By Leigh Champanis-King
Long summer evenings are calling for this light and flavourful dip…
While travelling (read: eating my way) through Greece, fava, a dish made from puréed yellow split peas, would often feature on restaurant menus. Usually listed under mezes, it was served drizzled with lashings of olive oil, chopped red onion, capers and a lemon wedge on the side. Paired with a salad and a few pieces of grilled bread, it became the perfect meal to refuel my body after a long day of walking around the islands. This flavourful dip is traditionally made from yellow split peas and a handful of other ingredients – which you probably already have lying around in your cupboard – and it won’t take you more than 30 minutes to make!
If you can’t find yellow split peas, you can substitute them with red split lentils (like I did) or any other bean really (I’ve also experimented with fava beans). Yellow split peas, while not readily available, can be found, but they come at a price. Super-low in fat and high in fibre, protein and B vitamins, red lentils are a powerhouse when it comes to nutritional benefits, while onion and garlic are filled with vitamin C. If you’re avoiding bread, serve the fava with your favourite mix of crudités (or simply eat it with a spoon, like I often did) and a chunky salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion, olives, green pepper and capers.
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 red onion, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 cup red split lentils
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Capers, for garnish
1/ Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and sauté until translucent.
2/ Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes – making sure not to let the garlic burn.
3/ Add the lentils and 1 cup water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender (adding more water if necessary).
4/ Allow to cool, then blend until smooth.
5/ Add the rest of the olive oil, the lemon juice and seasoning to taste and stir to combine.
6/ Decant into a serving bowl and garnish with red onion, capers, a drizzle of olive oil and a wedge of lemon.
7/ Serve with crudités or grilled bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with origanum.