Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fava Bean Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

I've been looking for the perfect recipe for these giant dried fava beans I discovered one day at the Indian specialty market.  I've never cooked dried beans before, but I decided to give it a try as they aligned with my goal of buying food in its natural state whenever possible to retain maximum nutrients.  Also, I had read that the soaking-process involved in cooking beans reduces its gas-producing carbohydrates.

These spring-fresh beans were the key ingredient for Bissara, a Moroccan Fava Bean Dip.  This simple but tasty dip is accented with chopped parsley and lightly flavored with lemon juice, olive oil and cumin spice.  I served it with these Homemade Pita Chips for a nice crunch, and you can use vegetables such as carrot sticks, jicama and sliced red pepper to achieve the same texture.

Fava Bean Dip (adapted from Capay Organic Farms: check out their extensive list of user-submitted recipes for a variety of organic fruits and veggies)

1/2 lb dried fava beans
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt

1. Cooking the beans: Place the dried beans in a bowl with cold water (the water should measure 3 times the amount of beans). Soak the beans overnight. In the morning, rinse and rain them 3-4 times until the water runs clear.  Place the fava beans in a large saucepan.  Add enough water to cover the beans. Cover the pot, and cook over medium-high heat.  Skim the foam that rises to the top once the water boils. Once the foam is gone, simmer the beans on low heat with the top on until they are fully cooked.  Peel if the beans are large.*
beans will expand and soak up most of the water after 24 hrs
2. Prepare the dip: In a blender or food processor, combine half the beans, 1 tbsp water, and the lemon juice. (Add more liquid if you prefer a thinner dip.) Process, scraping down the sides with a spatula, until the mixture is fairly smooth. Add the remaining beans, oil, salt and cumin, and process until smooth.  Continue to add water if bean paste is too dry.  Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the parsley.

*Peeling the beans can be extremely time-consuming if you don't do it right. They should be peeled just like you eat edamame- squeezed out of the shell until the bean pops out.  I loved the taste of the home-cooked fava beans and thought the dish was wonderful when it was done; however, it was certainly labor-intensive with over 24 hrs of preparation! An alternative for those in a time-crunch might be to make this recipe using canned cannellini or Great Northern beans- you wouldn't get the same fresh, buttery flavor, but I'm sure the dip would be a hit nonetheless. 

Homemade Pita Chips:
-olive oil spritzer
-2 whole-wheat pita rounds
-chili powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with tin foil, and spray generously with the olive oil spritzer.  Cut whole-wheat pitas horizontally along folded edges to form 4 rounds total.  Then cut each round into 8 wedges like a pizza pie, so you have 32 pieces total.  Place triangles in a single layer on the baking pan, spray with another round of olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with paprika and chili pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until pita chips are crisp and brown. Cool and serve with the Fava Bean dip!


  1. I love fava beans. This sounds wonderful!

  2. dips=delicious. soooo yummy! never even heard of fava beans before!


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