How To Cook Moroccan Fava Bean (Broad Bean) Dip or Soup (Bessara)


Prep:15 mins

Cook:75 mins

Total:90 mins

Servings:4 to 6

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 147
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Protein: 3g

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(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bessara is a humble but delicious Moroccan dish of pureed beans that can be found as street food and homemade comfort food. Made from either dried split peas or dried fava beans (ful in Arabic), it’s seasoned to taste with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and presented in pureed form with cumin, paprika, and sometimes olive oil and harissa on the side as condiments.

The puree may be offered in thinner form as a soup or porridge or left as a thicker puree which can be eaten as a dip. In both cases, crusty Moroccan bread is served on the side for dunking or scooping. 

Traditionally, bessara is enjoyed warm from a heated communal dish, but it may also be offered in individual bowls or deep plates. Garnish with additional cumin, paprika, salt, olive oil, harissa, chopped parsley or cilantro, or simply have a selection of these condiments available on the side.

Plan ahead as you’ll need to allow all day or overnight soaking of the dried fava beans. You can enjoy bessara at any time of the day, but it’s especially popular as breakfast or evening fare.


  • 200 grams (8 ounces) fava beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika, more to taste
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the dried fava beans in a large bowl and cover with a generous amount of cold water. Set aside to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, drain the beans and peel them if they weren’t already skinned and split.
  3. Transfer the peeled fava beans to a medium-sized pot and cover with a generous amount of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer the beans until tender, 1 hour or longer.
  4. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid.
  5. Transfer the drained beans to a food processor, and add the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid, salt, cumin, and paprikas. Process on high speed until smooth, adding additional liquid to thin the bessara as necessary. At a minimum, it should be thin enough to pour out onto a plate, but may be thinned even more if a soup-like consistency is preferred.
  6. Taste the bessara and adjust the seasoning as desired.
  7. Reheat the bessara and serve warm, preferably in a warm dish so that the bessara doesn’t cool rapidly.
  8. Garnish with parsley, and serve.