Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew and Salad (Misir Wat)

Ethiopian food is very vegetarian friendly and quite healthy. The recipes often feature lots of lentils and vegetables, much like many of our recipes. We often hit up our favorite Ethiopian restaurant when we want to eat out but still eat healthy. Misir wat, a red lentil stew, is our favorite dish. The stew features a special blend of spices called berbere. You can make your own berbere by combining paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and fenugreek. Or you can be lazy like us and go to your local Ethiopian market and buy a pre-made berbere. But if you don’t have market near you, you can also find it on Amazon!


  • Red Split Lentils (2 cups)
  • Lettuce Salad (7 oz – we used the Trader Joes Organic Butter Lettuce and Radicchio mix pictured below)
  • Berbere (1 tablespoon)
  • Ginger (1 tablespoon, freshly ground)
  • Garlic (4-5 cloves, minced)
  • Onion (2, very finely chopped – use a food processor!)
  • Vegetable broth (3 cups)
  • Cumin (1 tablespoon)
  • Smoked paprika (1 teaspoon)
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro (1 tablespoon, finely chopped)
  • Tomato paste (1.5 tablespoon)
  • Lime
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Recipe (4 servings)

  1. Rinse and wash the red lentils. You will likely need to rinse it multiple times until the water is clear. It took me about 10 minutes of rinsing, so be patient. Then soak the lentils for about 1 hour.img_23701-e1537926323656.jpg
  2. We prepared our stew in the Instapot, but you can also do it on the stove. Heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the Instapot on the “Saute” setting. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 4 minutes until soft. You may need to add more oil if you find that the onions are sticking to the pan. Then add the garlic and ginger and stir frequently and cook for another minute. Add the berbere, cumin, smoked paprika next. Based on how spicy you like your food, you can always add more berbere. Roast for about 30 seconds and then add the tomato paste. Drain the lentils and add to the pot. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the vegetable broth. Add salt to taste. After you have added the broth, change the Instapot setting to Manual Pressure (High) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Cook for less time if you like your lentils al dente.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, prepare your salad dressing. Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lime juice, salt and black pepper to taste. Toss the lettuce mix with the dressing at set aside. IMG_2373[1].JPG
  4. Serve the salad with the red lentil stew and garnish with cilantro. I recommend a fresh squeeze of lime juice on the stew to further enhance the flavor.

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.