Traditional Greek Fava is one of the best things I tasted in Greece. This Greek Fava recipe only takes is a handful of ingredients and half an hour. Serve with plenty of bread and fresh veggies!
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, 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 Greek fava recipe.
How to Make Fava
Here is how to make Greek fava. It is so easy and it is dairy free and gluten free!
Assemble the ingredients and chop the red onions and scallions.
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.
Next, 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.
This Greek fava dip will thicken as it cools. Serve topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.
Provide crusty bread (preferably with homemade honey and herb bread!) and/or sliced vegetables for dipping.
How easy was that?
With so few ingredients, quality makes all the difference.
The island of Santorini is known for growing some of the best yellow split peas. In fact, you might have heard of Santorini fava, which is fava made from the yellow split peas from Santorini island. These peas are known for being extra tasty with a velvety texture and sweeter than others. “Santorini Fava”, is a “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) product that comes from the plant “Lathyrus Clymenum L.” which has been grown exclusively in Santorini for more than 3,500 years.
So, it is your choice. You can use any yellow split peas for this recipe, or you can splurge and get Santorini Fava Beans (PDO) from Greece and make Authentic Santorini Fava. If you are going to get the Greek Fava Beans, then you will want to order 2 bags to have enough for this recipe.
I had this for the first time when I was visiting Athens (check out How to See Athens in 48 Hours); 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! It is a great Mediterranean Diet recipe.
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!
Don’t forget to check our all-time reader’s favorite: greek tzatziki sauce.
This Greek Fava recipe is quite versatile and lends itself to a variety of modifications to suit your tastes and dietary needs. Here are a few variations you might consider:
Adding Herbs and Spices: You could try adding fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or thyme for a burst of freshness. Alternatively, spices like cumin, turmeric, or even a touch of cayenne pepper can add a warm depth of flavor.
Lemon Zest/Juice: For a tangy twist, add a bit of freshly grated lemon zest or a squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking. This will give your Fava a bright, citrusy note that’s particularly refreshing in the summer.
With Vegetables: You can add finely diced vegetables such as bell peppers or tomatoes for added texture and flavor. You can sauté these before adding to the Fava for a deeper flavor.
Vegan Option: The recipe is already vegan. However, for an extra touch, you could top the Fava with a vegan feta cheese or olives just before serving.
Roasted Garlic Version: Instead of using raw garlic, you could roast a head of garlic in the oven, then squeeze out the soft, caramelized cloves and add them to the Fava. This would give it a sweet, mellow garlic flavor that’s absolutely delicious.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yellow split peas are a type of legume, similar to lentils. They’re dried and split in half, which makes them quicker to cook.
The word ‘fava’ comes from the Greek word for ‘yellow split peas.’ While it’s the same word used for fava beans in many other languages, in this context, it refers specifically to a dip made from yellow split peas.
While you could technically use green split peas, I don’t recommend that because the flavor will be different, and the color of the final dish will be green rather than yellow.
Greek Fava has a creamy texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with the savory ingredients like garlic, onion, and olive oil.
It’s usually served as a dip or spread with fresh bread and/or vegetables. It can also be used as a side dish.
Yes, you can use a food processor or even a regular blender to puree the cooked split peas.
The foam can contain impurities that might affect the taste and appearance of the final dish.
Any crusty bread, like a baguette or sourdough, goes well with Greek Fava. You can also use pita bread or flatbread.
Yes, if you like your food spicy, feel free to add some chili flakes or a chopped fresh chili when you’re sautéing the onions and garlic.
PDO is a label given by the European Union to protect the names of specific regional foods. In this case, Santorini Fava has been recognized for its unique quality and taste due to the specific growing conditions on Santorini island.
Canned split peas are already cooked and might not give the same texture or taste as dried ones. I recommend using dry yellow split peas for the best result.
To make your Fava creamier, you can add more olive oil or a little bit of vegetable broth or water when blending the cooked peas.
Yes, Greek Fava is high in fiber and protein, and low in fat. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan, making it a great choice for many different diets.
As the Fava cools, the starches in the split peas continue to absorb the liquid, causing the mixture to thicken. If it becomes too thick, you can simply stir in a bit of water or olive oil to loosen it up.
Storage and Reheating Info
Storing Leftovers in the Refrigerator
Once you’ve made your Greek Fava and enjoyed a delicious meal, you may have some leftovers. The great news is that Greek Fava stores really well in the refrigerator. To store, allow the Fava to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place it in an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for up to a week. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply reheat it in a microwave or a saucepan, adding a little water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
If you’d like to store the Fava for an extended period, freezing is a great option. Allow the Fava to cool completely and place it in freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Make sure to leave a little space at the top as the Fava might expand as it freezes. Frozen Greek Fava can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use the frozen Fava, the best way to thaw it is to transfer it to the refrigerator and let it defrost slowly overnight.
Once it’s thawed, you can reheat it in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a bit of water if necessary to achieve your preferred consistency. If you’re in a rush, you can also defrost it in the microwave using the defrost function, then heat it up on the stove or continue heating it in the microwave.
Remember, it’s important to stir the Fava occasionally as it reheats to ensure it heats evenly and to maintain a creamy consistency. Enjoy!
More Popular Recipes to Try:
- Thai Beef Skewers and Fava Beans
- Greek Chicken Pasta in 20 Minutes
- Moroccan Lentil and Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup
- Easy Uruguayan Bean Salad
- Potato Skordalia
- Classic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salad)
- Greek Feta and Red Pepper Dip
Greek Fava 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.