This healthy vegan split pea spread is a bit like hummus, but made with creamy split peas instead of chickpeas. They have a higher protein content and a very light flavour, ideal for people who find chickpeas a little too bean-y.
I have a giant bag of split peas. I bought it a while ago to make Kik Alicha, an Ethiopian split pea stew, but haven’t made an edible version yet. The peas were wasting away and only brought out every once in a while for a truly awful version of that fragrant dish – which we can now get locally anyway, so trying to recreate it has lost a bit of its value. Especially since it seems to be one of those things I just can’t get right. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian place cooks everything in ghee so I always end up with a giant rash and stomach problems for a few days after eating there. Maybe I do need to keep working on that recipe.
I had cooked a big batch of these peas for a stew (which Gus, our old sheepdog, ended up eating) and saved some just in case it didn’t work out. Obviously it didn’t. I was a little disheartened and didn’t want to try again quite so soon. Making a dip is one of my favourite things to do with leftover cooked pulses. They’re so easy to throw together and last at least a week in the fridge, which means lots of extra meal choices or quick options if I’m too busy to cook.
This recipe ended up being more of a spread than a dip because of the starchiness of the split peas, and I loved it. It went on every sandwich, cracker, and wrap while it lasted. Who needs mayo or cheese when you have a high protein, healthier option kicking around in the fridge? It makes a great dip for crunchy veggies, too.
Apparently there’s a Greek recipe called Fava that uses split peas to make a hummus-like dip, but I don’t know any Greek people, and I’d never heard of it. There are some strong Mediterranean flavours like sumac, lemon, and olive oil in this dish, though. I did a little research and the traditional version uses a whack of cooked onions, which this recipe certainly does not. I’ve added some lemon thyme here as well, one of my favourite herbs that’s doing really well in the herb/butterfly garden.
Split peas also pack a bigger nutritional punch than chickpeas with more protein and fibre, are easier to digest, and have a lighter, less bean-y taste.
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Split Pea Spread
- 2 cups cooked yellow split peas*
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon thyme
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Add everything into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend at high speed until smooth, about two minutes depending on how powerful your blender is.
Serve immediately for a more dip-like consistency, or chill and serve cold for use as a spread. This is best after being in the fridge for a day. It will keep up to a week in the fridge.
To serve, top with extra sumac and lemon thyme.
* To cook the split peas, soak them for at least 12 hours, rinse, cover them with water, and cook until quite soft. They will take quite a while to cook, so I recommend making a larger batch and freezing some for later use.
• If it's too thick and not blending well, add a splash of water.