Misir Wot (Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew)

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Ethiopian spices can have a way to delight our taste buds. For a hearty meal fold in chopped fresh spinach at the end of cooking and serve with rice and roasted butternut squash.

Yield: about 8 cups


  • 1 ½ cups red lentils*
  • 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced, (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 Tbsp tomato paste, (½ can)
  • 2 Tbsp ginger zest, (22 g/.8 oz)
  • 3-5 tsp berbere (I use 3 tsp)
  • ¾ tsp salt, optional


  1. In large pan, sauté onions without oil until they begin to brown then add the garlic. Stir briefly taking care it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add lentils, water and tomato paste to the pan. Stir to mix and break down the tomato paste. Cover and cook until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes on stove top or 10 minutes in pressure cooker/Instant Pot. Allow pressure to drop naturally.
  3. Add the ginger zest, berbere, salt and if using the spinach. Mix well to incorporate.
  4. Serve with rice and if desired roasted butternut squash.


  • Red lentils should always be washed until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain well then add the recipe. Personally, I allow them soak while I’m chopping the onions. Red lentils tend to clump together when first wet. To prevent this, give them a brief swirl in the water. They will expand quite quickly. Put them in a large bowl with about three times the volume of water. When ready to use, drain soaking water and give the lentils a rinse.