Fava (Yellow Split Pea Puree) – The Mediterranean Superfood

This authentic Greek dish will be an absolute favorite of those who are already a fan of hummus or other veggie purees. Traditionally garnished with chopped onions and piquant green capers, fava offers a new exciting flavour.

Fava is a very popular dish in the traditional Greek taverns. In the old times it was considered the “food of the poor” in Greece for it is very cheap and easy to make.

But when it comes to the health benefits, fava is a super food.

Read the below and you will never look at fava as a second-rate food again.

Authentic Greek Fava - Mediterranean Food
Authentic Greek Fava with Capers

Fava – A golden delicacy from the island of Santorini

Interestingly enough these yellow beans are also linked to a controversial historical event. In 495BC, the well-known Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras was fleeing from an angry group of mobs. He had to escape through a field of fava beans. Despite teaching his followers, the Pythagoreans, to adhere to a primarily vegetarian diet, the mathematician himself despised the delicious yellow beans. When his enemies were just a few yards away, the wise man had to solve the most critical dilemma of his life: should he cross the field or face inevitable death? Ultimately, his fear of the plant led to his demise. A theory suggests that Pythagoras’s revulsion towards fava was triggered by the peculiar shape of the beans which resemble a human head.

On the other hand, along the history in Magna Graecia (which used to be a region in ancient Sicily) Greek settlers had a way more positive approach to fava beans. They actually considered it as a miraculous food that helped them to survive famine during extended periods of drought. On religious occasions, believers often carried fava beans to the church and also prepared several dishes using this plant as a main ingredient.

Not only they taste good, fava beans offer a wide range of health benefits as well.

They contain a significant amount of cholesterol-lowering fibers which avert fat molecules from invading the bloodstream. Regular consumption of beans also helps to regulate blood sugar level.

Fava beans prevent blood sugar to peak rapidly, thus they can be well recommended for diabetes patients.

Furthermore, beans constitute as a great source of complex dietary protein for individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

According to a Harvard study, fava beans can contain 20-25% more protein than other alternatives such as rice or wheat. This golden legume also has a considerably lower glycemic index.

Crosby Dr., Guy. “Ask the Expert: Legumes and Resistant Starch.”

Despite the fact that fava is a rather filling dish, it has a low amount of carbohydrates –  ideal for people who aim to lose weight.

A lovely plate of freshly prepared lava topped with scallions and capers and accompanied with a slice of pita bread. We can’t imagine a more fulfilling and healthy choice after a long sightseeing day spent in the Hellenic capital.

Eleonora Jobst

Guest writer

Written by our guest writer and content editor

Eleonora Jobst