish. Thanks for the idea!

 

Dana McCauley
May 11, 2009

Sounds delish! I'm surprised the beans cook through. Are they still quite al dente? Also, do you think this would work with edamame? Seems like it should.

 

Darien
May 11, 2009

Not sure if it was intentional, but this has all the flavors of foule! My grandmother used to make it for us all of the time - I can't wait to try this "deconstructed" version! As always, kudos to making healthy fresh flavors accessible.

 

Marissa Makes
May 11, 2009

Mmmmm, I love those fava beans. They are such a great slow food.

 

stephanie
May 11, 2009

For 3 years, I've been staring at fava beans in the store, trying to figure out what I'd do with them. I bought them once, and they rotted in the refrigerator. Now I know!!!
Could you post some more recipes for them, too?

 

David Kay
May 11, 2009

Thanks! I just finished working through a bunch of fava beans (for the Keller fava bean agnolotti) this weekend. I love the flavor, but I LOVE the Tom Sawyer-like idea of spreading the work around the table...and having it be fun. We'll try this with the next favas that make it in the CSA box. --David

 

Caroline
May 11, 2009

We ate favas this way last night at Mill Valley's Small Shed Flat Bread and discovered that when they're grilled so tender, you can eat the pods, too!

 

Yasmine
May 11, 2009

Fava beans is a staple food back home (Egypt) It's traditionally slow cooked in what Egyptians call "idra" then it's dressed with olive oil, cumin, salt, pepper, fresh tomatoes and it's eaten like a dip with Egyptian pita bread. I have to say people eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's the cheapest thing you can get besides falafel. People will have it for breakfast with green or red onions..Yes! onions for breakfast. it's the one food that keeps them going, it's called 'fool' in Arabic. I will def. try ur recipe.

 

SeizeThePresent
May 11, 2009

I've always wanted to try favas, but didn't know what to do with them. If the beans shoot from their skins like projectiles, the kids will love them! Are there other tasty ways to cook the beans besides grilling? Is there any way to eat them without needing to remove them from the shell and then slip them individually from their skins one at a time at the table?

 

Christine
May 11, 2009

Kudos Heidi! Thanks for introducing such an exciting and creative way for us to cook fava beans! I like the idea that I won't have to shuck these beans before they get to the table.

 

Elissar
May 11, 2009

I can't wait to try this! I've always loved eating fresh fava beans, which is a common thing in Lebanese households. I've never had them grilled though!

 

Soma
May 11, 2009

I had been reading this recipe in the Food & Wine for the grilled Fava Beans.. these looks awesome.. should do this soon

 

Happy Vegan Lady
May 11, 2009

I love edamame cooked like this and I'm eager to try the fava version - delicious!

 

Alua
May 11, 2009

Many of your recipes don't work for me, because I'm vegan - but this one is fantastic! (Even more so, because I adore fava beans.)
I so look forward to making this.

 

kelli
May 11, 2009

this is fantastic! my favas are just about ready for picking and this is the perfect way to honor the bean.

 

ashlea
May 11, 2009

These look wonderful! I have never branched out to try anything with fava beans, but this looks easy enough to try!

 

Jenn@slim-shoppin
May 11, 2009

Heidi, do fava beans taste like edamame??

I wonder if you could use the same technique for edamame in their shells.

Its sounds wonderful, but I've never had fava beans before if you can believe that!

 

I love the simplicity of this recipe. Delicious and simple, right? Yum.

 

Cook 4 Seasons
May 11, 2009

Brilliant and tasty! And none of that second skin hassle...

 

Cookin' Canuck
May 11, 2009

That does it! I have to start cooking with fava beans! These look like a delicious and highly-addictive snack.

http://www.cookincanuck.com

 

Beverly Jane
May 11, 2009

Fava's are lovely. I have always gone through the hassle of boiling, shelling and then cooking and buttering. Now I will do it this way and enjoy them even more. Thank you so much. I have also e-mailed your site to my DD. Bev

 

Jennifer
May 11, 2009

Heidi,

I LOVE FAVAS! This sounds great!

I've been making a great fava recipe from Suzanne Goin's book Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Fava bean puree with french feta and black olives on garlic toast. It is INCREDIBLE and has been the hit of every function I've gone to in the last month.

Question: Favas have a very different quality depending on their maturity, and thus cook differently. Is this better with younger beans, or will large starchy ones work as well?

 

Deana Gunn
May 11, 2009

Just saw fresh favas at the store this weekend and picked some up. Great timing with this recipe entry!

Favas are great - there's a nice Persian rice dish I like that is made with favas and dill. The flavors are great together.

