Ethiopian-Style Lentil Stew with Collards & Sweet Potato

While this may look like a lot of different things happening, it’s actually quite fast to make and satisfies the hankering for all the different tastes.  For a filling meal, serve the stew as shown here with collards and mashed sweet potato – or perhaps use it to dress a large baked potato alongside a green salad!  And should you desire to freeze some of lentils for the future, the recipe scales up nicely.

Yield: 3 servings, approximately 3 cups

What you need, for the stew:

  • 1 onion, small dice, 1 cup
  • 1 carrot, small dice, 1/3 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon Berberé spice blend (this can be found in gourmet/foodie stores, or you can make your own since the pre-made blends tend to be quite heavy on the cayenne and skimpy on the aromatics…  a nice recipe can be found here, or Google to find one that floats your boat!)
  • 2 cups crushed tomato, home-canned preferred
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsweetened, crunchy, peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked lentils (brown, du Puy or green – no red lentils here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + a pinch (or more, to taste)                                                               IMG_0012.JPG

What you need, to serve:

  • 2 collard leaves per person, deveined and steamed until bright
  • 1/2 a baked or BBQ sweet potato per person, mashed
  • hot sauce (optional)

What you do, for the stew:

  1. Heat a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat.  When hot, add the onion and carrot, a generous pinch of salt, and stir a couple of times.  Cover and cook, sweating the onion until its translucent, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Uncover, add the garlic and Berberé, and stir and mix until fragrant, 30 seconds, perhaps a smidge more.  Things will start sticking.
  3. If you have to struggle to open your tomatoes, then add a couple of splashes of water to give you some time.  Otherwise, add the crushed tomatoes to deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pot to get all the stuck bits unstuck and into the sauce.  Add the peanut butter and mix well to dissolve it evenly into the tomato and vegetable mixture.
  4. Add the peanuts, lentils and salt and bring to a simmer.  Lower heat as necessary and simmer, uncovered, at least 10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld and the lentils to heat through.  If desired, feel free to cook longer to thicken it some more.   IMG_0022.JPG
  5. Serve.

What you do, to serve:                                                                                                   IMG_0013.JPG

  1. Lay out two collard leaves to make a ”wrap”.
  2. Spread the ”wrap” with a thick layer of mashed sweet potato.
  3. Add as mush of the stew as you think you can roll in there, 1/2 a cup rolls well – but still expect to need a fork and knife to eat the roll since the stew is too loose to play well as portable food.                                                                         IMG_0016.JPG
  4. Slice and serve (with a fork and knife), topped with additional stew if desired.

Variations, for the stew:

  • Add a couple of teaspoons of fresh grated ginger along with the garlic;
  • Add a chopped potato along with the lentils and simmer long enough, covered, for the potato to get tender;
  • Add some chopped eggplant along with the lentils and simmer long enough, covered, for the eggplant to get tender.


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