the taste space

Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on March 2, 2012

Just when it seemed like Rob and I had finally settled into our new place, unpacked all our stuff, got rid of the mattress in the dining room, we found out we would be moving again.

While we haven’t found a new place to live yet, I am hoping to stay in the same neighbourhood, which I have grown to love.  It is a lovely working class residential neighbourhood with some positive gems – a summer Farmer’s Market, a simple unassuming health store filled with bulk and organic ingredients, and oodles of ethnic grocers along Danforth. Our specific area is kind of a hodge podge of cultures: Ethiopian stores can be found next to Bengali supermarkets, but that is what I love. Before one of our Ethiopian fests, Rob went out to try to find some injera and instead came home with roti. All the injera was sold out, explaining how he ended up in Little India instead.

I have only recently discovered a love for Ethiopian food as I know it can be deathly spicy. I was converted after a glorious visit to a vegan Ethiopian resto, M&B Yummy, again quite an unassuming hole-in-wall kind of place, where you can get a huge meal for two under $30 including $2 Mill St Organic beers and $3 tofu cheesecakes from Sweets from the Earth. The vegetarian platter, served overtop a lovely sour injera pancake, includes berbere-spiced faux meat, spicy red lentil stews (or wats), as well as not as the milder collard greens, split pea puree, carrot and green bean dish and a lettuce salad. Sadly, we haven’t been able to try the chickpea scramble, butucha, as they’ve always been out.

My two favourite dishes from this platter are the split pea puree (kik alicha) and green bean and carrot dish (fasoulia). Both were the least spicy of the dishes and work well adjacent to the spicy lentil purees and faux meats. I have duplicated both recipes, and will share them eventually.

In the meantime, I have brought together most of the traditional elements of Ethiopian cuisine into one dish.  Split peas. Berbere. Collard greens. Kabocha squash, too. In a one-pot meal. Boo-yah! I originally spotted this on Ainslie’s blog and my curiosity was piqued with the sweet split peas contrasting with the spicy berbere. She suggests serving this overtop kale, which was just the invitation I needed to throw collards into the stew as well. The result is a hearty stew, creamy and sweet from the split peas and squash, with a touch of bitterness from the collards and enough heat you can tolerate from the berbere. Rob and I scored a hefty sample of berbere from a nearby store and I was pleasantly surprised that it was more flavourful than spicy. It definitely helps to experiment with the blends from different stores as well as different recipes.


This is my submission to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring hot spices, to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Heather. For Lisa’s complete birthday menu, (since I haven’t shared my other Ethiopian favourites yet), I’d serve it with fun Moroccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce and finish it off with a Moroccan Orange Cinnamon Salad and Raw Mango Paradise Bars for a decadent birthday treat.

Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards

1.5 tsp coconut oil
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2-1 tsp berbere, or to taste (recipe here)
2 cups kabocha squash (or other squash, or sweet potato/yam), chopped into 1-2 cm pieces (~3/4 lb)
1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed (optional-soaked)
2.5 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 bunch collards, stemmed and thinly sliced

1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the coconut oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger and saute until the onion has softened and transparent, around 8-10 minutes.

2. Add berbere, stirring, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

3. Add squash, split peas, water and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cook partially covered 45-75 minutes until split peas are softened and broken down almost completely.

4. Add in sliced collards, and stir to heat through. Cover and simmer until the collards are bright green and heated through, approximately 3-5 minutes.

Serves 4.

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30 Responses

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  1. foodblogandthedog said, on March 2, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Thi sounds amazing I’ve never tried Ethiopian food but it sounds like I need to. Just going to check out the Berbere stuff. Thanks for some exciting new recipes to try!!

  2. Stephanie said, on March 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    all my favorites together! Just wondering, what’s a berbere? Is that what it makes it Ethiopian? Thanks!!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM

      Hey Stephanie, Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend with savoury elements but it is known for being incredibly spicy from the cayenne!

  3. Joanne said, on March 2, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Moving is definitely my least favorite activity of all time! Yuck.

