I remember when I came across my first meatless burger, and I cannot say that I was particularly excited. For starters I did not like the taste and why would I eat something that contains highly processed ingredients but yet acts like it is healthier than a regular burger? But wait a minute, veggie patties have always been an important part of the Mediterranean diet; falafel, the chickpea fritters and the Greek zucchini fritters (kolokithoketedes) come to mind. In the Greek cuisine there are also tomato patties, wild greens patties, onion patties and several bean fritters. They often call these patties pseudo-patties (pseftokeftedes) because they do not contain meat and therefore are not “real” patties. These patties were popular on the Greek islands and are usually served as a meze or appetizer but as part of a main meal as well.
While you do not want to be eating fried food everyday, these type of patties are full of good ingredients and having them as a side dish or even as a main course will provide a good amount of vegetables and herbs, along with fiber, protein and antioxidants and you can always try the baked version too (see below). Plus these patties are for the most part vegan. That was there purpose, particularly for Greeks who fasted from animal products for almost 200 days a year. But if you are not vegan, no worries, most of these recipes have versions with cheese and egg added to them.
This recipe uses fava (not broad beans but yellow split peas) along with some onion, garlic and bread crumbs (I used whole grain barley and wheat crumbs). I did not add egg in this particular recipe but you can, as it helps keep them together.
I both baked and fried these and they are equally delicious, the fried being more moist and the baked having a more “biscuit” texture to them.
For the fried version, I only lightly fried them without using too much olive oil, rather then plunging them in the oil.
Vegan Greek Bean Fritters - Favokeftedes
- ½ pound yellow split peas
- 1 small carrot grated
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 bunch of chopped mint or parsley or both
- salt/pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- 3-4 tablespoons bread crumbs
- Flour for frying
- Boil the beans for about 30-40 minutes and then strain.
- Smash with a fork, or for a smoother patty mix in food processor.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except flour) and mix well. Knead with hands until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover mixture and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour (you can leave it overnight).
- Form small patties (make them flat, not little balls) and cover them with a bit with flour.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan (about an ½ inch high).
- Once oil is hot (do not let it burn or smoke) add the patties, and fry on both sides until golden. For about 4 minutes total.
2. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bean mixture and knead well.
3. Form into small patties and place on pan lined with wax paper.
4. Brush each patty with olive oil.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with lemon.
Photos by Elena Paravantes