9 Incredible Vegan Ethiopian Recipes

By Megan Edwards,

Ethiopian cuisine is an absolutely delightful sensory experience: Fragrant spices infuse every dish, colorful produce turn your plate into an edible rainbow, and spongy crepe-like bread is used instead of utensils to scoop up your meal. Better yet, many dishes are naturally plant-based and full of nourishing ingredients that make it perfect to serve in a shared, family-style setting. We’ve gathered out favorite vegan Ethiopian recipes so you can bring the flavors of East Africa into your kitchen with ease. Each dish can be eaten alone, but we suggest making a few of of these recipes together for a savory smorgasbord and immersive dining experience!

Quick and Easy Injera resting in green cloth napkins

Quick and Easy Injera

This essential Ethiopian recipe functions as the backbone of the entire cuisine and is a must-have when you’re whipping up an East African spread. Soft, spongy, and tangy like sourdough, injera pairs perfectly with the bold flavors of the main dishes and sops up extra sauce so you don’t waste a drop. This recipe can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the fridge so you’re ready to eat once the main course is finished cooking. And because this crepe-like bread is used in place of utensils, your post-meal cleanup becomes that much easier!
Ethiopian Collard Greens and Chard in gray bowls against a dark wood tabletop

Ethiopian Collard Greens and Chard

If you think you’re not a fan of collard greens, then you’ve never tried them Ethiopian-style. This easy recipe pairs collards with Swiss chard to create a delicious leafy green medley seasoned with cardamom, cumin, coriander, and garlic. A touch of plant-based milk forms a light simmer sauce that cooks the greens to tender perfection. One happy reader raves, “This was amazing!!! My kids even ate it and loved it!”
Inguday Tibs (Spicy Ethiopian Mushrooms) in a large metla pot with a wooden spoon against a red wooden background

Inguday Tibs (Spicy Ethiopian Mushrooms)

Meaty portobello mushrooms and tender green beans get the royal treatment in this delectable Ethiopian dish that straddles the line between a saucy stir-fry and a stew. A symphony of spices, including berbere, paprika, cardamom, and mustard powder, infuse the veggies with the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors, while lemon juice adds a touch of citrusy brightness. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving, and scoop up with strips of injera for maximum deliciousness.
Shiro Wat (Chickpea Flour Stew) in a white ceramic bowl surrounded by red onions and garlic on a wood tabletop

Shiro Wat (Chickpea Flour Stew)

One of the best aspects of Ethiopian cuisine is its ability to turn basic ingredients into stunning displays of culinary creativity. Here, humble chickpea flour (also called besan) is transformed into a rich, velvety stew with the help of red onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Berbere spice adds its signature mark to the soup, while a teaspoon of tahini or cashew butter imparts extra creaminess to the dish. Shiro wat is ideal for slurping up on chilly evenings with a side of injera to soak up any leftovers.
Homemade Berbere Spice Blend in a wooden bowl with a metal spoon

Homemade Berbere Spice Blend

While you can certainly find premade berbere seasoning at a well-stocked supermarket, making your own blend is a rewarding experience because you can see all the different spices that combine to give Ethiopian food its iconic flavor. A balance of 10 different herbs form the perfect blend of smoky, earthy, sweet, and spicy tastes that can zhuzh up even the most bland dish. Keep this spice blend in an airtight container so you can sprinkle it into your cooking whenever your meal needs some extra oomph.
Warm Spiced Eggplant Salad in a small blue bowl with a side of pita bread

Warm Spiced Eggplant Salad

With a similar texture to ratatouille but a distinctive East African flavor profile, this vegan Ethiopian recipe is perfect for serving up with crispy pita bread triangles during appetizer hour. Tender eggplant, juicy tomatoes, and sweet onions are simmered with berbere seasoning and cayenne pepper until everything melds together into a soft jumble of savory veggies. Stirring in cilantro and parsley at the end adds some tasty herbal notes to take this warm dip-style salad from ordinary to outstanding.
This delicious wild rice pilaf recipe makes use of the Ethiopian spice berbere. Be sure to keep it on hand to make ordinary dishes like this extra special!

Ethiopian Wild Rice Pilaf

“We really enjoyed this,” writes one happy reader after making this nutrient-packed rice pilaf. Chewy wild rice and hearty adzuki beans are flavored with the classic berbere spice blend and infused with the earthy sweetness of chopped leeks. Orange zest adds a scrumptious citrus twist that pairs well with the fragrant spices. If you don’t want to make injera bread, this pilaf is a great substitute to serve as a base for your other Ethiopian dishes and soak up the extra sauces.
Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian-Style Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots) in a cast iron skillet

Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian-Style Cabbage, Potatoes, and Carrots)

Familiar pantry staples get an East African twist in this iconic Ethiopian side dish. Earthy turmeric and spicy jalapeños season potatoes, cabbage, and carrots with finger-licking flavor, while onions and garlic work their magic to infuse everything with umami undertones. A little bit of lemon juice brightens everything up so this veggie medley strikes the perfect balance of savory, spicy, and citrusy.

Curried Tomato Lentil Soup (Shorba Addis)

This Ethiopian-style curry features tender potatoes, hearty lentils, and chewy orzo pasta to create a rich and satisfying dish filled with the flavors of East African cooking. If you don’t have berbere seasoning, curry powder makes a nice substitute and combines with fenugreek seeds, garlic, and ginger for a lusciously spiced sauce. This recipe is quite versatile, so feel free to toss in any extra veggies you have lying around that need to get used up.

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About the Author

Headshot of Megan Edwards

About the Author

Megan Edwards

Megan Edwards is a staff writer and content producer for Forks Over Knives. She is also a certified RYT-500 yoga teacher who is passionate about cultivating holistic wellness through plant-based eating, mindful movement, and meditation. With a background in journalism and marketing, she supports both the online presence and quarterly print magazine for Forks Over Knives.
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