• Bessara

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian


    Traditional hummus is made with garbanzo beans and tahini. This Moroccan version, called bessara, substitutes fava beans for the garbanzo and tahini and is a little thinner than hummus. It is a staple in Tangier and other cities of northwest Morocco and is thought to have originated as part of Berber cuisine. If you like traditional hummus, you will like this too.

    1½ cups dried fava beans
    2 cloves garlic
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid
    1 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
    ½ teaspoon hot paprika
    For garnish: cumin, sweet paprika, olive oil and chopped parsley

    Soak the dried fava beans overnight in a large bowl of water. The next day, drain the beans and peel them (if they weren’t already skinned).

    Place the peeled fava beans in a pot and cover with a generous amount of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-high, cover, and simmer the beans until tender (about one hour).

    Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Transfer beans to a food processor and add the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid and spices. Process on high speed until smooth, adding additional liquid if necessary to thin the bessara. It should be thin enough to pour or spread out on a plate. Taste the bessara, and adjust the seasoning if desired.

    Garnish with any of the following: ground cumin, paprika, olive oil, and/or chopped parsley. Reheat the bessara and serve warm in a heated dish with pita bread on the side.

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