Making Space For Greek Fava

Is there such a malady as non-buyer's remorse? Because if so, I think I have it. I have all the symptoms.

Our suitcases were at full capacity with numerous cans of organic olive oil from a recent trip to Crete and many tins of local raw honey from there, too.  We had several incredible wines from Santorini nestled so carefully in our suitcases as well.  So, I ask myself: would a bag of beans really have made such a difference in getting that suitcase closed before heading back home?

The answer is not really. So, here I am, chastising myself over not picking up a bag or two of the delicious Greek fava grown in the rich volcanic soil of Santorini. I could be whipping up a batch right now, at home, this very moment. It was a poor decision not to include those yellow nuggets of yumminess and fiber on my packing list and I will just have to live with the it -- symptoms and all.

Why Would You Want To Buy A Bag of Greek Fava Beans?

As confusing as this sounds, Greek fava has nothing to do with the fava bean. Rather, Greek fava is a split pea made into a smooth and delicate and creamy spread served with various toppings like onion, lemon juice, capers and olive oil. Greek fava has a similar look and texture to hummus and is served typically at taverns with bread as an appetizer.

Besides tasting great, there are loads of health benefits to eating Greek fava, or yellow split pea.  Here are some of them and why you should make room for them in your suitcase:

Watch your energy soar and your mood elevate.  Yellow split peas or Greek fava, are rich in two energy producing nutrients: protein and carbohydrates, They are not a complete protein but are particularly rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is needed to manufacture the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, hunger and sleep. They are rich in B-1 and folate aiding in converting the foods into energy for your cells. Folate is great for immune function, preventing birth defects and to help form red blood cells.

The minerals are abundant.  Split peas are a mineral-dense food containing phosphorus, calcium, and potassium which helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure and promotes healthy circulation. Split peas are high in the trace minerals molybdenum and manganese that aide your metabolism.

They are fiber rich.  Like beans, the Greek fava has lots of roughage.  Insoluable and soluable fiber are in these gems which promote healthy digestion, weight management and helping you feel full longer.

How to Prepare Greek Fava

I wrote about the wonders of the Mediterranean Diet here and here and living it for several weeks during our visit to Greece was nothing to complain about.   The Greek fava was one of my family's favorite new dishes we tried while there, and we liked to order it all over the islands to see how the various restaurants made the dish.

Because we loved it so, I feel compelled to share how good it really is with you, even though I have the misfortune of not being able to experience making it myself - yet.  I can, however, provide several recipe links to others who were smart enough to bring back some fava from their Greece visits. Please click here and here and here for several versions of how those brilliant, better-packing individuals make fava.

While you do that, I am left here with only my imagination on how I would have adorned that creamy plate. Here are some ways I might have taken some liberties with the dish and how I might have used it:
  • Fire up the grill and prepare some marinated kebabs and serve them with the fava as a dip with plenty of chopped rosemary and thyme.
  • Create a quick flatbread and use the fava as a base and sprinkle with feta, tomato, arugula and minced olives.
  • Assemble a breakfast sandwich and use the fava as a spread on the bread and slip a perfect poached or fried egg in between with some greens or tomato slices.
  • Make a big batch as an appetizer and portion out half of it and spice one half with a squirt of Sriracha or minced chipotle chili and cumin and serve two versions of the dip - one smokey, spicy and one mild.
  • Fill vegetables like cherry tomatoes, mushroom caps, zucchini or an avocado half with the delectable spread, sprinkle lots of crushed pine nuts or pistachios on top and place them under the broiler until bubbly.
  • Toss fava with some warm pasta and be generous with some minced chive and parsley and lots of lemon. 

Wondering -- has anyone attempted to make Greek fava in a crock pot? I guess I will have to imagine how that would turn out too! Have you had Greek fava? What did you think?


  1. Hello! Having lived in Greece for many years, of course this is a post after my own heart! I have shared big plates of 'fava' many times in Greek restaurants, so it's really great to read a post like this with all the health benefits and, most importantly, how to cook it.
    You might be interested to know that after reading this post, I too now have buyer's remorse! I recently left Greece for semi-good (I'm sure I'll back at some point though as I own a flat there) and now I wish I'd brought back olive oil and wine! At least I grabbed a big tub of tahini! :-)

  2. Hi Helen - What a lucky one you are to have lived in Greece and experienced the wonderful variety of healthy foods there like fava. For those of you who have not already, please check out her food blog, Scrummy Lane, providing great inspiration and recipes from all her world travels! As always, thanks for poppin' in, Helen, and next time you go back to Greece, bring an extra suitcase, right?!