Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

A few years ago I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and was completely taken with the food. I couldn’t remember all of the curries that I tried but I do remember the bread they served with the main course: injera. I wanted to recreate that meal at home so I set out researching Ethiopian curries. It turns out that the injera is served as the “plate” to place a variety of tasty curries. I settled on this red lentil and yam curry which I thought would go nicely on top of the injera. A spice blend of cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and allspice flavor the curry. The sweet potato and lentils went together so well and provided an element of sweetness that balanced the spices. It was a really simple dish that tasted great with the injera.

Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry
(makes 7-8 servings)
Printable Version


  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 medium sweet potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium sauce pot, heat the oil and add the onions and sweet potato. Cook on medium high heat for about 12 minutes covered.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Stir in the lentils, spices, tomato sauce, roasted pepper, and water.
  4. Cook on medium low for 35-40 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and lentils are soft. Add more water if the mixture becomes too thick.

14 Thoughts on “Ethiopian Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

  1. This sounds awesome! I adore Ethiopian food, too. I’ve only been out to have it at restaurants a few times, but I can never get enough. I just love all of the spices and heat. Yum.

  2. I’ve never tried Ethiopian food, but I think I should – that sounds gorgeous!

  3. Pingback: Guest posts this week and an Ethiopian red lentil curry « Walter O Food

  4. Looks great! What kind of tomato sauce do you use? (Homemade, canned, etc.? If canned, what brand?)

    • mschro on August 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm said:

      I used canned on this and I had no complaints on the flavor. I just used a plain sauce, full sodium but Im not sure which brand exactly. Hunts, contadina, or generic would probably do just fine

  5. Cool, thanks! Seems like it will make an awesome dish when my CSA starts kicking out sweet potatoes.

  6. This looks wonderful. I think I’m going to try this in the next couple of weeks!

  7. This sounds different, thanks.

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  9. This sounds really delicious – I absolutely love red lentils…

  10. Maggie on October 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm said:

    Made this for dinner tonight, I cooked the onions and sweet potatoes as stated and threw everything into a crockpot on high for about 2 1/2 hours. It was quite delicious, but did need more water, I even added an extra cup to start with. It was probably the crock pot, it was filled as high as I usually do. If I added about 4 cups to start with it would’ve been perfect. I’ll probably do a double batch in the crockpot next time. It was a hit with the kiddos too. :)

  11. Pingback: The Sweet Potato | Strength and Sunshine

  12. Thanks for this recipe, I’ve made it almost a dozen times and love to freeze lunchtime portions. This recipe is great because the flavors are rich and complex but it’s still really healthy.

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