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

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

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

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

    Soma
  • 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!

    Elissar
  • 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.

    Christine
  • 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?

    SeizeThePresent
  • 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.

    Yasmine
  • 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!

    Caroline
  • 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

    David Kay
  • 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?

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

    Marissa Makes
  • 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.

    Darien
  • 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.

    Dana McCauley
  • 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!

    Jen (Modern Beet)
  • 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.

    gastroanthropologist
  • 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.

    Lisa C.
  • 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 :)

    chika
  • 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!

    Berna
  • Yes, the glug should be a unit of volume!

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

    Brenda
  • I love this idea! Also, a "couple glugs" of oil should become a new official term!

    Christina
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