Fava ~ Greek Yellow Split Pea Puree. I Insist You Try This Recipe

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split peas with capers and olive oilA split pea side dish that’s also a vegan main entrée – it’s this surprise called Fava.  The pools of lemon juice and Greek olive oil give you a visible idea of the flavor profile here, then you add those yummy capers.

Split peas on platterOur Greek cooking class teacher, Diane, had an interesting technique for onions and shallots – she grates them. The flavors are released when you slice through cells of these veggies, and grating does a nifty trick of it, unlike cutting which doesn’t get them all.  Cool, right?

The lemon juice and capers are the kicker – pungent!  Split peas, by their very nature, are not so flavorful without something dramatic like this.  Accompanied by a slice of feta and Greek olives, heaven. More?? A side of cooked brown rice and a Greek salad… filling, flavorful and really CHEAP.  Our lovely fish-shaped platter is a favorite vacation memento from Barbados, in case you are wondering. We saw plenty of these in the arms of sun-kissed travelers while at the airport.

This Fava recipe comes to you courtesy of Diane Moutsopoulos.  Like the idea of a Greek cooking class in your LA-area home?  CONTACT: Diana Moutsopoulos, dmoutsop@gmail.com, 310-486-1589

Fava ~ Yellow Split Pea Puree

  • 3 cups yellow split peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots, grated (or 1/2 red onion)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

To serve:

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dried Greek oregano
  • Capers
  • Chopped green onion
  • Olive oil for drizzling

Place the split peas and bay leaf in a large pot. Cover generously with water (by a few inches).  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the split peas are soft and the liquid has reduced to leave a thick “porridge.”  (Use a potato masher to achieve a smoother consistency if needed.)

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the grated shallot or onion.  Cook gently until soft and almost caramelized.  About 20 minutes before the split peas have finished cooking, add the shallots to pot along with the salt.

To serve, spread fava onto each plate about 1 inch thick. Using the back of a spoon, create little “furrows” (to catch the olive oil and lemon juice). Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; sprinkle with oregano, capers and chopped green onion.  Ad a twist or two of freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

Tips: for a richer dish, puree the split peas with an immersion blender while adding a steady stream of olive oil (use about 3/4 cup olive oil).

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marry August 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Just finished eating this delicious meal. My split pea soup days are over-I like this fava recipe better. I topped mine with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and asparagus. Thanks for the inspiration.

2 Diana August 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Glad you enjoyed this dish so much, Patti! So healthy, so delicious!!! In Greece Fava is sort of a base for a lot of things, similar to polenta, so one could get creative with the toppings. I’ve even seen it topped with red wine braised squid, for example! Or, if you want to puree it with extra olive oil, it makes a cheap party dip that is a tasty alternative to hummus!

But this is a purist’s way of enjoying Fava and one I love the most. Smoked fish of any kind is a great traditional accompaniment on the side – my husband and I love smoked sardines.

3 Kath August 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

You’re right – I must try this!

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