Bissara is a savory bean dip made with Fava Beans. Flavored with cumin and paprika. Serve this with pita or crispy bread. My recipe is not traditional but lovely in its own right. A high protein spread that works well as a snack or lunch.
Motivated by the fact that we had just returned from a holiday and the fact that I desperately needed to grocery shop – but was far too exhausted to bother – I found myself digging to the bottom of the freezer and pulling out a bag of frozen fava beans. A purchase I made because… I don’t even know why. I’ve never used fava beans before, not in any form. But there they were at Walmart of all places, and I never, ever shop at Walmart, most certainly not for food. And since I found myself at this place I rarely go with a product in my hand I’ve never seen before (likely because I’ve never looked for it before), I determined that I obviously needed to take advantage of the circumstances and buy this something I have never used or tasted at a store I never shop at. Obviously.
Also, I figured frozen must be similar to fresh and must be better than canned or dried. Although I haven’t had dried or canned fava beans to compare to. Further justifying a purchase of a thing I had no plans for.
What is Bissara?
Apparently, Bessara (or Bissara) is a thing. A Moroccan (or maybe North African) thing made from fava beans or dried peas.
I’m not an expert in this area at all. So let me say that first. I wouldn’t put much weight in this information, as it was gathered from my not so rigorous and rather limited “what to do with fava beans” Google search. I’m not scientific about this food’s history.
No, instead I read through a few recipes, picked and chose what I liked (and what I had on hand) and came up with this pretty green hummus thing.
This is a savory and so soft and creamy spread. The beans combined with a generous amount of cumin and paprika give this dip a deep, smoky flavor that I just love.
Some of the recipes I found included garlic, I decided to forgo the garlic this time around. I wanted something I could take to work and eat for lunch without later feeling self-conscious… although I have chosen to eat this with sliced red onions which I suppose potentially are just as vile… I would suggest this version, without garlic, is exactly right, especially served warm, with sliced red onions and a little fiery sea salt.
How to serve
Gluten-free yellow corn tortillas. Lightly sprayed with olive oil and then toasted in a hot oven they made the perfect place to spread the spread.
Sliced fresh onions are traditional with bissara.
Try warm pita bread and serve as a dip or slather on crispy whole-grain toast for breakfast.
This dip makes a great base for an easy lunch wrap – stuffed with lots of greens, radish, and more onions.
Fava Bean Dip
- 750 g package of frozen fava beans
- 1/4 olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice juice of about half a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt + a pinch of cayenne or 1/2 teaspoon chili salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika plus more for sprinkling on top
- black pepper to taste
- more olive oil on top with salt and pepper
- red onion sliced very thin
- Place frozen fava beans in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil and boil 3-5 minutes or until beans are heated through and tender. Drain beans and set aside to cool.
- When beans are cool enough to handle carefully peel the beans, discarding the skins.
- Place beans in food processor along with oil, lemon juice, salt, cumin and paprika. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.
- Place in a serving bowl. Top with additional olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve warm with toasted bread or warm pita bread and slivered onions on the side.