Traditional Greek Fava is one of the best things I tasted in Greece. All it takes is a handful of ingredients and half an hour. Serve with plenty of bread and red wine!
Alright, I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t I *just* post a fava bean dip recipe? Um, yes. That’s awkward.
But, okay, here’s the thing: Greek Fava (the recipe in *this* post) is different from fava bean dip. In fact, it’s not even made from fava beans. It’s made from yellow split peas!
I truly have no idea why this needs to be so confusing, but if I had to guess I’d say it has something to do with language. I’m notoriously bad with foreign languages (although I can order a beer in four now…. so impressive, I know), so don’t ask me to explain this one to you.
If you know why Greek fava is not made from fava beans (or why fava beans are named after a yellow split pea dip… kinda a chicken-and-the-egg problem here), leave it in the comments!
Okay, so on to actually talking about the fava.
Here’s the lowdown: cook some yellow split peas with onions and garlic. Add olive oil. Blend. Taste and add salt.
Transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Eat. (preferably with homemade herb & honey french bread!)
How easy was that?
With so few ingredients, quality makes all the difference. One of my favorite local brands, Bob’s Red Mill, conveniently sells yellow split peas, so those are the ones I buy. Great quality, so look for them in the grocery store. You can also grab them on Amazon.
I had this for the first time when I was visiting Athens; I saw it on a menu, and when I ordered it the restaurant’s proprietor told me how unusual it was for a tourist to order fava. Not sure if that is actually true, or if he was just talking nonsense, but either way this definitely needs to be something that everyone eats on a regular basis!
I like to make this as an appetizer, or part of a larger spread of Greek recipes. Set out a few dishes, open some wine, and have a little party!
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Here’s Your Recipe!
- 2 cups (~500g) dry yellow split peas, rinsed
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped red onion
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Paprika for garnish (optional)
- Place the split peas in a large saucepan with 5 cups of warm water. Set the burner to high heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Skim any foam that forms on the surface of the liquid, then add the red onion, scallion, and garlic. Return the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once the peas are tender, turn off the heat and add the olive oil and salt. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture (or process in batches in a tabletop blender). Taste and add more salt as needed.
- The fava will thicken as it cools. Serve topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika; provide crusty bread and/or sliced vegetables for dipping.