    Ethiopian is one of my FAVORITE foods of all time! Yum! I really want to learn to make injera someday…to scoop up all of this stew goodness!

  4. Zoa said, on March 2, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Twins, I tell ya! This is so exactly my type of recipe! Even though I’ve never really even made Ethiopian food. Mmmm….

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 3, 2012 at 5:46 AM

      Zoa, try it – you’ll love it! You likely have all the spices to make berbere and I know you love Indian, so don’t be shy. :)

  5. Dawn said, on March 3, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Oh my gosh this is perfection. I love the squash and collards together with the ginger. I can’t seem to get enough collards lately. Mmm….

  6. […] coconut as a back up. Suffice it to say, it has been in my freezer since the summer. Since we have a move looming in the next few months, I have been trying to clean out the freezer. I finally busted it out for […]

  7. mskristiina said, on March 5, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    So sorry you have to move again! We’ve been doing that all weekend and it’s not fun.

    I love kabocha! I’m going to have to try this once I get my kitchen unpacked.

  8. Ashley said, on March 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried making Ethiopian food at home but did enjoy it when I tried it a restaurant once! This dish sounds really good. I love kabocha squash.

  9. […] had planned on going Ethiopian this year, as it is the theme of our current neighbourhood. However, we changed our minds at the last minute because I wasn’t in the mood to cook up 5 […]

  10. Lisa said, on March 8, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Oh Janet – that is a lovely dish and I love your menu plan with me in mind. Thank you. As it turns out, I have an ethiopian menu planned that I wish to try soon. I have never made ethiopian food at home, though I have eaten out and enjoyed it very much.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 8, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      You’re welcome, Lisa. Once you have berbere and nitter kibbeh, Ethiopian is easy to make at home! I had a hard time deciding whether to make you kootu instead, but instead went with this slightly spicier Ethiopian stew. I am excited to see what you whip up in your kitchen. :)

  11. […] with spices. As you can tell, though, my favourite spices cannot be contained within 12 test tubes. When I move, I need to devise a new spice system. The problem? I don’t know what my next kitchen will […]

  12. foodblogandthedog said, on March 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Made this , loved it and am now on a complete Ethiopian adventure. Made injera flatbreads with spelt flour, can’t get teff anywhere, thanks for the introduction!!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on March 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Ooh, wonderful! I’d love to see your injera recipe because while I have teff flour, my mini injera did not work. :(

  13. […] I am munching away through my freezer before our next move, I am rediscovering meals that I should have blogged about but for some reason, I […]

  14. Angela said, on March 25, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    So glad I saw this bookmarked at tinned tomatoes. It looks amazing!

  15. […] the kale will be our legacy gift as we won’t be able to enjoy it this summer (moving!), although I may be able to eat baby kale salads before we […]

  16. […] I hooked you onto Ethiopian food yet? If you like Indian curries, you’ll also likely really enjoy Ethiopian cuisine with […]

  17. […] & Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)) along with the Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards, you are able to put together a veritable Ethiopian feast. […]

  18. […] wat or wot (what?) is an Ethiopian stew. I first read about Ethiopian cuisine on The Taste Space and I knew I had to try it out for myself. It is spicy, which I love as you might have guessed […]

  19. […] Recipes as a quick and simple meal both of us enjoy. We may have moved across town, from one Little Ethiopia to another, so we have easy access to injera. Terry also has a recipe for (Almost) Instant Injera, […]

  20. […] Eggplant and Seitan Stew Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha) Ethiopian Split Pea and Squash Stew with Collard Greens Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup with Dill at Power Hungry Curried Squash and Split Pea Soup at […]

  21. […] Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards […]

  22. mimm #16 | Plants & Pages said, on January 13, 2014 at 7:05 AM

    […] feast! Two almost-fail injera (basically teff pancakes) alongside my own take on Janet’s Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards (I swapped red lentils for the split peas) and a helping of roasted […]

  23. Tiscareno's Vegan Lifestyle said, on July 24, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    […] Serves 3-4, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from The Taste Space […]


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