Not sure about grilling, but in general, the closest substitutions for fava beans are lima beans or edamame. If you see fresh favas, don't wait - the season for fresh favas is very short.

Deana

 

I recently made fava bean tacos...filling them with a relatively classic fava bean salad.
Next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I will try simply grilling them. I will lay out the accoutrements (tortillas, gaucamole, sour cream, cilantro, onion, etc.) and let everyone form their own!

Great idea - thank you for sharing!

 

Laura [What I Like]
May 11, 2009

Good lord, this would never in a million years have occurred to me! I love it, the first favas of the season are most definitely getting this treatment.

 

Dana V
May 11, 2009

Actually, if you get the favas young enough, you can eat the whole thing, pod and all! Pizza Delfina (here in SF) is featuring them on their menu this week fried whole, tempura style, with a little pot of aioli for dipping. Simply, amazingly wonderful! The tempura coating is very light, so the fava flavor really comes through.

 

veggievixen
May 11, 2009

yum! i have never used fresh fava beans before. they look yummy.

 

Sue's Good Eats
May 11, 2009

Yes, I do this with edamame now and can't believe I didn't think to do this with Fava beans...good thinking, Heidi! I love your site!

 

Iffet
May 11, 2009

I love fresh fava. I never try to grill it.
It is not easy to find it here in the states.This weekend I saw them in the grocery store. I was so surprized and bought some, for sure.
I hope, I can post to recipe this coming week.

 

meredith
May 11, 2009

Yumm.
I grow these annually, more for the soil than for the food. I have not had good enough, or more to the point, easy enough recipes. THIS should be the trick to get more favas onto our plates and less into the compost where they again serve the soil so effectively. Thanks again for making us happier and healthier with your fabulous recipes.!

 

Anonymous
May 11, 2009

yummy. I just spent a couple hours grilling buckets of asparagus (with olive oil and salt) at work today. It's so simple but so good.

 

Christelle
May 11, 2009

I definitely like fava beans, very delicate flavour...and youraccompaniement is dworth a try, it sounds very fresh.

 

I recently saw whole fava beans in the market and wondered what to do with them. I suppose now I know. Thanks!

 

Mixing Bowl Mama
May 11, 2009

Wow..this looks delicious. I think I might even get the beans into my kiddies this way. Thank you for another exciting and simple (the best part) recipe.

 

Marisa
May 11, 2009

This sounds and looks delicious....
even my husband won't be able to resist!

 

Wow, I always want to buy fava beans but am never quite sure I'll know what to do with them. This sounds delicious...and fun :)

 

tk1
May 11, 2009

we just had grilled fava beans at A16 this weekend, and they included salt-packed anchovies as well. With a dash of lemon they were unbelievable - the highlight of a very nice dinner.

 

Anna
May 11, 2009

Fava beans have always kind of intimidated me a bit, I'll admit. They always seem so labour-intensive and also so fleeting. This recipe looks lovely, though!

 

Nirvana
May 12, 2009

What a fantastic idea... I love fava beans -- cant wait to try it this way!

 

Sharyn
May 12, 2009

...possibly the perfect popcorn alternative to watching Silence of The Lambs?

 

Jesse
May 12, 2009

I wish I knew about this last month! I had a garden full of massive fava beans that I finally composted when I wasn't sure how I wanted to cook them. I know... such a waste!

 

Pam
May 12, 2009

For those looking for other ways to use fava beans, I HIGHLY recommend Heidi's spring ragout recipe. I made this, I guess it was last spring when it first was posted? And just made it again over the weekend. Fabulous. I'll just share here the same complaint I had last year, that it seems like it's harder to find fresh favas here on the East coast. I never see them at the farmers' markets or in my CSA box - only at Harris Teeter (a grocery chain here). I could try growing them, I suppose ...

 

Any recipe involving finger licking is a winner in my book. I gotta try these favas!

 

These look great! I love discovering new veggies and I just harvested my first crop of sprouting broccoli, a thin bunching type and another great veggie like the fava bean that is well-served to be brought to the front of our tables. Thanks!

 

jithagopi
May 12, 2009

great !!!!!

 

Rico
May 12, 2009

I had never seen them done this way, but I can tell they are gorgeous, we love fava (broad beans) in Portugal it is great and the flavour wow, I really like them with chorizo. thx for sharing :) xx Rico-Recipes

 

Never thought of grilling beans but it sounds amazing! And as a non-meat-eater, I'm always looking for more ways to work beans into my diet. Thanks!

 

Sherry
May 12, 2009

My daughter the vegan loves this type of recipe. The beans look wonderful too!

