Greek Fava salad spread – An amazing yellow split peas cold salad!
The most delicious and velvety Greek Fava salad spread for your meze plate with a mild spicy kick!
My philosophy in cooking is to buy and properly handle excellent produce by cooking it as simple as possible highlighting its special taste.
Yellow split peas is one of those products that I categorize as an acquired taste. When I first tried it at a young age I didn’t like it but over the years it started to become one of my favorite culinary delights.
Greek Fava (Yellow split peas) and its different varieties
There are 2 types of split peas the yellow (also known as Dal or Dahl ) and the green. The yellow split peas is made from the legume Lathouri and the green split peas is made from the peas inside the pod.
Greek Fava should not be confused with Fava beans aka broad beans. They are different things.
Two of the best Fava varieties in my country one is from Santorini island and the other one from Schinousa island. Having tasted both I can confidently say that Fava from Schinousa is the tastiest yellow split peas I have ever tried so far in my life. I totally recommend it because it is something special and you should give it a try at least once in your lifetime.
The problem with the Schinousa Fava variety is that is very hard to get even if you live in the heart of Athens as I do. For that reason, I tried to recreate the taste of Schinousa’s Fava and I believe I have succeeded! That is the reason I changed my recipe to the current one that you will see below so everyone can try this amazing taste of the Schinousa Fava (or at least very, very similar to it)!
Schinoussa or Schinousa is a small island near Koufonisia and below the island of Naxos on the map which is part of the small Cyclades.
I tried the exceptional Schinoussa variety of Fava for the first time at the Cycladic Gastronomy Festival Nikolaos Tselementes which took place on the Greek island Sifnos in September 2019 and lasted 3 days.
I liked it so much that I bought a bag of it within 5 minutes from the moment I tasted it even though the price was a bit high! It was really worth it because Schinoussa fava is the best variety of yellow split peas I have tasted so far.
The photos from the festival are taken with my mobile phone and do not have a very good resolution but apart from the beautiful atmosphere I wanted to show you the traditional costumes of the Cycladic islands.
Argyro Barbarigou together with Zeta Douka were the hosts and spokespersons of the festival that ended beautifully with traditional Greek songs.
What can we accompany Greek fava with?
Fava spread salad is considered an appetizer and can accompany anything that can be regarded as a meze, or tapas, and so much more!
To name a few: Fish (small or big or squids or calamari but also anchovies), sausages, and cured pork. It also goes very well with Greek salad, fried potatoes, green salads, and legume salads.
Something similar to the Greek Fava would be Hummus dip. Whatever goes with hummus can also accompany the Greek Fava.
2 secrets for a smooth fava spread
- The first secret for a velvety fava is to cook it well. If it is not cooked very well, whatever method you try to make it smooth will not work and it will always have small lumps inside.
- The second secret is that you need to blend it or use your food processor or the hand blender while it is still hot but not boiling. And this stage is very important for a velvety fava.
You should also keep in mind that the fava thickens a lot as time passes and while it will be in liquid form after you blend it, it will thicken up after a few hours in the fridge.
Greek Fava salad spread – An amazing yellow split peas cold salad!
- 500g Yellow split peas
- 4 cups Water (1.250ml)
- 4 Tbsp Olive oil, extra virgin
- 2 Onions, cut into quarters
- Juice from1 Lemon, for cooking (about 3 Tbsp)
- 1 Lemon cut into slices, for serving
- 1/3 tsp Cumin
- 1/3 tsp Red chili flakes
- 2 pinches of Salt
- 1 pinch of Black Pepper
- Rinse the yellow split peas well by changing 3-4 waters until the water comes out relatively clear.
- Add 4 cups of water to a pot over high heat add the yellow split peas and bring to a boil.
- Skim the foam that they will produce on top and add the onions cut into four, 1/3 tsp cumin, 1/3 tsp red chili flakes and reduce the flame to low (3/9).
- Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring 1 or 2 times but no more than that.
- After 30 minutes reduce the fire to the minimum of your stove and let it simmer for 10 more minutes uncovered and the Greek Fava spread salad is cooked.
- Fava (Yellow split pea) is ready when it is easily crushed with a spoon.
- With a Hand Blender: Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the pot and blend it inside the pot while it is still hot.
- With a food processor: Your food processor should have a small hole on top so the steam can escape. If it does not, do not use your food processor to blend it as it will damage it. If it has a hole on top, add the Fava, little by little with the cooked onions included, a little lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a little black pepper, and blend it while it is still hot and the fava is ready.
- With a blender: Add half the Fava, half the lemon juice, half the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and blend until it resembles a puree. Repeat for the other half of the Fava.
- Let the Fava rest for about an hour at room temperature, and then add it to your fridge preferably to rest overnight before serving it.
- Serving suggestions: It is served cold as a salad/spread/dip or a starter with sliced onions on top, a drizzle of Olive Oil, perhaps some Kalamata Olives, and a few lemon slices on the side.
- The small amounts of cumin and red chili flakes that I mention in the recipe are not enough to influence the Fava greatly. They give Fava a mild spiciness but you will not be able to identify them if you have a taste of this Fava without reading the ingredients.
- The fava should be watery when we blend it or pass it through a food processor. Its texture should be like porridge; a little thicker than a pancake mixture. If it is too dry it will come out clogged even if we blend it.
- When fava boils it produces a lot of foam on top and we must be careful to skim it as soon as it foams because it can very easily spill out of the pot.
- Different brands of Yellow split peas may have some small differences (besides the difference in taste) in the amount of water they can accept + – 100 to 150 ml more or less. Once you find the brand you like, little by little you will be able to put exactly the water you need to cook it to the point.
The recipe was updated on 15/08/2022