Favosalata – Greek Yellow Split Pea Dip

This is a traditional Greek recipe, somewhat to my surprise. I always think of dried peas as being very northern European. They have certainly been a Canadian staple since the arrival of the French, and the British ate them in mounds too. I think of them as hearty winter fare.

However, making this in the rice-cooker meant not too much heat in the kitchen, and a tasty, easy, summer dip for bread and vegetables was the result. It’s vegetarian (vegan), and is similar to hummus but different enough to make a nice change. Traditionally, it’s topped with capers, or maybe olives, but nobody in this household can muster any enthusiasm for capers. Basil oil seemed like it would be a good alternative, and it was. You can, of course, make it without the rice-cooker, but it will require more attention as you cook it over low heat on the stove.

This makes kind of a ton of dip, but it does keep in the fridge for probably up to a week.

12 servings
1 hour – 20 minutes prep time – not including cooling time

Make the Favosalata:
1 medium red or yellow onion
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups yellow split peas
3 cups water, plus a bit more
the juice of 1/2 lemon

Peel and chop the onion. Put the oil in the rice cooker and turn it on. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and reduced in volume.

Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic. When the onion is ready, add the garlic, bay leaf, and spices, and mix in well. Add the yellow split peas and the water. Close up the rice cooker, and check to make sure it is still on – it will turn itself off if it gets too hot cooking the onions. Cook until the rice cooker turns itself off again, then remove the insert pot from the cooker and allow the peas to cool completely.

When you are ready, transfer them to a food processor with the lemon juice added. Process until you have a smooth dip. You will need to add more water – 1/4 to 1/2 cup – to achieve a good texture. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve, sprinkled with the basil oil. 

Make the Basil Oil:
2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Wash, dry, and mince the basil leaves. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat the oil in a very small skillet or pan until hot, then remove it from the heat. Stir in the basil and garlic, and allow it to cool. You can use it as-is, or you can strain out the basil and garlic if you like.

Last year at this time I made Stir-Fried Beef with Yellow Beans & Garlic Scapes

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