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57 Most Popular Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods & Drinks
Ethiopian cuisine has a wealth of delicious and diverse vegetarian options that cater to the palates of plant-based eaters. With its vibrant flavors, aromatic spices, and unique cooking techniques, Ethiopian vegetarian foods offer a delightful culinary journey for those seeking meatless alternatives.
From hearty main dishes to flavorful snacks and refreshing beverages, Ethiopian vegetarian foods have something to satisfy every appetite.
For vegetarian travelers who are thinking of visiting Ethiopia, the best time to go to Ethiopia to sample and experience the wide array of foods is during the fasting season right before Orthodox Easter or right before Orthodox Christmas, when you can almost always get vegetarian food. This is due to the fact that the majority of Ethiopians who practice Ethiopian Orthodoxy will be abstaining from meat and dairy for around 50 days.
In this blog post, we will explore the most popular Ethiopian vegetarian foods and drinks across various categories, showcasing the richness and versatility of this vibrant cuisine.
1. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Main Dishes
Shiro (Ethiopian Chickpea Stew) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
One of Ethiopia’s most beloved dishes, Shiro served with injera is an essential part of Ethiopian cuisine. Even though there are some versions of Shiro that include meat, this recipe does not and is thus a vegan dish. Enjoy!
Alicha Shiro Wot (Ethiopian Mild Chickpea Stew) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Alicha Shiro Wot is a mild variation of the Shiro Wot (Ethiopian Chickpea Stew) dish; the main differenc being the turmeric spice which gives this dish a milder taste and light-yeloowish look. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to easily make Alicha Shiro Wot at home.
Misir Kik Wot (Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Misir Kik Wot, which is Ethiopian red lentil stew, is one of the most popular vegan/vegetarian dishes in Ethiopian cuisine – even though some versions of the dish add meat. It is a tasty lentil dish enriched with the flavor of Berbere. Learn how to make Misir Kik Wot by using this simple recipe, where you’ll find all of the ingredients you need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish along with all the necessary directions.
YeAter Alicha Kik Wot (Ethiopian Mild Yellow Split Pea Stew) RecipeCooks in 60 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
YeAter Alicha Kik Wot is a delicious and wholesome Ethiopian dish that is traditionally made with yellow split peas, onions, garlic, ginger root, and turmeric. This recipe for YeAter Alicha Kik Wot is full of flavor and simple to make with readily available ingredients. Moreover, even though it is a vegetarian dish, YeAter Alicha Kik Wot provides plenty of protein and nutrition. So, follow this recipe, make yourself a delicious YeAter Alicha Kik Wot , and enjoy!
Kik Wot RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Learn how to make Kik Wot by using this simple recipe from Ethiopian Food Guide. Here you will learn about all the ingredients you will need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish with all the necessary directions.
Lentil Vegetable Soup RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Lentil Vegetable Soup is a great comfort food you can enjoy at any time. It is especially popular during the flu seasons in Ethiopia. And, it is also vegan/ vegetarian friendly. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Lentil Vegetable Soup at home.
2. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Side Dishes
Ayib (Ethiopian Cottage Cheese) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Advanced
Ayib, or Ethiopian cottage cheese, is a staple of traditional Ethiopian cuisine. It is made from fresh cow’s milk and has been consumed for centuries. Ayib is relatively easy to prepare at home using simple ingredients. This recipe will explain how this tasty dish is made.
Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian Cabbage Salad) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Tikil Gomen is one of the most popular, vegetarian dishes in Ethiopia. It’s extremely easy to make and adjust depending on the individual portions that you prefer. Tikil Gomen is also a good side dish to go with other Ethiopian wot dishes, such as Misir Wot and Shiro Wot.
Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Green Salad) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Gomen is one of the most popular vegetable dishes in the Ethiopian cousin. The Ethiopian table doesn’t get greener than this staple dish, which you can make by using collard greens. Learn how to make an authentic Ethiopian dish by using our Gomen Recipe.
Timatim Salad (Tomato Salad) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
There are two versions of this Timatim (tomato) Salad recipe. One with pieces of Injera, and the other, without. Berbere and jalapeño peppers are the key ingredients, so the salad will have a little bit of a kick to it.
Fasolia RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
If you are looking for a vegetarian Ethiopian dish, it doesn’t get better than Fasolia; a delicious dish made from green beans. While there are several ways to make this dish, this is a great recipe to follow if you are a beginner.
Azifa (Ethiopia Lentil Salad) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Azifa is a delicious cold lentil dish that goes along very well with any Ethiopian meal. Learn how to make this dish by using this simple recipe. Here you find all the ingredients you need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish.
Fasolia Wot (Ethiopian String Beans Stew) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Fasolia Wot is great vegan/ vegetarian friendly dish that can be used as a side-dish complementing any other Ethiopian food. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Fasolia Wot at home.
