Split Pea Spread

June 12, 2016

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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Makes just over two cups

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.

1. 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.
2. If it's too thick and not blending well, add a splash of water.

4 comments on "Split Pea Spread"
  1. AnonymousJune 13, 2016

    Dear Alexandra,
    I have found your blog somewhat by mistake, browsing here and there, looking for amazing vegetarian recipes and here I have found them :) I'm already loving what I've seen here on you blog, I've bookmarked a few of your recipes and simply wanted to thank you for making this blog and such amazing recipes. Keep up the great job!

    1. Thank you so much, Katya! That's so sweet.

  2. Its look sooo delicious. Perfect dish!
    thanks for sharing recipes with us here. Looking more from you dear

  3. Yesss when I went to Ottolenghi in London, there was some split pea mash that reminds me a lot of this! (But with green peas.) I tried to recreate it and it was yum but my styling was absolutely laughable compared to yours--gorgeous!!!