I-ATE: Fava, the epitome of traditional, rustic Greek cooking!

September 30, 2017 11:00 am

If you have ever been to Greece, you are probably familiar with the delicious yellow split pea purée called fava (φάβα).

Not to be confused with the fava bean, which in Greece is called kouki (κουκί), fava is a traditional Greek dish of yellow split peas which Greeks call lathouria (λαθούρια). This tasty veggie dish coming straight from the Greek island of Santorini is basically a yellow split peas purée, served topped with a good drizzling of Greek olive oil, black olives, raw onion, feta and fresh crusty bread.

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What many are unaware of is the fact that “Santorini Fava” is a “Protected Designation of Origin” product that comes from “Lathyrus Clymenum L.”, a plant that grows exclusively in Santorini for more than 3,500 years.

Offered in tavernas all over the country and being standard fare on the Lenten table, fava is usually served at room temperature as a “mezes” (small dish) to be eaten alongside other small dishes (grilled octopus, anchovies, sardines, etc.) or as an appetizer before a fish-based main dish. Ιdeal for vegans as a warm starter, toast spread or dip, it will brighten up your meals, vegetables, salad and meat dishes.

For those not planning a trip to Greece soon, fava is very simple and quick to make. Yellow split peas are easy to find in Mediterranean and Indian markets, as well as many supermarkets. Besides, it is frugal, healthy and nutritious, as split peas are high in protein and low in fat, with 1g of fat per serving. Most of the calories come from protein and complex carbohydrates. The split pea is known to be a natural food source that contains some of the highest amounts of dietary fibre, containing 26g of fibre per 100g portion.

Looking for a fava recipe that actually tastes like the one served in Greece? This is the one for you!

Accompany with a glass of ouzo or tsipouro and enjoy!


  • 1 litre of boiling water
  • 200 g of yellow split peas
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1200 g of vegetable broth or 1 vegetable bouillon cube diluted in 1200 g of water
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

To serve with

  • roasted cherry tomatoes and onions
  • some fresh thyme
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil


  • Place the split peas in a bowl, pour the boiling water over it and stir with a wooden spoon until the water turns brown.
  • Drain and transfer to a separate bowl. Set aside until needed.
  • Chop carrot, onion and garlic into small bits and place them in a pot.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaves.
  • Place pot over high heat and sauté the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until they soften. Make sure they don’t turn too golden!
  • Add the split peas, stir and add the broth.
  • Add the rosemary and simmer for 15 minutes, until the water evaporates, stirring all the time.
  • When ready, remove from heat and discard the rosemary and bay leaves.
  • Transfer the contents of the pot to a food processor.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice and 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Beat until the mixture is smooth.
  • Serve with roasted cherry tomatoes and onions, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some thyme and fresh ground pepper.


A similar kind of fava is hummus, a creamy dip made with chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seed paste), lemons and garlic. In fact, the word hummus (which has various spellings) is an Arabic word meaning “chickpea”, a vegetable that has been cultivated throughout the Middle East for thousands of years. Although many regions around the world claim to be the place where hummus was first produced, its origin is unclear, because it has been around for a long time and in many different variations. However, contrary to what many people seem to think, hummus isn’t of Greek origin and the most likely scenario is that its exact origin has been lost in antiquity.


  • Akis’ Kitchen, “Traditional Greek Fava”. Available at: http://bit.ly/2wVCnSt (Accessed 26 September 2017)
  • Lazy cat kitchen (2016), “Greek fava with caramelised onions”. Available at: http://bit.ly/2fQQiik (Accessed 26 September 2017)
  • Minnaar, Michelle (2017), “Green Pea Fava”, Greedy gourmet. Available at: http://bit.ly/2xBa0pQ (Accessed 26 September 2017)
  • My little Expat Kitchen (2014), “The Greek Fava”. Available at: http://bit.ly/2yH5t5y (Accessed 26 September 2017)
  • SANTOWINES – Union of Santorini Cooperatives (n.d.), “Santorini Fava P.D.O. Protected designation of origin Santorini”. Available at: http://bit.ly/2wWbLvG (Accessed 26 September 2017)
  • Top Food Facts (2013), “The history of hummus”. Available at: http://bit.ly/2xBDWC6 (Accessed 26 September 2017)

Written by Georgia Nikolaidou – Terminology Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. BA in Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting from the Ionian University on Corfu and MA in Translation (EMT) from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Prepared by Pedro RamosTranslator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).

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