For the uninitiated, Ethiopia might seem like a country where the cuisine tends to be centered heavily on spiced meat dishes. The truth is, some of the most flavorful vegan and vegetarian cuisine on the planet comes from this East African country. If you closely examine Ethiopian food, you’ll find a cornucopia of plant-based dishes that integrate the country’s lush and abundant plant and vegetable life, from lentils and garlic to mushrooms and collard greens.
In Ethiopia, most meals are eaten with the hands rather than with the silverware you’ll find on most dinner tables in the West. That’s where injera comes in. Ethiopian meals start with injera, a sour, fermented, spongy flatbread. Not a meal itself, it’s more of a utensil, used as a way to soak up and eat the main course. Etiquette says that you tear off pieces of injera and use it to scoop up the other elements of the meal. Injera is usually paired with wat (or wot), a heavy, spicy stew of lentil beans, various vegetables, and sometimes lamb or beef.
But there’s much more to Ethiopian cuisine than flatbread and stew. Here are 10 vegan and vegetarian dishes from Ethiopia.