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Ethiopian Lentil Stew
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5 from 3 votes

Ethiopian Lentil and Vegetable Stew

This vegan Ethiopian Stew with lentils and vegetables is spiced with berbere, a traditional spice mix of cardamom, coriander and black peppercorns, and it is full of delicious, fresh vegetables, including red peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. A soy-free and gluten-free recipe.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Stew
Cuisine: Ethiopian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Vegan Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 74kcal


For berbere spice mix

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp whole allspice
  • 10 green cardamom pods
  • ½ cup onion flakes or fried onions, like the ones from French's or sold in packets in Indian store
  • 6 arbol chiles (can use dry serrano or Kashmiri chillies as a substitute)
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground dry ginger

For the stew

  • 5-6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tbsp berbere spice mix
  • 1 tsp wholegrain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup pink lentils
  • 1 large red onion or two medium, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, can use green or yellow, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 cups button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary (if using dry, reduce to 1 ½ tsp)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


Make the berbere spice blend

  • Heat a small skillet and roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and cardamom until the coriander seeds are a couple of shades darker.
  • Add the chiles and the onion flakes and grind into a coarse powder in a blender or spice grinder.
  • Remove to a bowl and mix with the paprika, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger.
  • Store in an airtight jar.

Make the lentil vegetable stew

  • In a bowl mix 2 tbsp of the vegetable stock, berbere spice, lemon juice, paprika , mustard and salt. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, herbs and garlic along with some salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the onions are translucent and just beginning to turn color.
  • Add the lentils and stir well. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers along with the berbere spice mixture dissolved in the vegetable stock. Stir well to mix, add 5 cups of vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover with a lid and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and soft. If the mixture gets too dry, add more water or stock.
  • Add salt and more ground black pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and garnish, if desired, with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with rice or bread.


Calories: 74kcal | Protein: 2.4g | Fat: 1.7g | Fiber: 3.9g