Yes, these little rounds are made with yellow split peas also known as fava in Greek (do not confuse these with the broad bean that is called fava bean). Greeks call these yellow split peas fava but they also call fava, a puree that is made with these beans along with olive oil, onion and some lemon. You can check the authentic recipe here. It is served often as an appetizer and it tastes great plain or with a bit of bread. Of course it is extremely healthy since you are having a meal of legumes rich in fiber, antioxidants and protein accompanied by the good fats from the olive oil.
Today I came across a recipe from the famous restaurant Selene on the Greek island of Santorini. Selene has received many excellent reviews, but it is important for another reason: its goal is to promote Santorini products such as their fava, tomato, white eggplant as well as the wines of this popular island. While I have never been to this restaurant (hopefully soon), I did have the opportunity to taste some of their appetizers at a recent gastronomy festival here in Athens and loved them, not only for the taste but also their nutrition value.
Now the recipe that inspired me today was a tart with the crust made from these yellow split peas (fava). I really liked this idea of using fava in the dough. I wanted to make this in some sort cracker. The result was soft pita like round which makes the ideal vehicle for a dip. The outside has a texture like pita, while the inside is soft and you can taste the goodness of the fava. The children loved these, and ate all of them before lunch, and that doesn’t worry me one bit; it is a nice, healthy snack that also gets in some serving of beans.
For these little rounds I used fava, whole wheat and regular flour and a bit of mint. There is hardly any fat in them. These little bites are probably the healthiest snack or appetizer you can have: rich in fiber, protein and nothing artificial. I chose to make a quick tapenade with Kalamata olives (from Kalamata) and sun-dried tomatoes to go with it (I’ll be sharing soon). But you can also serve them with a yogurt based dip.
Santorini Fava Bites – Yummy Mini Appetizers Made from Yellow Split Peas
- 5 ounces yellow split peas also known as fava Santorini (it's about a cup)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup regular flour
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or use dry if you do not have fresh
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt/pepper to taste
- some coarse salt
- Rinse the fava and put in a pot with about 3 cups of water, simmer for about 40 minutes until the beans are soft. Add more water if needed. Skim the white foam from the top from time to time.
- Preheat oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius)
- Once the fava is boiled, strain it well so there is not much water. I used a mesh strainer.
- Once you have strained the beans, put the fava along with the onion in a food processor, add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and puree. You should have a thick puree. Place the puree in a large bowl and add the chopped mint and mix well.
- In a small bowl mix the flours with the baking soda, a bit of salt and pepper.
- Add the flour mixture to the fava, mix with your hands, until you have a piece of dough. Add a bit of olive oil to get it together. Your dough should be soft.
- Once you have the dough, sprinkle flour on a surface and spread your dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick, cut your pieces and place them on a pan that is lightly brushed with olive oil. At this point I sprinkled a bit of coarse salt on each round.
- Bake in oven for about 7-8 minutes, they will be soft- do not over bake. Remove from pan and let them cool.
*These are better served right away. Do not let them sit out as they will become a bit tough (remember no preservatives in these). Store them in an air-tight container.
Photo by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved