Broiled Fava Beans

Cooking Fava Beans in a Flash

April 19, 2010 · 40 comments

Grilled fava beans are soooo last year. Everyone was doing it. Fancy pants restaurants, Top tier magazines, big league food blogs. I mean, everyone who is anyone in the food world grilled up some fava beans.

I didn’t. Nope, not me. I stuck to the good ol’ fashioned, painstakingly intensive process of peeling, blanching, and peeling again, only to watch my big bounty of favas turn into a measly little pile of small beans. Pretty much enough for me, and maybe my 3-year-old niece.

I really wanted to grill fava beans. Every time I plucked a tiny bean from its shell I cursed my crappy backyard grill. Stupid grill. If you didn’t almost burn my house down I’d be eating favas instead of trying to dislodge them from under my fingernails.

My grill still doesn’t work. But my broiler does–and it produced smooth, tenderly steamed beans inside of smoky, charred pods. There’s no way grilled favas are better than this. There’s no way being homeless from trying to grill favas is better than this.

It may sound gross, but eat the whole thing. Pop the beans from their fuzzy home and then finish off the empty pod. I didn’t believe it either, but I caught my friend George fishing pods out from the compost pile and figured it must be worth it. It was (but judge for yourself. If you have other nasty stuff in your compost, this is probably a bad idea.)

I can’t believe I ate favas in 10 minutes flat and didn’t even step outside. Or set anything on fire. I guess that means I win.

I almost forgot! A reader of mine grows fava beans in Berkeley, and emailed me asking for recipes. Help him use up his stash by leaving a comment with your favorite fava dish (extra points if it doesn’t have cheese.)

Garlicky Broiled Fava Beans
Cook time: 10 min

Fava Beans (the amount depends on how many people)
A few garlic cloves put through a garlic press
Extra-virgin olive oil
Course sea salt (and whatever spices you like: cumin, black pepper, a bit of cayenne, smoked paprika…)

Preheat your broiler.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spread out your fava beans. Drizzle on olive oil and salt. Set the tray about 5-7 inches from the heat source. If it’s too close, your pods will burn before the beans cook.

Broil for 5 minutes, and flip the beans. You may need to shuffle them around a bit too if some are cooking before others. Cook for 5 more minutes. When pods are nicely charred, they’re done.

Remove, and toss in a large bowl with crushed garlic, a little more olive oil and course sea salt. Eat with your hands.

Where I Shopped:
Fava Beans: Oakland Farmers’ Market, Temescal

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For The Love of Food | Healthy Eating Tips - Upgrade Your Healthstyle | Summer Tomato
April 23, 2010 at 7:02 am

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Darya April 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Awesome! I totally agree that eating the pod is delicious this time of year (later in the season they can get a bit gnarly). I’m making these soon!


maggie April 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Yum! What a great idea.


arugulove April 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Love this idea! I’m super excited to try it – thanks!


Mike April 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I must admit I’m really skeptical of eating the pods. Really? This goes against everything my Italian mother taught me. Seems like a LOT of fiber. Darya has not steered me wrong yet, I guess. Does Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market have good ones? Are you picking out the little ones? I’m usually fearless with most food… but this seems crazy.


Allison Arevalo April 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Do it, Mike, be fearless! I haven’t looked for them at the Bowl or Monterey Market. I know you can find good ones at pretty much all of the East Bay farmers’ markets. I don’t just pick the small ones, but I do search for ones that are bright green and relatively free from blemishes. Darya is right though, only eat the pods in the spring, they get tougher as the season progresses.


rach April 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm

double delicious – idea (I missed that trend last year but then I am rubbish) and photos -lovely


Sundance April 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm

EiEoxw Kudos to you! I hadn’t thought of that!


Susan April 20, 2010 at 4:41 am

Allison, I’ve always been afraid of the labor involved in cooking fava beans. I really want to try this but pardon my ignorance. Do you leave the fuzzy pod on when you broil them or remove it first? I’m confused. Thanks.


Allison Arevalo April 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Hi Susan! You leave the fuzzy pod on. Put the whole thing on the baking sheet and drizzle on the oil. When you eat it, pop the beans from the fuzzy pod and eat them whole (you can peel off the outer layer of the bean if you want, but it’s not really necessary). If you have fresh, young fava beans, eat the fuzzy pods too (I was skeptical, but they were really good!)


Susan April 25, 2010 at 7:44 am

Thanks Allison. Fascinating. Monterey Market here I come.
Oh and btw, mazal tov on finding the space, great news. Sounds like a totally darling place. Can’t wait.


heather @ chiknpastry April 20, 2010 at 6:42 am

great idea! i won’t lie – i also did not step foot on the fava bean train and actually have never cooked them. next time i’m out and about i’ll definitely grab some and try this though – seems to easy to not do for a quick weeknight side :) thanks!


