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Ethiopian Vegan Recipes
Contributed by Vegetarians and Vegans from around the world
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Ethiopian Lentils With Berebere Spice Mix
From: Olga Drozd

Recipe includes spice mix if you can't find it in the supermarkets.

SERVES 6 -10

  • 1 lb lentils
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 6 cups mild green chilies, roasted peeled, seeded and chopped* (See note)
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or more)
  • fresh ground black pepper

BEREBERE SPICE MIX (use 2 tablespoons)

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds or powdered cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seed (shell off husks) or cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice (or ground)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed (or powder)
  • 8 whole cloves or ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns or freshly ground peppercorn
  • 5 teaspoons red pepper flakes or crumbled dried red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sweet paprika (can use hot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Bring lentils and broth to boil and simmer 10 minutes.

Add chiles, onion, garlic, and Berebere spices. Cook covered for another 30 minutes, until most of liquid is absorbed.

Serve with ground black pepper to taste.

These lentils are good with a dollop of soy yogurt, brown rice and sliced tomatoes.


Toast all the seeds and whole cloves in a small frying pan for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (open window or turn on the stove vent--it can smoke).

Grind the spices in a spice grinder. If you are using pre-ground spices, ignore and go on to the next step.

Mix all remaining ingredients. Place in a tightly covered container and refrigerate.

This mixture can used with many combinations of legumes, rice or vegetables.

NOTE: *OR: 1 bell pepper chopped + 14-oz can chopped green chiles.

NOTE TWO : There are two ways to make this berebere spice mix - with whole spices that you grind, or with powdered versions of the spices. The first way gives you a more powerful flavor, but it may be more practical the second way, particularly if you don't have a spice grinder.

Yield: 6 to 10 servings.