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Ethiopian Feast: Yemisir Wot (Berbere Lentils)

This just might be my favorite Ethiopian dish!

This deeply spiced lentil dish is perfect served with spongy injera bread. | #recipe #veganThey’re all good, but this one makes use of that amazing Berbere spice blend, and is both satisfyingly warming, and amazingly tasty!

The dish gets its flavor, and deep red color from an entire half cup of the berbere. It sounds like a ton, but it is what makes this dish, so unique and addictive. You get a bit of heat from the ground chiles, warmth from cardamom, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, and a lovely sweetness from the paprika.

This is the third of six recipes in my recent Ethiopian Feast series:

Ethiopian FeastI know I just said that I think this one is my favorite, but it’s also just really amazing because of how it plays along with the other dishes. They all bring different elements to the table, and when eaten together, its truly sublime! Make sure you have lots of Injera on hand for this one 😛

I should mention that typically this dish is very spicy, but that’s dependent on how spicy your Berbere is or is not. My Berbere is not really that spicy at all (despite the fact it has a ton of dried chilies in it), so this particular version of Yemisir Wot is not that hot. However, if you are using a store-bought Berbere, taste it first, and adjust the amount as necessary!

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Yemisir Wot (Berbere Lentils)


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 small to medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pureed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and pureed
  • 1/2 cup berbere spice
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, washed
  • 3 cups water
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. In a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in the garlic, ginger, and berbere, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in the lentils and cook for 1 minute more. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes until thick and the the lentils have broken down a bit. Season, to taste, with salt.

recipe slightly adapted from here

This deeply spiced lentil dish is perfect served with spongy injera bread. | #recipe #vegan


9 Responses to “Ethiopian Feast: Yemisir Wot (Berbere Lentils)”

  1. CakePants — April 28, 2016 at 7:36 am

    I’m a huge fan of lentils, so I make sure to order them whenever I’m at an Ethiopian restaurant (or Indian, too, for that matter). I’ve never made any type of Ethiopian dish at home, though, so this is going on my to-try list. It looks delightful!

    • Rachael replied: — April 28th, 2016 @ 12:03 pm

      Honestly, it’s so much simpler than I would have imagined!

  2. El — September 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Are you sure about that? The 1/2 C berbere spice? That measurement for such a strong spice blend is not going to work out. Most other Ethiopian lentil recipes call for a tablespoon or two.

    • Rachael replied: — October 26th, 2016 @ 8:31 am

      I am positive lol

  3. willy — October 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    I love ethiopian food and am really looking forward to trying your recipes.
    I have a quick question though. Forgive me because I have NEVER tried to make ethiopian food before. Do you really mean to specify half a cup of the berbere spice blend? That sounds like a huge amount, especially compared with only 1 cup of lentils. I just thought I’d check with you first – many thanks!

    • Rachael replied: — October 26th, 2016 @ 8:30 am

      Hi Willy! Yep, it is a huge amount, but that is correct 🙂

  4. Katie-Bug — November 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Rachael! Thank you for your recipes! I’ve been trying to cut most of the meat out of my diet, and your page is amazing with all the vegan recipes! I’m especially happy with the Ethiopian Feast! I’ve made Dora Wot in the past and really loved it, so now I am happy for a vegan replacement that uses the berbere blend I made! Thank you!

    • Rachael replied: — November 28th, 2016 @ 6:19 pm

      Katie, I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipes! I hope to return to blogging, with more vegan recipes soon!

  5. Pingback: Coconut Curry Lentil Dal – Honest Cooking

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