4 ratings

Messer Wot- Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

A vegan dish fit for a holiday or a weeknight
Ethiopian food - Messer Wot, Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew, is perfect for Passover or any day - The Daily Meal
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

This Ethiopian red lentil stew is vegan and great for Passover (if your tradition permits lentils) but delicious any time of year. It’s a simple, flavorful dish consisting of onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, red lentils and the Ethiopian spice mix berbere. Scroll down for the recipe, or watch the messer wot recipe video to see how it's made (via The Daily Meal’s YouTube channel).

Recipe Courtesy Beejhy Barhany, Tsion Cafe


If you don't have berbere, you can find it online or make your own (mix together 3 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon ground chile powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg, 1/2 tablespoon fenugreek, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom). Alternately, you can just use hot chili to taste, though you won't get the same depth of flavor.


  • 2 red onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 white onions, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 Cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 Cup berbere
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups red lentils, rinsed


Step 1: In a food processor, puree the 4 onions onions, 6 cloves garlic and 2 teaspoons fresh ginger until smooth.

Step 2: In large pan, heat 1/2 cup oil and sauté the onion-garlic-ginger in oil; cook until soft, stirring occasionally; about 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: Add 6 ounces tomato paste, ½ cup water, 1/4 cup berbere and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 15 minutes while stirring; reduce heat.

Step 4: Add 2 cups red lentils to pan; stir and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes until the lentils are soft. Add water as needed to prevent the lentils from drying up and the pan from scorching (up to 4 cups water total).

Step 5: Add additional salt to taste, if desired. Serve with injera or rice.

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