Mashed Legumes with Onion, Capers & Radicchio (Sympetherio)

Radicchio, capers and onions brighten up this mashed lentil dish. Sympetheros means "father of one's son- or daughter-in-law," probably implying the "marrying" of different legumes in one dish. It's a meze served all over Greece. This recipe is inspired by the version Dimitris Mavrakis serves at his restaurant Kritamon in Archanes, near the spectacular Knossos archaeological site on Crete.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
12 servings


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 large red onion, chopped, plus 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced, divided

  • 1 ½ cups skinless dried fava beans

  • 1 cup yellow split peas

  • ½ cup green lentils

  • 10 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

  • cup capers plus 1 tablespoon brine

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 cup thinly sliced radicchio

  • Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper for garnish


  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 8 minutes. Add fava beans, split peas and lentils. Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in water and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the legumes are very soft and the mixture is quite thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, pulse the mixture a few times until partially, but not fully, smooth. Let cool completely, about 2 hours.

  2. About 30 minutes before serving, combine sliced onion, capers and brine and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes. Add radicchio, the remaining 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to combine.

  3. Serve the legumes topped with the onion mixture. Garnish with Aleppo (or crushed red pepper), if desired.


Tip: Look for "peeled" or "skinless" dried fava beans with other dried beans at well-stocked supermarkets or online at

To make ahead: Refrigerate legume mixture (Step 1) for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

246 Calories
10g Fat
29g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Serving Size 1 cup
Calories 246
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 11g 22%
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Vitamin A 28IU 1%
Vitamin C 4mg 4%
Folate 124mcg 31%
Sodium 283mg 12%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 3mg 15%
Magnesium 65mg 15%
Potassium 462mg 10%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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