RECIPE: Pressure-Cooker Berbere Spiced Lentils


This richly spiced vegetarian dish takes 10 minutes to prep and is ready to eat in an hour.

Living more sustainably doesn't have to be only about reducing waste and choosing your bike over your car. What you eat also plays a role in your effect on our environment. Eating a largely plant-based diet is one of the best ways to create less of a carbon footprint. Swapping beans, peas and lentils for meat is a fantastic (and planet-friendly) way to add a high-quality source of nutrition — particularly plant-based protein and fibre — to your menu.

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Berbere spiced lentils

RECIPE: Pressure-Cooker Berbere Spiced Lentils

  • Author: Annabelle Waugh
  • Yield: Makes about 5 cups, or 4 to 6 servings 1x


These richly spiced lentils are easy (either in the pressure-cooker or on the stovetop) and flavourful. And — bonus! — they are budget-friendly, to boot. Serve with your favourite cooked grain, or over some creamy mashed potatoes.


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoon berbere spice blend (see Notes, below)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  1. Set an electric pressure cooker to the sauté function on medium. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, see Stovetop Version, below.) Cook berbere seasoning and coriander, stirring often, until very fragrant and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  2. Add water, lentils, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, sugar, tomato paste and paprika; stir to combine. 
  3. Close and seal the lid. Set the cooker manually to high pressure, and cook for 25 minutes. Let the steam release naturally for 15 minutes, then vent with the release valve to release any remaining pressure. 
  4. Open the lid and stir in cilantro. Season with salt to taste.

Stovetop Version: Increase water to 5 cups. In a large saucepan, cook berbere seasoning with coriander over medium heat, stirring often, until very fragrant and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add water, lentils, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, sugar tomato paste and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until lentils are tender and liquid is saucy, about 30 minutes. Continue as directed above.


Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend available in African grocery stores, supermarkets with a robust seasonings section, specialty spice shops, and online. Can’t find it? Use any spice mix, like ras el hanout, garam masala, curry powder or even chili powder.

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Annabelle Waugh
Annabelle Waugh
Annabelle Waugh is a food writer, recipe developer, food stylist and culinary instructor with a passion for sustainable, healthy eating. Her life’s mission is to create trustworthy, delicious recipes that anyone can tackle.
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