Duba Wot (Ethiopian Pumpkin Stew) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Duba is an Amharic word used for both squash and pumpkin. You can use any variety of pumpkin or squash you like are have close at hand to make your Duba Wot.
3. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Breakfast
Chechebsa (Kita Firfir) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Chechebssa, also known as Kita Firfir, is essentially a shredded Kita, which is a flatbread popular in Ethiopia, fried with spices and Niter Kibbeh. It is one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Ethiopia.
Enkulal Tibs RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Learn how to make Enkulal Tibs by using this simple recipe from Ethiopian Food Guide. Here you will learn about all the ingredients you will need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish with all the necessary directions.
Genfo (Ethiopian Porridge) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Genfo, which is porridge in Amharic, is a well-known comfort dish and breakfast food, traditionally enjoyed by recovering new mothers. In Ethiopia, it can be made using wheat, barley, or maize, enriched with berbere and niter kibbeh. For this recipe, we will keep it simple and use wheat to make our Genfo.
Kinche RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Kinche is a common but distinctively Ethiopian breakfast dish. Somewhat resembling oatmeal, it is very easy and convenient to prepare, and it is also considered healthy. It can be made using various cracked cereals such as Sinde (wheat), Bekolo (corn), or Ajja (oats); all of which can easily be found in a nearby grocery store. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Kinche at home.
Buticha (Ethiopian Chickpea Flour Salad) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Advanced
Learn how to make Buticha by using this simple recipe from the Ethiopian Food. Here you will learn about all the ingredients you will need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish with all the necessary directions.
Firfir RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Firfir, another popular Ethiopian dish that can be eaten for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast. Learn how to make this dish by using our recipe, where you will find all of the necessary ingredients and step-by-step directions.
Yesuf Fitfit RecipeCooks in 50 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Learn how to make Yesuf (Sunflower seed) Fitfit by using this simple recipe from Ethiopian Food Guide. Here you will learn about all the ingredients you will need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish with all the necessary directions.
YeShinbera Alicha Fitfit RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
YeShinbera Alicha Fitfit is very enjoyable and tasty mild side-dish. It is made from shreded Injera thoroughly mixed with different Ethiopian spices including turmeric that gives it it’s mild taste and light-yellow color. YeShinbera Alicha Fitfit is vegan/ vegetarian friendly.
YeShinbera Asa Wot (Ethiopian Chickpea Fish Stew) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
This is a unique Ethiopian dish. YeShinbra Asa Wot, which directly translates to “chickpeas fish” in Amharic, doesn’t actually contain any fish at all. The name only refers to the texture of the dish that resembles fish. It is customarily prepared during special event as well as the fasting seasons.
4. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Snacks
Kolo RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Ethiopians accross the country often enjoy kolo as a snack – after meals, along with coffee or some bear. Use this recipe to make yourself some Kolo to munch on as a snack at any time of the day.
Dabo Kolo RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Dabo Kolo is crispily baked with small pieces of Dabo in the form of Kollo, which makes a great snack. This recipe adds some berbere to make it spicier and give its a little bit of a kick.
Dirkosh RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Dirkosh is basically injera chips made from dried Injera. This can be a great snack to enjoy, especially if consumed with Kochkocha (Yekarya Delleh) – a blazing hot, easy-to-make dipping sauce.
Kategna RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
If you have some extra injera on hand, use it to make this tasty treat. Learn how to make Kategna by using this simple recipe which is very beginner-friendly.
5. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Breads
Defo Dabo RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Defo Dabo is one of the several types of bread made in Ethiopia. Typically, making Defo Dabo requires a special ingredient – the leaves of the Enset (false banana) plant or Koba Kitel in Amharic. However, if you can’t find false banana leaves near you, you can just use banana leaves instead.
Engotcha RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
This is a traditional dish popular among Ethiopian Jews. Learn how to make Engotcha by using this simple recipe. Here you will find all the ingredients you need to make this traditional Ethiopian dish with all the necessary directions.
Ethiopian Lightly Spiced Whole Wheat Bread RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Ethiopian Whole Wheat Bread at home.
5.1. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Flatbreads
Injera (Ethiopian Flatbread) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Advanced
Injera is a type of flatbread typically made from teff flour and water. It has a spongy texture which makes it perfect to absorb the moisture from the different types of wot (stew) dishes it is eaten with; where Injera is actually used as an eating utensil. Plus it is gluten-free.
Kita RecipeCooks in 50 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Kita is a very thin traditional flatbread native to Ethiopia. It is typically made from simple ingredients such as flour, water and salt. Kita flour is often prepared from a variety of grains, such as wheat, teff, maize, barley, chickpeas, as well as a combination of these grains. Usually, it is cooked on a frying pan or a small-sized carpe maker.
