Bissara Dip- Moroccan Fava Bean Dip

Move over hummus, there’s a new bean dip in town.  I’ll admit that I was getting a little bit jealous of seeing everybody’s posts with fresh fava beans over the past couple months (I haven’t been able to find them here in Honolulu), and so I did the next best thing- bought some dried favas to make this dip.

Just like blanching almonds, taking the skin (or jacket, as some people call them) off of the favas requires some time and a whole lot of patience.  That’s pretty much the only reason I don’t use dried favas on a more regular basis.  But each time I make something with them the result reminds me that the effort is well worth it.


Bissara- Moroccan Fava Bean Dip


* 1-3/4 cup dried fava beans
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for garnish
* salt, to taste
* sesame seeds or dried thyme for garnish, optional


Rinse the fava beans and then place in a large bowl and cover with at least several inches of water. Soak the fava beans overnight. In the morning drain the beans and remove their skins and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water, place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour, or until the beans are tender. Drain.

While the drained fava beans are still warm, puree them with the garlic, cumin and olive oil until smooth using an immersion blender or a food processor. Add salt to taste and top with sesame seeds or thyme, if desired, as well as a little drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with crackers or vegetable sticks, as desired.

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7 Responses to “Bissara Dip- Moroccan Fava Bean Dip”

  1. #
    Michaela (Recepty z Indie) — June 6, 2011 at 3:01 am

    I haven't seen those beans in our shops. Can I make it from different kind of beans available in India?


  2. #
    CATE — June 7, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Hi Michaela,

    You can definitely substitute other types of beans but the flavor will be a bit different… favas have a very unique taste. White beans also make a good bean dip. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. #
    Kathryn — June 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Ok, I'll admit that fava beans always make me think of “Silence of the Lambs,” but this dip looks deeelish! Does it taste anything like hummus?


  4. #
    Sasha (Global Table Adventure) — June 9, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Dried beans are definitely a few extra steps, but I agree with you – well worth it. I particularly like that they don't get so mushy and overcooked as canned. To be honest, though, I generally don't bother in the summer because I don't want the stove on too much, but in the winter it's nice to have a pot bubbling, warming up the house :) By the way, love your blog concept ;)


  5. #
    CATE — June 9, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Kathyrn- I know, right? Served with liver and a nice Chianti. The texture is similar to hummus but favas have a very distinct taste… I'm not quite sure how to describe them though. I'd definitely encourage you to give them a try one of these days.

    Sasha- so weird… I was just on your site earlier today! Seems like we're on a somewhat similar mission, just doing things a bit differently :)


  6. #
    Lisa — June 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Bissara is something I come back to again and again. It is also versatile in that you can make it into a soup by adding a little more water (delicious in the winter). Cayenne pepper sprinkled as garnish gives it a kick!

    I lived in Morocco for two years so finding shelled dried fava beans wasn't difficult. I'm now in New York and I am able to find them here as well. I know they aren't as common in some places, but if you do find them dried and shelled it takes a lot of the work out of it!

    Great blog!


  7. #
    CATE — June 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Lisa, thanks for the suggestion for making it into a soup. It didn't even occur to me… I think I'll be doing that with some of my leftovers now :)


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