Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's For Dinner Wednesday - Spicy Ethopian Red Lentil Stew

I love lentils, so April will be a month of Lentil recipes! They are so versatile to cook with not to mention they are really good for you and inexpensive, especially if you buy them in bulk like we do. I am always on the look out for good lentil recipes and this was a delicious find from the May edition of Cooking Light magazine last year. I have mentioned it before on this blog, but it is good enough for a re-visit and considering it made our menu this week it seemed like the perfect time.

It is easy to prepare, just a little chopping and then you pretty much throw it in the pot and let it go. It might give your house have a spicy aroma for a day or so, it's not a bad smell but I wanted to lay all the 'post-dinner aroma' cards on the table!

The recipe calls for Berbere Spice which I could not find in the stores here, but my friend Jo sent me this recipe to make your own.

Berbere Spice
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

This mix is good but it is really spicy so when I use the mix I cut down to 1/2 tbsp. I would recommend putting in a small amount and then upping the spice to your taste.

Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew
(serves 4)

2 tsp canola oil
2 C chopped red onion
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp Berbere spice (or less to taste)
3 C organic vegetable broth
1 C dried red lentils
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C finely chopped fresh cilantro
4 C hot cooked rice, they suggest basmati rice but I like it with brown.


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in Tomato paste and Berbere spice; cook 1 minute, stirring to combine. Gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.

Rinse lentils under cold water; drain. Add lentils to broth mixture; simmer, partially covered for 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt.

Serve over rice, and sprinkle on cilantro.

I served it with a green salad, but it is great on it's own. The stew freezes well so you can make it ahead and then just defrost it and cook some fresh rice and top with fresh cilantro.


Original source: Cooking Light, May 2010


  1. Lentils are a staple in Indian diet :) We usually use the yellow kind, and use it over rice like you showed. We also have some veggies - like green beans or spinach to go with it. There are some yummy turkish recipes for lentils too.

  2. I should try this.. sounds so flavorful.. my husband is the easiest person to cook for he LOVES food.. two exceptions. Eggplant and Lentils... wondering if this would change his mind?? :)

  3. Heather - perhaps you could try a lentil lasagna, that is a nice way to ease him in!! There is cheese and tomato and all the other flavors of regular lasagna with the lentils as part of it. Good luck! I have become a bit obsessed with lentils recently, they are so good for you, inexpensive and can be used all over the place in cooking - handy little things.



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