Kocho RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Kocho is a traditional flatbread from the Gurage region of Ethiopia. It is made from chopped and grated pulp of the ensete plant. The pith from the pseudo-stem of the ensete plant is harvested, pulped, combined with yeast, and then fermented for three months to two years.
It serves as a mainstay in Ethiopian cooking, either in place of or in addition to Injera. It is estimated that around 15% of Ethiopians rely entirely or in part on Kocho for a sizable portion of their meals.
Kocho is typically consumed alongside several well-known Ethiopian foods including Kitfo, Gomen, and
Ambasha RecipeCooks in 75 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Ambasha is on of Ethiopia’s most popular breads that is frequently made for holidays like Christmas as well as other noteworthy events and festivities. It can, however, also make a fantastic snack or even breakfast. A typical Ambasha has cardamom, raisins, and black sesame seeds as flavorings, making it a pleasantly sweet and savory bread.
6. Ethiopian Vegetarian Foods – Condiments & Spice Blends
Berbere RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Berbere is an essential part of Ethiopian cuisine. Many popular dishes such as Doro Wot, require this spice. However, if you have found it difficult to find berbere in your local grocery or supermarket, you can make your own right in your own kitchen.
Mitmita RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Mitmita is a traditional powdered, red-orange spice blend that’s widely used in Ethiopia. It is the second most popular spice blend after Berbere. It is generally made from hot peppers that are stronger than those used in Berbere.
Traditionally, the main ingredients for making Mitmita are dried chili peppers, Korarima seeds (Ethiopian cardamom), but can also include other spices such as cloves, cumin, green cardamom, black pepper, dried garlic, cinnamon and salt. There is no one single recipe for this mixture of spices, instead there are in fact, many versions.
Afrenje (Ethiopian Chili Pepper Spice Blend) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Afrenje is a great substitute for some of Ethiopia’s well known spicy spice blends such as Berbere and Mitmita, especially for people with more delicate palates. With Afrenje, anyone can savor traditional Ethiopian flavors without having to tolerate too much heat. Afrenje tastes fantastic with recipes that have grilled or raw meat.
Awaze Recipe – How to Make Ethiopian Spicy Dipping SauceCooks in 5 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Awaze, also known as Dilih in some parts of Ethiopia, is one of the most popular Ethiopian traditional Ethiopian sauces. Here is an easy-to-follow Awaze Recipe you can try to make at home.
Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Clarified Butter) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Niter Kibbeh is one of the most essential ingredients in almost all authentic Ethiopian foods. And while it is readily available for sale, it is a lot of fun making your own!
Senafich (Spicy Mustard Seed Sauce) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Senafich is Amharc which directly translates to Mustard. However, the word Senafich is most commonly to refer to the spicy sauce made from Ethiopian mustard seeds. Senafich sauce has a more watery consistency than the typical western style mustard sauce, which makes it great to use as a dipping sauce.
Kochkocha (Yekarya Delleh) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Use this recipe to make a hot and delicious dipping sauce that is quite easy to make for any occasion. It is great to eat with Dirkosh, as well as most meat-based Tibs dishes.
Ethiopian Hummus RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Ethiopian Hummus is quite a tasty and appetizing paste that can be served along with any Ethiopian dish. It is mainly made from made from Fava Beans and Sunflower seeds, both of which come with several health benefits. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Ethiopian Hummus at home.
Telba Dipping Sauce RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
One of the recipes for Ethiopian flaxseeds is this dipping sauce. It can be served as a breakfast item or a snack along with Injera or bread. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Flaxseeds Dipping Sauce at home.
7. Ethiopian Vegetarian Drinks
7.1. Ethiopian Vegetarian Alcoholic Drinks
Tej (Traditional Ethiopian Honey Wine) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Advanced
Tej (Ethiopian honey wine) is a unique and intriguing drink with a long history and cultural significance. It is traditionally made from honey, water, and the leaf and stems of Gesho (a type of plant similar to hops). It has a distinct flavor that can be sweet or dry depending on how it is made, and it can range in strength from light to strong. Here is a step-by-step recipe that will help you prepare Tej at your home. Enjoy!
Tella RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Advanced
In Ethiopia, tella, a traditional alcoholic beverage, is very popular. It can also include spices. It is made from a variety of grains, including barley, corn, wheat, millet, or teff. For fermentation, shiny-leaf buckthorn leaves that have been dried and powdered are utilized.
Keribo RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
One of the most popular traditional fermented drinks in Ethiopian rural and urban areas is Keribo, also known as Keneto. It is frequently served on holidays and during special events like weddings. Keribo is made using sugar and overtoasted barley grain. Here is a simple recipe that you may use to create Keribo at home.
