Berbere Black Lentil Stew | Naturally Ella

Berbere Black Lentil Stew

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup


A rich, spice-heavy black lentil stew that relies on the Ethiopian spice blender: berbere that is heavy on chili peppers. 




  • 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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: black lentils, tomato sauce, vegetable broth

Nutrition: see the information.


  • Calories: 438
  • Sugar: 6.6
  • Sodium: 341
  • Fat: 8.1
  • Carbohydrates: 70.1
  • Fiber: 12.3
  • Protein: 25.1