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Berbere-Spiced Chickpea Stew

A spicy, rich and hearty vegan stew based on the Ethiopian pureed dish, shiro wat.

I don't think I've ever had an Ethiopian dish in my life. And I didn't set out to make one when I made this dish! I was in my mother's room and she was watching PBS and a food show was on and it caught my attention. It was called Milk Street. On that particular episode the chef had a guest chef on the show that was making an amazing looking sweet Mexican corn cake. *Mmmmm, cake*! I was trying to figure out if I could veganize it so I had to look up the recipe. When I did, I realized that there was probably no way to veganize the cake so I started looking at other recipes.

This dish caught my eye. Of COURSE it caught my eye, it's chickpeas after all! Chickpeas are a staple food item for vegan and plant-based folk. At least they are in my humble opinion.

I had made berbere spice the day before for a black eyed pea hummus dish so I was excited to see it as the spice for the stew. This dish immediately reminded me of chickpeas curry (chana masala) as I was preparing it. The heady, aromatic spices, onion, tomatoes and garlic are also ingredients for the curry.

So off I set to make this recipe. It looked so filling and something I could eat off of for several days. It's a little challenging when you're trying to veganize a dish you've never had but even if it doesn't taste like the original, it was exceptionally delicious.

This recipe is modified from Christopher Kimball's Milk Street.


2 Tbsp red lentils

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white miso paste (or substitute 1/2 tsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar if you can't find miso)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

8 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

2 Tbsp berbere (can usually find in grocery stores or specialty/international food stores)

2 15-1/2ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups fresh)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 cup lightly packed parsley, chopped (or 1/4 cup dried)


1. In a spice grinder, pulse the lentils until finely ground, about 10 pulses. (Note: I don't have a spice grinder so I used a mortar and pestle and ground as fine as possible). Set aside. Add olive oil to saucepan and set to medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the miso or soy sauce/vinegar combo, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and berbere. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have given up their liquid and the mixture is beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the chickpeas, ground lentils*, 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Boil over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook at a simmer, uncovered and stirring often, until the sauce clings to the chickpeas, about 15 minutes. Take off heat, then stir in the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy! And if you make this recipe, drop me a comment and let me know how you like it.

Serves 4

*Note: Stir the stew after adding the ground lentils and the water. The lentils thicken the liquid and may stick to the bottom of the pan, so make sure to scrape along the bottom to prevent scorching.


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