Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew

Ethiopian Lentil Stew made easy in the Instant Pot! This spicy red lentil stew is full of flavors and the addition of spinach makes it more nutritious! Vegan & gluten-free.

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Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew with rice in a black bowl

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My first opinion of Ethiopian food was not very good. I think it had to do with the injera (the Ethiopian flatbread)  and mainly because it was served cold. Indians mostly eat everything super hot, at least that’s how it was in my house. Chai boiling hot straight from the pan, paratha and roti straight from the skillet to the plate and so on. You I kind of grew eating hot meals and then when I ate injera, my first reaction was why is it cold? I am not sure if its always served cold but that’s how it has been in most Ethiopian restaurants that I have been to.

Anyway so after that first encounter, I kind of stayed away from Ethiopian food but Sarvesh is a big fan so one day, I decided to give it another shot and I am so glad I did! I realized that the food was so flavorful and just so delicious with all the spices. Now it’s one of my favorites, especially because it has so many vegetarian options. My favorites? Misir Wot, which is the spicy red lentils that I am sharing today and Shiro Wot, the chickpeas which I also love.

Ethiopian Lentil Stew in a black bowl

Ethiopian cuisine uses a lot of a spices and one of the very famous ones is Berbere spice. It’s a mix of several spices and its hot! Seriously when I used it for the first time, I used it liberally and I couldn’t eat that food. Okay, maybe my tolerance level is low when it comes to handling hot food but still it was hot. Now I am just extra careful while using it.

 Let’s talk a bit about this Ethiopian Lentil Stew

– its made in the Instant Pot- like duh obviously, it so easy in the IP!

– I have used red lentils for this stew, you may use other lentils as well. But I think traditionally red lentil is what is used in the recipe.

– I added some spinach to the lentils to make it more wholesome.

– this recipe is vegan and gluten-free!

overhead shot of ethiopian lentil and rice

This recipe of Ethiopian Red Lentil comes together so quickly in the Instant Pot. It takes less than 30 minutes to put this spicy dish on the table. Traditionally it should be eaten with injera but since I don’t know how to make it and I didn’t even have the ingredients for it, I just ate it with some rice. Let me tell you, it tastes amazing either way!

I added 2 teaspoons of berbere spice mix here and it was little hot me still. I mean it was tolerable but hot. I know of people who would add like 1-2 tablespoons for the same amount of lentils, so if you are one of those feel free to add more. Also, it might depends on the brand you buy and how hot your spice mix is, so adjust accordingly.

Here are the products that I used for this recipe

 

Method

Press the saute button on your Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil and then add the chopped ginger, garlic, red onion & spring onion.

Cook the onion, ginger and garlic for around 3 minutes until softened. Then add the cumin powder and berbere spice.

Also add the salt, mix well and cook for few seconds.

Add the tomato paste, red lentils and stir for 30 seconds.

Then add 1.5 cups vegetable broth and close the lid.

Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes, with the pressure valve in the sealing position.

Quick release the pressure and then press the saute button.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth if desired at this point. I added the remaining 1/2 cup. Stir in the spinach leaves.

Let it simmer for 1 minutes or until the spinach leaves have wilted.

Serve this Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew with injera (the Ethiopian flat-bread) or plain rice! You may garnish it with cilantro or parsley.

Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew

Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Stew made in the Instant Pot! It's spicy, flavorful and makes a comforting meal. Vegan & gluten-free. 

Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew with rice in a black bowl
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 251 kcal
Author: Manali
4.89 from 9 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoon oil, use oil of choice
  • 1 inch ginger, 10 grams, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, 7 grams, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, 120 grams, sliced
  • 3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons berbere spice, adjust to taste
  • salt, to taste, little more than 1/2 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, 135 grams
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 25-30 baby spinach leaves
  • cilantro or parsley, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Press the saute button on your Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil and then add the chopped ginger, garlic, red onion & spring onion.

  2. Cook the onion, ginger and garlic for around 3 minutes until softened. Then add the cumin powder and berbere spice. Also add the salt, mix well and cook for few seconds.

  3. Add the tomato paste, red lentils and stir for 30 seconds. Then add 1.5 cups vegetable broth and close the lid.

  4. Press the manual or pressure cook button and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes, with the pressure valve in the sealing position.

