Quick Ethiopian Dish: Berbere Lentils with Rainbow Quinoa

quick ethiopian dish

I love Ethiopian food, but my husband isn’t super into it. That means I don’t get to enjoy Ethiopian very often, so when I do it’s a treat. This quick Ethiopian dish is not super authentic, but it hits the spot if you’re craving a fiery bowl of Berbere goodness.

Not too long ago I wrote an article for Care2 about choosing ethical quinoa. A company I mentioned in that article – Alter Eco – liked what I had to say so much that they sent me a bag of their quinoa as a thank you. I don’t know if you guys have seen some of the bummery stories about quinoa lately, but the jist of the thing is that because folks in wealthy nations are getting into quinoa, it’s driving up the prices for the people who traditionally relied on it as part of their diet. The good news is, it turns out the higher price of quinoa is good for Bolivian farmers who grow it. If you choose fair trade quinoa, you can dish up without the guilt. Yay!

Alter Eco is one company that makes fair trade quinoa, and they sent me a bag of their rainbow quinoa to try out. I had already written the piece for Care2 when they contacted me, but I’m not one to turn down free food! Their quinoa is super delicious and has a mix of different varieties, so it’s beautiful, too. Check it:

rainbow quinoa

This quick Ethiopian dish is really just a spin on my easy Indian recipe. I know that hand-mixed berbere seasoning is extra tasty and fun, but sometimes you’re willing to give up a little oomph for easy. I used the Berbere seasoning from Penzey’s, but if you don’t have a Penzey’s near you, you can also find this spice mix on Amazon.

Berbere is a spice blend, and it can be pretty spicy. The Penzey’s bottle says to use 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) in a four serving dish, and holy moly, you guys. That makes a spicy batch of lentils! I like things that are spicy, and it was even a little bit much for me. You might want to start a little timidly with this blend and up the ante as you get a feel for how to balance out the heat.

Quick Ethiopian Dish: Berbere Lentils with Rainbow Quinoa


  • 1/2 cup  French lentils
  • 1/2 cup rainbow quinoa (you can substitute any quinoa you like, really)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2-3 teaspoons Berbere seasoning (depending how hot you want this)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped


  1. Combine all of your ingredients in the rice cooker and turn it on. When it clicks off, it’s done!
  2. Serve topped with vegan yogurt, if you need to cool things down a bit. If you want to get really fancy, whip yourself up a batch of injera. You can find recipes online or in my pal Kittee’s Ethiopian cookbook!
6 comments on “Quick Ethiopian Dish: Berbere Lentils with Rainbow Quinoa
  1. Pingback: Why You Should Eat More Lentils in 2016 | Nifymag.com

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