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I think there is no better way to experience a city than through restaurants. I first fell in love with Ethiopian food when living in the Chicago area and ever since, I've kept a recipe for berbere spice in my repertoire. Traditionally this spice is used in dishes like Doro Wot (a long cooking spiced chicken stew) but I've found it works beautifully with lentils. The spice blend makes for a rich stew, even though the base of this lentil stew is vegan.
I've teamed up with nuts.com to bring you a few flavorful black lentil recipes throughout the year. They asked me if there was a hard-to-find ingredient I wanted to highlight. I chose black lentils and they sourced organic black lentils to add to their site, making hearty recipes like this lentil stew even easier to make. Black lentils are always hit and miss at my local stores but I always like to keep them stocked in my pantry (which is why I'm excited I know where to order them now!)
Berbere Black Lentil Stew
A rich, spice-heavy black lentil stew that relies on the Ethiopian spice blender: berbere that is heavy on chili peppers.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (minced)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger (minced)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Berbere Spice
- 1 cup uncooked black lentils
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 to 2 cups waters
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- Juice from ½ lemon (plus extra for serving)
- Salt (to taste)
- Yogurt (for topping)
- Cilantro (for topping)
- Heat a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil followed by the minced onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add in the ginger and cook for a minute more.
- Measure in 3 tablespoons of the berbere spice and stir to coat the onions. Add in the black lentils followed by the vegetable broth and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 25 minutes. Check and stir occasionally, adding water as needed.
- Once lentils are mostly tender, stir in the tomato sauce and lemon. Continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until lentils are tender. Taste and add more berbere seasoning, lemon juice, or salt as needed.
Tips & Tricks: I highly recommend blending your own Berbere spice. Grinding your own peppers allows for a better flavor and better control of the heat. Two recipes for Berbere that I like can be found here and here.
If you're worried about the heat level, start with 1 tablespoon of the berbere spice and go from there. Some blends are extremely spicy!
Nutrition: see the information.
- Calories: 438
- Sugar: 6.6
- Sodium: 341
- Fat: 8.1
- Carbohydrates: 70.1
- Fiber: 12.3
- Protein: 25.1
I know what you might be thinking, "can I use red/brown/green lentils in place of the black?" You can but you won't get the same result. The black lentils keep their texture beautifully and really absorb the flavors. The other lentils just won't hold up to the cooking process as well. A few variations you could use:
Sweet Potatoes/Carrots: Add cubed sweet potatoes or carrots to the stew to add a bit of extra vegetables.
Greens: Stir in spinach, kale, collards, or chard towards the end of cooking.
Vegan: Leave off the yogurt!
Lentils are a huge part of my diet, right up there with chickpeas and black beans. I love keeping an assortment of lentils on hand but I'm partial to the black lentils. Because they hold up so well to cooking, I use them in salads, tacos, enchiladas, and recipes like this lentil stew. Best of all, they cook in about 30 minutes. Much quicker than dried beans!
Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with nuts.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week. |