If I had to choose one kind of food to eat my entire life, it would be Ethiopian. I love the vibrant spices, textures, and flavors that this food has to offer. After each meal, I feel nourished and balanced.  

You know how I love to chat about the benefits of key ingredients; today is no different!

Lentils: I find lentils to be a grossly underrated food. There is such a wide variety of lentils, giving you many tastes and textures, making them a great ingredient when you are trying to be inventive. You can make pant-based pate, sausages, ground meat substitutes, burgers, Shepard’s pie, and much more. 

Lentils are a high protein food, a good source of dietary fiber, low calorie, and rich in vitamins and minerals like molybdenum, folate, tryptophan, manganese, iron, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, and potassium.  

Due to the above-listed nutrient profile, lentils can help control diabetes (1), improve digestion, promote heart health, supplies antioxidants that are involved in neutralizing free radicals, and thereby preventing cell and gene damage (2), has anti-cancer potential (3), and can help in weight control and increase satiety. (4) For optimal digestion be sure to soak your lentils

I wish I could take credit for this recipe; however, I found it on African Bites and reduced the oil content. They have many great recipes on their site; I can’t wait to try them at home. Note that not all of their recipes are plant-based. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry lentils soaked for 2 hours
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons berbere spice 
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander or cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups or more vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons or more chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large sauce-pan, heat up oil, add onions, berbere spice, garlic, ginger, cumin, smoked paprika, and occasionally stir for about 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent.
  2. Then add soaked lentils and tomato paste, sauté for about 2-3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Add stock or water and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until sauce thickens; it might take about 30 minutes depending on how you like your lentils. Throw in some parsley, adjust for salt, pepper, and stew consistency. Serve warm

I like to put this over a big bed of steamed greens and sweet potato. 

You may also be interested in my Nourishing Winter Squash Soup or Homemade Vegetable Broth! What are your favorite soups and stews this time of year? Comment below.