Shamita RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Shamita is a traditional fermented beverage widely consumed in different regions of Ethiopia, especially by the Gurage people. It is low in alcohol content, and is made by overnight fermentation of mainly roasted barley flour. Because of its thick consistency and being a good source of protin, Shamita has been known to be used as a meal replacement. However, it has poor keeping quality and must be consumed within a few hours after being ready for consumption.
7.2. Ethiopian Vegetarian Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Spiced Bunna (Ethiopian Coffee) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Coffee is referred to as “Bunna” in Amharic, and if you enjoy drinking it, you are probably already aware that Ethiopia is where coffee first originated. Ethiopian coffee, Bunna is renowned for its flavor, satisfaction, and aroma around the world.
Birz RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Birz is a traditional Ethiopian beverage made from water and fermented honey, that was once used as a regular substitute for water. It is quite tasty, refreshing and has many health advantages.
YeSuf Weha (Ethiopian Sunflower Seeds Juice) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
YeSuf Weha is a tasty Ethiopian drink that also comes with a lot of health benefits thanks to the sunflower seeds that are the core ingredient of the drink. Sunflowers are a great source of heart-healthy fats, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals that may help lessen your chance of developing common health issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is also vegan/vegetarian friendly.
YeNug Weha (Ethiopian Niger Seeds Juice) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
YeNug Weha is another one Ethiopia’s refreshing and healthy beverages. While it’s not quite a popular drink, it certainly does bring a lot to the table. The core ingredient of YeNug Weha is Nug (Niger Seeds), which originated in Ethiopia and is believed to have been domesticated before 3000 BC in the highlands of Ethiopia, where it is still cultivated as an oilseed crop. YeNug Weha has a slight nutty taste that comes from the Niger seeds, and is great source of amino acids. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make YeNug Weha at home.
YeBesso Duket Smoothie (Barley and Fruit Juice) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Barley is a popular cereal crop in Ethiopia. It is consumed as a snack slightly roasted to make Kolo, or roasted and ground to make YeBesso Duket, which can be mixed with water and honey to make a tasty, filling, and nutritious breakfast or snack. And it will even taste better when some fruits are added to the mix! Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make YeBesso Duket Smoothie at home.
Telba (Ethiopian Flaxseed Beverage) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Intermediate
Telba is a rich, pleasant, and healthful beverage from Ethiopia. It is created from ground, toasted flax seeds. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Telba (Ethiopian Flaxseed Beverage) at home.
YeTelba Smoothie (Flaxseeds Fruit Juice) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
YeTelba Smoothie is a very nutritious and tasty Ethiopian beverage that you can enjoy as a breakfast or snack. It is incredibly nutritious and quite healthy. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make YeTelba Smoothie at home.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Telba (Flaxseeds) Smoothie RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
This Fruits, Vegetables, and Telba (Flaxseeds) Smoothie is packed full of healthy nutrients tahnks to all the fruits and vegetables that are included, such as flaxseeds, mango, apple, banana, kale, spinach, carrots, celery, and honey. The conoction of this recipe is carefuly curated to get the most benefit out of each ingredient, while also taking careful consideration to the balance of taste that comes as a result of mixing these particular ingredients. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Fruits, Vegetables, and Telba (Flaxseeds) Smoothie at home. Enjoy!
YeAja Atmit (Ethiopian Cream of Oatmeal) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Atmit is an excellent, nutritious beverage that resembles a thin, filling porridge. Atmit, which has its origins in Ethiopia, is a widely consumed comfort beverage there that both kids and adults love. Several cereals and ingredients can be used to make it. As a result, Atmit recipes might differ greatly.
Besso BeTelba (Ethiopian Barley and Flaxseed) RecipeCooks in 70 minutesDifficulty: Easy
Besso BeTelba is an incredibly nutritious and filling beverage that you can drink for breakfast or snack. It is also really easy to make, and takes very little time to prepare. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make Besso BeTelba at home.
Ethiopian cuisine offers a delightful array of vegetarian foods and drinks that showcase the rich flavors and cultural heritage of the country. From hearty lentil stews to flavorful side dishes, the vegetarian main dishes offer a diverse range of options to tantalize your taste buds.
The selection of Ethiopian breads, including the staple Injera and unique Kocho, provides a perfect base for your meals. Enhance the flavors of your dishes with aromatic condiments like Berbere and Mitmita. And don’t forget to quench your thirst with traditional Ethiopian drinks, such as the honey wine Tej or the fragrant Ethiopian coffee, Bunna.
The world of Ethiopian vegetarian cuisine is a captivating adventure that invites you to explore the vibrant flavors and cultural traditions of this remarkable country. So, dive in and savor the vegetarian delights that Ethiopian cuisine has to offer.