Peas! Let me walk you a bit through the history of the pea and just how this recipe works with different pea types! The pea pod grows from a flower, making peas botanically fruit. Most varieties are grown to produce dry peas, like the split pea – which was the basis of some staple meals in medieval cuisine. The wild pea is restricted to the Mediterranean basis and the Near East, which is where lovely uses for the pea were developed. Immature peas, however, have always been used as a vegetable: fresh, frozen, or canned. And interestingly enough, the popularity of eating these immature, or commonly known green peas spread mostly to North America.
The traditional Greek use for yellow split peas is for a creamy purée called Fava, a traditional veggie dish straight from the island of Santorini. Greek cuisine has always been one of my favorite. Eating in Greek restaurants all over the world is not up to par to having authentic food in Greece! Definitely a place everyone should visit once in their lifetime, Greece and its islands will capture your heart – and your stomach! I fell in love with Greece in 2002, and this past summer I got the chance to return with my family. We enjoyed our summer vacations on the island of Corfu, where we did the all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-swim, all-you-can-sleep family marathon. It was fantastic! A great time for family, and also a great adventure in food tasting. Breakfast and dinner were served everyday in the large eating hall, massive amounts of authentic greek food with an amazing variety. Needless to say, my kids were not allowed to eat from the kiddie table – spaghetti, french fries, & nuggets. What a sin!
Another dip or purée made from peas is the all-popular hummus, from the neighboring arabic countries. It literally means ‘chickpeas’ in Arabic, and it’s usually prepared with tahini. Although I love to follow traditional international recipe directions and use the authentic ingredients from each region…sometimes I cheat a little and find kitchen-friendly substitutes that I can work with easily; so rather than have a bottle of tahini that I used that ONE time to make hummus spoiling in my fridge, I find the appropriate substitutes. Efficiency & innovation are sometimes smarter and more sustainable than following a recipe from faraway to the last line. Also, take a chance to experiment; might just be your family doesn’t like the dry nutty taste tahini gives the peas. Mighty just be you’d rather add rapeseed oil instead of olive oil. Try out what works for you and your own kitchen!
For the Recipe
- 1 cup (230g) of whole dry yellow split peas
- 4 cups (1L) of water
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 cup (15g) of fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup (80ml) of olive oil
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15g) of peanut butter
- 1 drop of sesame seed oil
- Ground paprika, olive oil, & fresh parsley to garnish
This fusion between Greek Fava & Egyptian Hummus is my own adaptation to both recipes; a good one according to my family! The yellow peas add a certain fluffiness thanks to their starch content, that chickpeas don’t have. Also, I replaced the tahini with peanut butter and sesame seed oil. I think that worked magnificently, and in my opinion might have been the key to making it kid-friendlier. Feel free to use canned chickpeas, or white beans and any other pea you might find. Cooking from scratch is always great, and to use a locally-produced legume to put sustainability & environment first is better!
Add the water to a large pot with the dry peas, salt, & fresh parsley. According to some experts, soaking the peas up to 24 hours helps with quicker cooking times. But when I know I am going to be doing purées, I use my pressure cooker! Not only does it do the job quickly and easily, but it is also a healthier option, since it locks the nutrients inside. Allow peas to cook well, this will take at least 30 minutes.
Once the peas are ready, let them cool in the pot. Set up your S-blade in your food processor and add all the ingredients: olive oil, lemon, garlic clove, Himalayan pink salt, ground cumin, ground pepper, peanut butter, & sesame seed oil. When the yellow split peas are cooled enough, drain them out of their excess liquid (which makes for a yummy, healthy cream soup!) and ladle into the food processor.
Blend all the ingredients well. This will result in a smooth, creamy, & somewhat fluffy dip. If working with chickpeas, the texture will also be smooth & creamy. Garnish with ground paprika, olive oil, & fresh parsley. If you’d rather have a chunkier hummus, simply blend the ingredients well & evenly before adding the peas. After adding the peas, blend just enough to mix, testing the texture yourself to your preference. Like I’ve stated many times, you are your kitchen’s own master. Try out your own things!