Grilled Kohlrabi Fava Beans and Horseradish Greens ‘En Papier d’Aluminium’

Grilled Kohlrabi with fava beans and horseradish greensA few posts back I wrote about how we’ve been receiving a CSA box each week from Montalbano Farms and warned you I’d be getting creative with it. In that post there was a photo of some weekly goodies which held a couple of items I’d never used before: kohlrabi and horseradish greens (even prompted a call from my mom asking how I use the horseradish greens). First, I needed to know what the heck kohlrabi was and how to use it and the horseradish greens. Yup, sometimes I just order things blindly.

Kohlrabi is a goofy looking vegetable kind of like a turnip but with antennae-like greens sticking up from it. Translated from German, its name actually means “cabbage turnip.” Kohlrabi’s outer skin feels like a cabbage but the inside looks like and has the texture of a turnip. Taste-wise it is like a cross between a turnip and radish; a sweetish, zippy taste. It can be prepared raw or cooked, providing you first peel away the outer skin. So what did the Flavor Bible say about things to pair with kohlrabi? Garlic, lemon, and…oh what’s that in the middle of the list…horseradish. Horseradish greens taste exactly what you’d expect them to taste like, mildly horseradishy, so I now had a use for the greens too.

How’d the fava beans make it in? I’ve been using fava beans this spring and have taken to picking some up when I see them so I had a bag of unshelled beans waiting in the fridge. Lucky us! I thought the sweet tender beans would complement the sharpness of the kohlrabi and horseradish so I shelled them and added to the mix. Fava beans definitely require some extra work (unless you can find some shelled) but if you want fresh, you have to work for it, and fresh fava beans are worth it. You first have to take them out of the pod, then peel off the outer shell. It’ll take 3-4 lbs to get around 1 cup of shelled beans. According to the internet the easiest way to peel them is to make a slit then blanch quickly in boiling water, then squeeze the bean out. I just peel them off with a small paring knife. I’ve also read if fava beans are young and tender enough you can simply leave the shell on. Haven’t done that yet but it would greatly speed up the process. If our CSA ever has them I may try this.

Beautiful green fava bean treasure inside!  Worth the work.
Beautiful green fava bean treasure inside! Worth the work.

One technique I really like using in the summertime is grilling vegetables in a foil pouch. It can’t get much easier than chopping up some vegetables, drizzling with olive oil, seasoning, and throwing the packet on the grill for 5-10 minutes depending on what’s inside. The only drawback is you can’t really check on them to see if they’re done. It’s pretty much a learn-by-trial-and-error process for the grillmaster. Just like on the stovetop, the smaller you cut the vegetables the quicker things will cook so slice the kohlrabi thin. The good news is all of these vegetables can be eaten raw so cooking to perfection isn’t really required! There’s nothing wrong with having crunchy vegetables and to be honest this would probably make a pretty good raw salad if you julienned the kohlrabi.

Do I need to tell you this goes really really really well with a grilled steak? Grill the steak then throw the foil packet on while the beef rests.

Grilled Kohlrabi Fava Beans and Horseradish Greens

  • 4-6 kohlrabi, trimmed and sliced thin
  • ¾ – 1 C fava beans (3-4 lbs of shelled bean pods)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 C chopped horseradish greens
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedge

Turn on your grill and bring to a high heat.

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil about 20 inches long. Layer the kohlrabi slices, fava beans, shallot, and garlic on one half of the foil leaving at least an inch around the edges. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the layers so it is covered with a thin film. You don’t want to drown it but you want enough oil to give some flavor and help cook the vegetables. Fold the aluminum foil back over itself so the vegetables are between two sheets of aluminum. Starting with the long edges from the back fold, crimp the edges over on themselves a few times tightly so no air can get in or liquids out. Seal up the remaining short edge the same way.

Reduce the grill burner to medium and place aluminum foil packet on the grill. Grill for 10-12 minutes carefully turning over once in order to avoid tearing the foil.

Remove from grill. Carefully open packet, there will be very hot steam coming out, and pour vegetables into a bowl. Season to taste if needed, squeeze the lemon wedge over, and mix.


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