Fava Beans and Chard – Foul b Selek

“Foul b Selek” – Chard and beans

Foul b Selek” is a Beirut recipe prepared mainly by the end of winter season when swiss-chard is still available and spring fava beans are harvested. It is a balanced vegetarian starter rich in protein and iron. It is best enjoyed cold with some lemon juice that helps increase the iron absorption.

Serving: 4

Caloric content: 75 calories / serving


1 kg of Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped

1 cup of coriander leaves

200 g of fava beans soaked overnight

2 garlic cloves, minced

100 g of chopped onions

2 tbsp of vegetable oil

1 tsp of cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 L water

Winter chard at a local market in the West Bekaa

Preparation method:

  1. Add the fava beans to 1 L of water and bring to boil
  2. While boiling add 500 ml of water and cover. Stir occasionally
  3. After 1 hour, add another 500 ml of water
  4. In a large pot, stir fry the onions and garlic in vegetable oil until they wilt
  5. Add the chopped Swiss chard and coriander and cover until they are well cooked
  6. While on heat, add 1 tsp of cumin and the strained fava beans
  7. Tune the salt and pepper according to taste
  8. Serve cold with a slice of lemon
Eat Local

Foul, Hommous and Co.

Msabbaha and fatteh served with vegetables and pickles
Msabbaha and fatteh served with vegetables and pickles

[quote]What’s for breakfast today?[/quote]

A consistent breakfast to kick-off your day, as most nutritionists would say, should consist of a meal balanced with proteins, fat, starch and fiber. And that’s what is provided by a traditional Lebanese breakfast of foul mdammas, balila and fatteh!

Pulses, more specifically fava bean and chickpeas, are at the base of this old-styled breakfast consumed not only in Lebanon but in other neighboring countries like Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt etc.

Syrian fatteh served in a small Syrian restaurant in Qab Elias  - West Bekaa, Lebanon
Syrian fatteh served in a small Syrian restaurant in Qab Elias – West Bekaa, Lebanon

In Lebanon, this popular breakfast which has been served in specialized restaurants only, is gaining popularity and being listed on the menu of many Lebanese cuisine restaurants. Following the migration of Syrian refugees to the country, new restaurants have been established, serving Syrian versions of foul and hommous.

Besides being eaten for breakfast, these dishes are also served as hot mezze or side dishes for lunch.

"Foul" with cumin and lemon slices is a traditional healthy street food
“Foul” with cumin and lemon slices is a traditional healthy street food

Foul mdammas

Foul mdammas or mudammas (foul pronounced “fool”) is prepared with cooked fava beans (broad beans) seasoned with garlic, olive oil, cumin and lemon juice, and served with vegetables such as fresh mint leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and green onions. Chili pepper is added according to preference, and tahini sauce is sometimes added. Foul mdammas is better enjoyed with pita bread.

Historical findings show evidence of the production and use of foul back to Ancient Egypt, and historians suggest that Egypt is more likely the place of origin of this dish.

Fatteh topped with laban (yogurt)


Balila or hot chickpea salad consists of boiled chickpeas combined with olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice and cumin. It is usually served hot with pita bread. Fresh parsley is sprinkled on top before serving.

Fattit hommous

Another vegetarian option for breakfast – or lunch – is Fattit hommous which combines cooked chickpeas, minced garlic, fresh laban or yogurt and baked pita bread. Fried pine nuts and cashew nuts can also be added. A different version would include Tahini sauce instead of yogurt.

Foul mdammas topped with chickpeas
Foul mdammas topped with chickpeas


Msabaha is another plate to be added to this series: it is similar to Hommous b tahini but while the chickpeas are grounded for the first, the pulses remain whole for the msabaha, giving this dish a crunchier texture.

Chickpeas are rich in iron, magnesium and vitamin B6
Chickpeas are rich in iron, magnesium and vitamin B6

Nutritious facts about chickpeas:

Chickpeas are popular little legumes that make a tasty and healthy treat! These peas have long been prized for their high protein and fiber content, as well as their exceptional levels of iron, magnesium and vitamin B6. Most of the fiber found in chickpeas is “insoluble” fiber which is excellent for blood sugar regulation, digestive health and hunger control. Indeed, given their nutritious composition, chickpeas can help you control your weight by making you feel full for a longer period of time.

(1 Tablespoon = 46 calories)