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Ethiopian-style Lentils With Yams (or Sweet Potatoes)


  • 1⁄2onion, diced
  • 3garlic cloves, minced
  • 1teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1⁄2small sweet potatoes or 1⁄2 small yam, diced
  • 1⁄4red sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1teaspoon olive oil
  • 2tablespoons lentils (split red)
  • 1 -2teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1cup water
  • 3⁄4teaspoon paprika
  • 1⁄2teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄4teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄4teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1⁄4teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt or soy sauce
  • black pepper


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


  • Paris D

    This is really good and low-cal, too! One comment – the cinnamon is listed in the ingredients, but I did not see where it was supposed to be added to the dish, so I just added it with the other spices.

  • stephgwen1966

    Tried this last night and yummy yummy. Didn't have all the special spices here so I used a mild curry which turned out much better than I ever anticipated. <br/>stephgwen1966

  • debby-o

    This recipe is WONDERFUL! I find myself making it at least once a week. I don't have the fenugreek on hand, but add some ground cumin and fennel seeds and it tastes great!

  • Erin OConnell

    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!

  • meridangola

    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!

  • momtallica

    Love the flavours. I have made this a few times. I don't measure the main ingredients exactly, but I do the spices. I have also added cabbage or spinach or kale to it as well. I also use a V8 type juice instead of tomato paste and water. The whole family likes it.

  • Chef Kirsten (#1!)

    Great recipe. Unfortunately I couldn’t find fenugreek, but I did add cardamom as I had seen it in the recipe for berbere sauce. I would do that again next time! I more than quadrupled the recipe so I had food for a few days, and used cayenne instead of paprika. Perfect spice level- gets the tongue tingling but wasn’t too hot. Next time I would use a lot more lentils and less sweet potato, though. Made it with some injera and it was a fantastic meal! Thank you for posting!

  • Kate W.

    Very nice. Healthy, tasty and cheap 🙂

  • Loves nature

    Absolutely delish!!! The blend of spices is wonderful! I added the cayenne as suggested as an option, along w/ the soy & just a touch of fish sauce for saltiness. The only thing I would do differently would be to triple the recipe so I have lots of leftovers. Thank-you, catwolf!

  • judybrown

    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.