Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fava: Red Lentil/Mung Bean Puree

Fava With Veggies & Chips

Red Lentils are considered gentlest on the digestive system as well as anti-inflammatory of all the members of the legume (bean/lentil) family; they are often recommended on Ayurvedic diets. Next in line for its gentle and anti-inflammatory qualities is another favorite - Mung beans! So I decided to try red lentils/mung beans to prepare Fava, a popular puree from Greece instead of the harder to digest yellow split peas. I should think that red lentils/mung beans should work just as well ... a bean is a bean, right? 

Both red lentils and yellow mung beans make a lovely Fava. The other best thing :) about red lentils or mung is that they cook very quickly - in about 20 to 30 minutes - as opposed to the yellow split peas, fava beans, or chick peas which take as much as an hour or more. Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting to totally eliminate them from the diet; they are just not on our anti-inflammatory diet for now. Chick peas are not the only bean used to prepare purees in the Mediterranean region; yellow split peas and fava beans are also favorites.

Fava may be served as a dip to scoop with raw veggies and tortilla or corn chips, or as a sandwich filling just like hummus. The Greeks add a garnish of chopped raw onions on top, but my favorite is caramelized onions; yum!

Ingredients:

1 cup Red Lentils/Yellow Mung dal
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for drizzling
2 large Shallots or 1 small Red Onion, chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1 clove Garlic
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
2 - 3 Tbsp Fresh Dill leaves (optional)
Lemon wedges for serving
1/4 medium Red Onion, finely chopped for serving
Sumac, cayenne, or freshly ground pepper to sprinkle

Method:

Pick over the lentils/dal, wash well.

Heat the 1 Tbsp oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt, bay leaf, turmeric, and freshly ground pepper until softened.

Stir in the lentils/dal and two and a half cups of water; bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes stirring often so they do not burn. Add a little hot water if the lentils are drying out.

When the lentils are done, keep covered and cool slightly. Fish out the bay leaf and discard.

Transfer while still warm to a blender or food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade.

Process until smooth; check for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.

Transfer to a container and cover tightly; refrigerate when cool until serving.

Spoon Fava into a serving dish, drizzle with a squirt of lemon juice, a little olive oil and sprinkle the onions on top; dust with a little sumac, cayenne or pepper.

Serve with pita wedges or other bread, raw veggies, chips or crackers.  Fava is good as a spread for bread too!  Enjoy!!

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