 

Gillian
May 12, 2009

Why do anything with the pods when you're going to discard them? It's not good for the compost.

 

RVGoddess
May 12, 2009

We had something very similiar last week while in St. Helena, California at Tra Vigne. Chef said they tossed the pods with a little EVOO, salt and a dash of honey... then baked in their 500-800 degree wood-fired oven. The entire pod was edible! Delish too. Someone told us the entire pod is only edible in the early, early spring. After that - it is bean only. Thanks!

 

Anne
May 12, 2009

I also had grilled favas the other week at A-16. They were amazing. We ate the whole thing, pods, beans, practically licked the plate. They tasted delicious and we are still alive!

 

unconfidentialcook
May 12, 2009

What a fantastic idea. I love it! Thanks.

 

veena
May 12, 2009

mmm you guys are lucky to get fresh fava beans for grilling...makes my mouth water. In Singapore by the time we get them imported... there are plenty of other 'foreigners' as well inside the already tough pods. Not good for grilling whole, unless we want to do a scary trick or treat meal for halloween... ;p

 

Jodye
May 12, 2009

I'm always in search of a new way to enjoy fava beans. This looks great!

 

Nicholas
May 12, 2009

Fava beans mystery – While still in their pods fava beans look up one year and look down the following year. I have been noticing this for years now, here in Malta, but I presume the phenomenon is universal. Has anybody noticed the phenomenon?

 

derf
May 13, 2009

Great recipe
Try the canned mall fava beans to make foul - a middle eastern salad. Yum !

For more great food ideas, check out:

http://www.wheretogoandwhattodo.blogspot.com

 

ali & evan
May 13, 2009

Heidi, We love, love, love fava beans and these babies do look finger-licking-good. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

 

Fantastic idea. I imagine the flavor is really smoky and sweet.

 

maeve
May 13, 2009

This looks intriguing, what happens to the foamy pod padding when they're grilled? Or do you avoid it by using younger beans?

 

katie
May 13, 2009

great idea! i get favas from our CSA share and though i love eating them, am often annoyed at the many-step prep required for enjoyment. will definitely be giving this a whirl!

 

My trip to Japan was an eye opener of major proportions for this lil' Mexican gal. I made it a point to eat everything given to me, and I can honestly say that I did not have a bad meal. Every vegetable and fruit, every piece of fish or meat was not just fresh and delicious but absolutely beautiful in it sheer simplicity of presentation. Call it the cross polination of culinary ideas, but my trip to Japan certainly influenced the way I cook Mexican today: fresh honest ingredients, a beautiful presentation. A minimum of fuss. Thank you for your post.

 

Seaweed Snacks
May 14, 2009

Made your fava bean recipe last night. My grocery store has some fava beans from a local farmer. Olive oil, salt and the grill. The kids loved them and we all thought it was a major dinner success. Thank you!

 

Sonia
May 15, 2009

Last year when I visited Egypt, I tried their delightful fava dish called foul. If anyone has not tried this and gets a chance, do so! It is mashed fava beans with lemon juice and other seasonings - sort of like a hummus.

 

Arturo
May 17, 2009

We have been getting favas in our CSA for years and never really had the patience to prepare them, this by far the best way I have ever had them. A big bowl of fava beans, a few friends and a couple of beers.

 

Frank Blewitt
May 18, 2009

I'm thinking that these comments all come from the US (and Mexico), because here in the UK I've never seen or even HEARD of fava beans being sold in any store.
When we holidayed on the Greek island of Santorini, we learned that they hold a fava festival in about June/July. They cook the bean (out of the pod) and make it into a soup not unlike lentil soup.
The islanders queue up at the church with their thermos flasks, fill them with the free soup and go off to their homes to eat it with warm pitta bread.
We just sat down by the church wall and polished off the fava and pitta in short order.
Delicious!!

 

Elizabeth Prewitt
May 18, 2009

Oh good lord, those look amazing! Excuse me, I have to go to the store and get some fava beans now.

http://www.abreadaday.com

 

Sam
May 18, 2009

Oh man Heidi, just did this in a cast-iron skillet tonight and it turned out beautifully. The finger-licking is really the best part. It's like eating potato chips except healthier and more satisfying.

 

Bill
May 19, 2009

Nice ! Favas are popular here in Chile ("habas"). This'll be a nice side-veg recipe when using the grill.
My Iranian wife cuts each raw bean in half and removes the skin before using in rice recipes - tedious project for watching TV.

 

ace
May 20, 2009

I like fava beans with tomatoes and onions.