Dana April 20, 2010 at 8:32 am

Clearly, I am behind the times because I had never heard of grilling them or of eating the whole thing. I just bought 3 pounds of them to make a puree and it kills me that I will be composting 3/4 of what I bought.


maria April 20, 2010 at 9:34 am

I grew up shelling favas. Bolivians have a dish called Plato Paceño – boiled fava beans, boiled potatoes, boiled corn, fried cheese, and llajwa (a spicy sauce) over all – may not sound exciting but it’s delicious! But yeah, you had to peel a huge mountain of favas to feed a family of four, because they were the best part of the dish. Can’t wait to try this method. Another recipe I’ve made is a simple hummus-type spread – steamed favas pureed with minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, maybe some parmesan reggiano, on toasted bread. Sometimes add a little mint. Pretty basic, but so Spring-y!


Allison Arevalo April 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Maria, that sounds awesome! My husband’s been to Bolivia but he said he’s never had it (his lose!) Although sounds like I’ll have to make it for him soon.


Darienne April 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

Perfect timing, thank you! I’ve been trying to decide which night this week I’d have time to pick and prepare the favas in our garden — and now you’ve made it easy for me. Last year, I ended up giving away my fava beans because I needed to get tomatoes in their place and had no time to painstakingly prepare them. Never again!


Janet April 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I have to make these! I was at a restaurant recently where they served them grills. Really, I thought? You can eat the whole thing? I did, and they were delicious!


Angela@spinachtiger April 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm

This is why I am devoted to good food blogs. I didn’t know about GRILLING them. I’m so out of it. I learn something new every day. And, I hope my food life continues on this learning curve forever. Makes waking up exciting!

Now on to find some fava beans.


Foodelf April 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Based on an old Chez Panisse recipe, this is entirely responsible for making me a fava-junky.

Fava Beans with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Rosemary
5 lbs Fava beans
3 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
1/4 cup water
3 large garlic cloves — coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper

Remove the beans from the pods, parboil for 1 minute, and drain in a colander. Run cold water over the beans to cool them. Using your fingernail, break the outer skin of the beans and squeeze the beans out between your forefinger and thumb.

Warm the olive oil with the rosemary in a 9-inch sauté pan. Add the beans, water, garlic, salt, and a little ground pepper. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, cover the pot, and allow to stew for about 5 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the beans are slightly softened. Continue to cook the beans for about 20 minutes more so that the flavors combine and penetrate. Stir the beans often to prevent them from sticking. Grind a little more pepper over the beans just before serving.

Notes: The distinctive flavor and somewhat creamy texture of favas is delicious with roast lamb or chicken. The simplest way to prepare them is to briefly stew them in olive oil with rosemary leaves and chopped garlic; their subtle flavor harmonizes perfectly with these ingredients. Otherwise, butter can be substituted for the olive oil and the favas can be stewed with diced pancetta or parboiled smoked bacon, thyme sprigs, a little lemon juice, and be enriched toward the end of the cooking with cream.


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best April 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm

This is a fantastic idea! I’ve tried grilling fava beans, and enjoyed the smokey flavors, but hated the clean up. This method sounds like a great solution!


Carolyn April 21, 2010 at 6:36 am

This is blowing my mind. How did I not know that you could do this? Can’t wait to try it.

Also blowing my mind: how wonderful your website has gotten, and how I sort of forgot to look at it for a while. I won’t be making that mistake again.


TN April 22, 2010 at 11:09 am


Thanks for the recipe. I’ll try it.

As promised, I have freshly picked favas ready for you to pick up. They will be very green and not starchy at all. I’ll communicate the details via email.



Nancy April 23, 2010 at 8:36 am

Hi Allison,
I just discovered Local Lemons today and am really enjoying reading your posts! I live in nyc but was in Berkeley last April doing an internship at the community-supported kitchen Three Stone Hearth. What an awesome town. You’ve made me very nostalgic for the farmer’s markets, Berkeley Bowl, and Monterey Market!

Great tip on the favas; I had no idea the pods were edible. I have a broiler (no grill), and will give this a try when I get my hands on some this spring. My favorite fava preparation is to blanch the shelled beans and toss them with olive oil, thinly sliced fresh mint, minced spring garlic, and s&p.


Molly @ molly's menu April 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

The photos for this post are fantastic! I love the different hues of green that come through from the beans at various stages of cooking and the raw olive oil. I also appreciate knowing where you shopped for your ingredients. That’s a good addition to the write-up. Thanks!


Chef Dennis April 24, 2010 at 4:49 am

looks like a great way to cook fava beans!! I do grill a lot of veggies but never thought of doing pod beans…will have to try it with sugar snap peas too…..
thanks for the inspiration!


Gina April 28, 2010 at 6:20 am

Growing up in Italy we always had fava row ,just out of the shell with a slice of good crusty bread ,olive oil, some prosciutto and a glass of wine. When is the season people usually eat then for dinner expecially when you have a lot of friends around the table ,you submerge the table of fava. Today I live in Maine and we are lucky if we even find some for a short period of time ,but when the local store has any a call my friends and tell them thet the fava are in!!


Kasey May 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Oh I must tell you that your post really inspired me at the Farmer’s Market this weekend. I bought a HUGE bag of fava beans that I can’t wait to broil. Your pictures make me think of a gloriously sunshine-y day.


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