Fava / Φάβα (Greek Yellow Split Pea Dip)

If you came here looking for a recipe made with fava beans or broad beans, you might be a little disappointed. Traditional Greek fava dip is made with yellow split peas and not with beans as the name might imply. To make fava, yellow split peas are cooked until they fall apart and pureed with some onion, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil to make a velvety, yellow-tinted dip that’s slightly reminiscent of hummus in texture, yet quite distinctive in taste. The dip is often served as a meze or appetiser and can be eaten as is, or served with bread, pita or lagana (a special, seasonal type of flat-bread made for Lent) on the side. Fava is a staple Lenten dish (though you can eat it all year round, of course!), as its plant-based / vegan and nutrient-dense. Most versions do contain olive oil, which some people choose not to consume on most Lenten days, but the dip could technically be made without oil by adding more water or lemon juice (though, olive oil is best for that smooth texture).


Any Greek will tell you that the tastiest fava come from Santorini, where the volcanic-rich soil of the island gives the split peas a special, unbeatable taste. But, while this may be true (honestly, I don’t have a refined-enough palate to taste a huge difference), real Santorini fava may be hard to find and are quite expensive, so you can use any good quality dried yellow split pea to make this dip.


Fava / Φάβα (Greek Yellow Split Pea Dip)

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  • V
  • VG
  • GF
  • DF
Simple plant-based Greek dip made with yellow split peas (for Lent)
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:45 mins
  • Serves:6
  • Freezable:No

Nutrition per portion

  • 250g dried yellow split peas, or Santorini fava
  • 1 small red onion, diced and divided in two
  • 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500ml water, or vegetable broth
  • Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • salted capers and/or black olives, to serve (optional)
  • bread, pita or lagana, to serve
  1. Place dried peas in a colander or bowl and rinse with cold water until the water turns (mostly) clear. Also check for small stones or sticks that could be hiding in the peas and discard them.
  2. Place peas in a saucepan together with half of the diced red onion, the garlic clove and the bay leaf. Add 500ml of water and a pinch of salt (don’t add all the salt yet at this point) and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and continue cooking on low heat for 30 - 40 minutes until the peas start to soften, skimming off the foam and stirring occasionally. If your peas refuse to soften within this time, add a little bit more water if necessary and cook longer until they do.
  3. Once the peas are tender and start to fall apart slightly, take off the lid and continue cooking for another 10 – 15 minutes until the peas start to look slightly dry - most of the liquid should be gone. Stir frequently to void burning.
  4. Once the peas are very soft and ‘dry’, remove from heat and allow some of the residual liquid to steam off and allow the peas cool slightly.
  5. Add cooked peas to a food processor together with the lemon juice and olive oil and process until smooth (alternatively use an immersion blender). Season with more salt to taste.
  6. To serve, scoop fava dip onto a plate and sprinkle over the other half of the diced red onion, some capers and/or olives and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with bread, pita or lagana.

Fava dip can be kept refrigerated in an air-tight container for several days.      

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