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Berbere-Spiced Red Lentils

4 to 6 Servings

30 minutes

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This lentil stew is our spin on the Ethiopian dish called misir wat. It’s seasoned with berbere, a rich, complex, aromatic Ethiopian blend of warm spices, savory dried alliums and red chilies. Look for berbere in spice shops or in well-stocked grocery stores. We garnish the lentils with a mix of chopped tomatoes, jalapeño and grated ginger, a non-traditional touch that brings bright flavor and color to the dish. If you can get the Ethiopian flatbread called injera, serve some alongside, though warm naan and/or rice are also excellent accompaniments.

4 to 6



Don’t forget to stir the lentils often to prevent scorching, especially near the end of cooking, when the consistency becomes thicker.

30 minutes


  • 4

    tablespoons ghee or salted butter, divided

  • 1

    large yellow onion, chopped


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December 20, 2022
Wow this blew my socks off. The lentils are rich and warming, the spices lending to a euphoric heat that made me close my eyes and smile.
Nina K.
November 24, 2022
I’ve always appreciated Milk Street introducing me to spices such as sumac and berbere. The spice gives lentils complex flavor. Easy to make.
Stephanie L.
November 22, 2022
Best preparation for red lentils I have had. So much going on in terms of flavor and served on injera. Milkstreet has a recipe for berbere right on this site if you can't find it. It was perfect.
Melissa G.
October 7, 2022
Easy and so delicious
Perfect as written - be careful of the Barbere spice because a full tablespoon was a little too spicy for my kids (but great for me and my husband)
Nabeel I.
August 20, 2022
Excellent and easy
Great recipe and so simple! I opted to make it vegan and used 2 Tbsp vegan butter in place of the 4 Tbsp ghee. The flavor was still fantastic. I'll be making this again and again.