Bissara (Fava Bean Dip)

Fava Beans in Shell

Fava Beans in Shell

by Cat, Aug 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: Fava Beans (About)Hummus (Garbanzo Dip)Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Dip)

Favas are another food my Greek friends in Portland introduced me to. I’ve never had fresh favas before, and have always used dried. But one of my friends here in Bigfork gave me some fava pods fresh from his garden, so I’m about to learn how to prepare them.

Favas have an outer pod, and then a waxy skin around each bean, that must be removed before you can eat them, although really young beans can be eaten with the tender skin that has not yet grown thick and waxy.

Although Bissara is similar to other bean dips (like hummus), the ingredients are (mostly) raw – the only cooking is a light steaming to soften the waxy cover of the beans so you can remove it easily. This does not cook the bean itself.


This recipe for fava bean dip is adapted from Chef In You blog (1). Use this as you would hummus, for dipping pita bread, kebabs, fresh vegetables, etc.. It is mostly raw, though the favas are steamed just a tad to help with removal of the waxy skin.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 cup fresh favas, shelled
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp or more olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin and/or coriander
  • few sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 1 green chili (or to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Unrefined Sea Salt
  • steamer
  • blender




  1. Shell favas, then steam along with the garlic and chili about a minute. Set garlic and chili aside. Remove outer covering from the favas. Seed the chili if desired.
  2. Zest and juice the lemon.
  3. Place favas in blender or food processor along with garlic and chili, lemon zest and juice, cumin and cilantro. Process, adding olive oil in steady stream while the motor is running, until mixture reaches desired dip consistency.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt.


  1. Chef In You blog:

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