  5. Quick release the pressure and then press the saute button.

  6. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth if desired at this point. I added the remaining 1/2 cup. Stir in the spinach leaves. Let it simmer for 1 minutes or until the spinach leaves have wilted.

  7. Serve this Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew with injera (the Ethiopian flat-bread) or plain rice! You may garnish it with cilantro or parsley. 

Recipe Notes

  1. You may use water in place of vegetable broth.
  2. Adjust spice levels to taste. Berbere spice is hot so adjust accordingly.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Amount Per Serving
Calories 251 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Sodium 825mg36%
Potassium 617mg18%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 1415IU28%
Vitamin C 9.8mg12%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 5.2mg29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew

 

34 thoughts on “Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew

  1. We actually have some berbere spice! We picked it up at a spice store over the holidays, and we’ve been meaning to use it…but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. Now I know what I want to try! But thanks for the heads up on how hot it is. I didn’t realize that. This stew looks like the perfect comfort food for a cold weekend! Hope you and Sarvesh have a great weekend, Manali! 🙂

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds injera to be cold, wet. slimy and disgusting. But I love everything else about Ethiopian food. Too bad we can’t bring our own fresh hot naan or flour tortillias to scoop up the deliciousness. Will try this recipe… And I’ll use naan…

    1. lol haha, I didn’t like injera at all at first but now I don’t find it that bad…of course I love their lentils and chickpeas so much more but injera is also kind of okay now..I just couldn’t get used to the idea of cold bread at first because in India we eat piping hot food. Great about eating it with naan or tortillas 😉

  3. Thanks for posting this. I’m Ethiopian and I normally make this dish in a pot, but it can be time-consuming, so I found your pressure cooking instructions. Just wanted to say that I did 6 minutes on high as well and it was just a wee bit too much (in my case). The lentils came out with too mushy a consistency, so I’m gonna try for 4 minutes next time. Thanks again!

  4. 5 stars
    Haven’t tried it yet, it looks really good. I can’t find berbere spice in my area. What can I use to substitute it with?

  5. This is excellent! I love Ethiopian food, especially the red and yellow lentil stews, and this recipe is as good as what I’ve had in local restaurants.

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe!! Interesting to read the other comment about 6 mins being too long. In our stove-top pressure cooker it was too short– probably didn’t build up enough pressure I suppose. Next time I’ll do the 10 min natural release.

    I bulked up the stew a bit with grated carrots, one fresh diced tomato, and a cup of okra which worked quite well!

  7. 5 stars
    This was delicious and it’s going in our recipe folder. We made our own berbere spice with a recipe that we found online excluding the peppers to keep it mild. Very easy to make and super flavorful. Our pot did say “burn” when we started the recipe so we restarted the cooking sequence but I think we may add a bit more broth next time as it did burn on the bottom just a bit.

  8. Hi! Im excited to try this recipe and Im new to using my InstantPot so I have a question.
    I need to feed 6 people so normally I would just double a recipe but using the Instantpot Im not sure if or how to adjust the time.
    Do I just double everything about the recipe including the time?

    Thanks so much!
    Susan

  9. 5 stars
    Made a triple batch tonight in my 8-quart IP, threw in a couple cans of chickpeas and a small package of baby carrots. Very nice indeed! Thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    I cooked it exactly as written and was excellent. Not too much heat so I’ll add more for when I make for my son. Very easy to make. I also made injera to go with it.

  11. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time tonight. It sounded so good that I decided to risk a double batch (which I don’t usually do the first time I try a new recipe!) I also didn’t want to wait to find Berbere in a store or online, so I made some from the link you mentioned in an earlier comment. I also had the same experience as you did when I first tried Ethiopian food – the injera made me think that I didn’t care for the whole meal. So, I REALLY wanted this to be good to change my experience and memory. It exceeded my hopes by SO much!!! This was absolutely delicious! I used a “hot” chili powder in my berbere and it had a nice kick, and served it over jasmine rice.
    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe. I suspect that this will become something that we eat often!

  12. 5 stars
    So good!!!!! We did a whole bag of spinach and added the different seasonings that usually make the berbere seasonings!!! Definitely gonna be a family favorite and we used pita bread to scoop it up!!! YUM 😋

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