Vegetarian Ethiopian Feast

Want to impress your friends at your next dinner party? If you are having a party and need to feed lots of people for very little money, have an Ethiopian feast! Not only is it inexpensive but it's a lot of fun, you get to eat with your hands! I made this for guests recently and they were so impressed. Ethiopian food is not eaten with cutlery yet they use injera (kind of like a crepe) to pick up the food. The food is served on a large platter or plate (see photo) with salad in the middle and the other dishes around it.


Here are the recipes to make your own inexpensive feast! You need to make two key things before starting which won't take you long at all. These are the key spices and oils which will last you for many more recipes. This all seems like a lot of work, but trust me it isn't. :)


This is the spice mix used in many Ethiopian recipes.


  • 1/2 cup ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fenugreek (it's OK if you don't have this)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a cake pan, mix the spices well (be careful not to inhale). Roast for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent scorching. Watch carefully and stir the spices more often during the last 10 minutes. Cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.


Niter Kibeh

This is the spiced oil (butter) often used in Ethiopian cuisine. I use an inexpensive margarine block and store the finished product in a plastic container in the fridge.


  • 1 lb.margarine
  • 4 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, scraped and finely grated or minced
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed (can use cardamom powder)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves (or ground)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg


Slowly melt the margarine in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Add the other ingredients and simmer uncovered on the lowest heat for about 20-30 minutes. Do not let it brown. Strain the mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth, discarding the spices. Refrigerate until set. Use as needed in Ethiopian recipes or spread sporadically on toast.


Ethiopian Lima Beans

One of my favourite dishes. This can be done in a crockpot.


  • 1.5 - 2 cups of lima beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (or niter kibbeh)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 cabbage chopped
  • salt to taste


Bring to a boil then simmer for about 4 hours, until the cabbage is dissolved and there is a thickness to it.

Gomen (Collard Greens)


  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. niter kebbeh
  • salt and pepper to taste


Wash the greens well in a sink full of water; drain. Cut off the coarse part of the stems (about 1/2 - 1 inch). Chop the stems well and set aside. Chop the leaves coarsely and set aside.

In a pot, heat up some niter kebbeh. Add the onion, chopped collard stems and some salt. Saute until the onion turns clear and the chopped stem has softened. Add the collard leaves and stir well. Cook until tender adding a small amount of water if necessary to help the greens steam. (You might cover for a little while, stir and cover again, until softened to your liking.)

Season with salt and pepper and arrange on injera with some other stews.

Doro Wat

This is a vegan version of Doro Wat, an Ethiopian chicken stew. I found it on a nice vegan blog called Vegan Dad. I substituted the seitan for TVP and it turned out amazing! You could also use tofu.


  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup niter kebbeh
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. berbere to taste (start with a little and add more if needed)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups reconstituted TVP (Textured Vegetable Protien) chunks, about 2 1/2 cups dry
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. water


Fry onions in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until onions are a deep golden brown. Add in niter kebbeh, berbere, salt, and blend well. Add in seitan and fry for 5 minutes. Add in tomato and water and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If stew is too thin, mix flour into water and add into stew. Serve with injera bread.

Yetakelt We't (Vegetable Stew)


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • berbere to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1/4 cup niter kebbeh
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste


Saute onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in nitter kebbeh for 5 minutes. Add beans, carrots, potatoes and saute for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Mix well, bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until veggies are tender and stew is thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Spicy Red Lentil Stew (Miser Wat)

This is so easy! I make it in the crockpot. I find this dish tastes more flavourful the next day.


  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups onion (one large onion or two small onions)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. berbere
  • 2 cups split red lentils
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste


Saute the onions in the olive oil, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute. Add the berbere and saute for a few minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The onions should start to caramelize.

Mix in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Add the lentils, tomato paste, salt, red wine, and the vegetable stock or water and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook uncovered for an hour. Serve with injera and a vegetable.

Ethiopian Dressing

This is a dressing that is used on the garden salad which is always placed in the middle of the plate surrounded by hot dishes. The garden salad usually consists of lettuce, onion, cucumber, and tomato.


  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger, minced (not powdered)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Combine well.


This is the crepe used to lay the food on and also served on the side to pick up the food. It is originally made with teff flour, the mix is supposed to sit for a few days, but this is my quickie version.


  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups of club soda (more or less depending)


Mix the dry ingredients and add enough soda to get a liquid consistency, much like a crepe batter (thinner than pancake batter). Use a ladle to pour into the hot pan and move pan around until covered with a thin layer of batter. You'll see bubbles appear and when top seems set, remove from pan. Do not flip over. Keep doing this till batter is all gone.

Happy Feasting!

Source: Some recipes were found here: (adapted)

Ethiopian Feast
April 17, 20080 found this helpful

Lisa - thank you so much for posting these! I just found 2 nights ago that my local ethnic grocer started stocking pre-packaged injeera, so was so excited to get some and make my own wats! We have an Ethiopian restaurant here, but it does get spendy going out to eat. These look like most of the ones we usually order. Thanks for saving me the "legwork" of finding them. They look great.

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April 19, 20080 found this helpful

Bebere, thank you so much for these wonderful recipes. I will try them all. It sounds like they are all delicious.

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June 5, 20090 found this helpful

NOTE: In the Spicy Red Lentil, I forgot to add the two tomatoes to the ingredient list.

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January 9, 20100 found this helpful

I'm making several of these dishes tonight and so far they are turning out nicely.

I have a few thoughts:

One of these recipes calls for peas in the ingredients but never says when to add them, and another says to add red wine but fails to list it in the ingredient list. 1/2 a cabbage is a little vague, since cabbages come in many sizes.

Probably anyone thinking about making Ethiopian food can figure these things out, but for the sake of accuracy I think they should be corrected.

Beyond that, thanks for the ideas and I'm looking forward to dinner!

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Vegetarian Ethiopian Food
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