Ethiopian-style Lentils With Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins

This was adapted from a recipe on vegweb (, to incorporate more Ethiopian spices and use up a sweet potato I had on hand. It doesn't quite achieve the heights of my favorite Ethiopian restaurant, but it's quick, hearty and pretty tasty. Braver souls can substitute cayenne for some of the paprika

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. saute the onion, garlic, ginger and yam in olive oil at medium heat until the onions are almost translucent.
  2. add the red bell pepper and saute for an additional minute.
  3. add the lentils, tomato paste and water.
  4. bring water to a boil.
  5. add the paprika, coriander, allspice, fenugreek and ginger.
  6. lower heat slightly and allow the stew to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and all the water absorbed.
  7. add salt, soy sauce and black pepper as needed, and serve.


Most Helpful

The best thing about this recipe is the spice mixture --- I had never used fenugreek and it plays nicely off of cinnamon and allspice (yum!). Rather than split red lentils, I used whole green lentils, which worked fine --- I just increased the cooking time a little. I also doubled the proportion of lentils in the recipe, which worked well. (I think the pictured version also must have increased the lentil proportion from what is in the written recipe.) The sweet red pepper is the key to this recipe and ties everything together. Thanks so much for posting!

Erin OConnell February 14, 2010

What a wonderful (and healthy) recipe! I made this in my crockpot which took all of the guesswork out about what to add when. I used a whole sweet potato and 3 tablespoons of red lentils. I also added cayenne pepper, cardamom and some fresh spinach for color. I also had trouble finding fenugreek, but ended up finding it in a local Halal market but spelled "Funigric". I served it with Ethiopian Spiced Honey Bread. . .it was a great combination.

judybrown January 24, 2013

Delicious! I doubled the recipe, omitted the fenugreek (since I didn't have any), and used about a cup of leftover canned diced tomatoes that was sitting in my fridge. Reduced the proportion of water to compensate. I also cooked the sweet potato in the oil for a bit before adding the onions and red pepper together, followed by the garlic (I can't stand the taste of burnt garlic). Only difference I'll make next time I do this (and there will be a next time) is get my hands on some fenugreek. Thank you for posting!

meridangola May 29, 2011

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