Black-eyed peas and chard stew (fassoolia wselek)

February 8, 2014  •  Category:

This dish can be made either with fava beans or black-eyed peas. It is vegan, comforting, delicious, healthy, economical, in short, perfect. We made it last week, adding a squeeze of Seville orange juice (bousfeyr) at the end, instead of the usual lemon (because these oranges are sweet and sour and their season is very short). 

This is a dish that my friend Rima, a caterer @Rim-Ram Gourmet (and the mother of Matteo el-Khodr, the Arab world’s one and only falsetto opera singer) makes to perfection. It is reputed to be a typical Beiruti dish from the Sunni community. This post is inspired by her recipe.

INGREDIENTS: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 cans of black-eyed peas or fava or dried peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed and then cooked in plenty of water for one hour or until tender
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste (mash the garlic cloves in a mortar or a mini-processor)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped fine
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, stalks removed (cut into small sticks) and leaves shredded fine
  • salt, black pepper or allspice, to taste
  • juice of a lemon or Seville orange (substitute 1 or 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses)
  • 1 bunch of radishes for garnish
  • Extra lemons or orange quarters if needed

 1. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions till golden; add the garlic and cilantro and fry a few seconds till wilted and fragrant. While frying the onions, boil the stalks (cut into small half-inch sticks) till tender. Drain and fry the stalks for 5 minutes with the onion mixture, then add the Swiss Chard and fry till wilted. Add the peas and about 2 cups of their liquid and simmer for 20 minutes or so; season and pour the citrus juice the last few minutes of cooking. Serve warm or at room temperature with radishes and extra lemon or orange quarters.

dup fassoulia


10 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    A wholesome and scrumptious dish! That combination is wonderful.



  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I’m not usually a chard fan, but this I could fall in love with!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Looks like a great recipe, must try it soon. I notice it uses plenty of olive oil which would be one of the secrets to its deliciousness

  4. Jamie says:

    Wow, Joumana, this is a fabulous recipe. I adore both beans and chard but the addition of cilantro and orange is wonderful and really must kick this up. I would love to try this. I love recipes that are inexpensive and healthy but that are incredibly flavorful and satisfying.

  5. Susan says:

    It sounds delicious, Joumana! Swiss Chard is a favorite.

    Just to let you know, my blog has been hacked 🙁 Waiting for Blogger to sort things out but I’m without a blog for now. Sad people out there.

  6. Yasmeen | Wandering says:

    Wow! I grew up on foul (medammas, w ruz) but have never had it with chard. I’m bookmarking this to try when our chard crop overflows in winter!

  7. Nuts about food says:

    Any legume with leafy greens is one of my favorite combinations… I love the idea of giving it a Lebanese twist!

  8. Oui, Chef says:

    I could eat this dish everyday and be a VERY happy man. It looks SO satisfying!

  9. Paula says:

    All those comments, and not a single one from anyone who actually made the dish. I wanted to make it today, but the instructions aren’t entirely clear. If I’m using canned black-eyed peas, there won’t be any cooking liquid, so then is plain water adequate or do I need to add some starch? (And should they be drained first? If so, should I save that liquid to make up the 2 cups of cooking liquid? Canned bean liquid always looks so unappealing.) Also, are the dried peas you mention in the ingredients dried BLACK-EYED peas or green peas? And the fava beans, are those also dried (and therefore cooked in advance?)

    I’ve read repeatedly that cilantro loses its flavor when cooked, so I’m wondering why it’s being added so early. Is it a traditional ingredient in this dish?

  10. Paula says:

    Another omission: you didn’t give a quantity if we’re using dried legumes. I have no idea how much dried product to use to equal 2 “cans” (presumably 14 ounces?)

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