11 Best Ethiopian Side Dishes and Food You’ll Enjoy

Mexican, Indian and Chinese cuisines are very popular when exploring tastes and flavors outside what we (most of us) are used to. However, it will be wrong to think the aforementioned cuisines are the only ones available to sample.

There is a whole world of delicious native cuisines to try and explore, this will bring you out of your routine dining experience. One of such cuisines to try is Ethiopian cuisine. I credit my Ethiopian uni-roommate Ayana for introducing me to Ethiopia’s amazing and tasty food.

Ethiopian food is known for its flavorful and spicy dishes, which can seem a little bit overwhelming if you’re not used to it. However, Ethiopian side dishes are the perfect way to ease your way into this unique cuisine.

I’ll share 11 of my favorite Ethiopian side dishes in this article. So whether you’re an Ethiopian food enthusiast or just starting, these dishes are sure to please!

Ethiopian Sides:

  1. Beef tibs
  2. Ethiopian shiro wat (soup)
  3. Injera
  4. Gomen (Ethopian collard greens)
  5. Kik alicha
  6. Misir Wat (spiced red lentils)
  7. Fossolia (Ethiopian style green-beans)
  8. Atikilt (Ethiopian cabbage & potato dish)
  9. Teff stew
  10. Doro Wat
  11. Ethiopian yams

Beef Tibs

Ethiopian cuisine is as fascinating as it is delicious. The flavors are layered and complex, with a unique mix of spices and herbs that is entirely on its own. There are many different dishes to explore, and one of my favorites is beef tibs.

The beef tibs are cooked in a rich and spicy sauce made from berbere, a traditional Ethiopian spice blend. The sauce is simmered until the beef is tender and then served over steamed rice or injera, a sourdough flatbread that is popular in Ethiopia.

The result is a dish that is both comforting and exotic, with flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

If you’re looking for an adventure in flavor, be sure to try some Ethiopian cuisine – you won’t be disappointed!

Ethiopian Shiro Wat (Soup)

Shiro wat is an Ethiopian soup that is made from chickpeas and spices. It is hearty and filling yet still light and flavorful. The soup is traditionally served with injera, but it can also be enjoyed on its own.

The key to the flavor of Shiro Wat is in the spice blend. The soup is made with a combination of cumin, coriander, paprika, and chili powder.

These spices give the soup a deep and earthy flavor that is balanced by the sweetness of the chickpeas.

If you’re looking for a soup that will warm you from the inside out, be sure to try Shiro wat. In addition, you can make a vegetarian version of this soup by substituting beef broth for vegetable broth.


Injera is a sourdough flatbread that is popular in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is made from teff flour, which gives it a slightly sour flavor.

Interestingly, injera is used as both a utensil and a plate, as it is traditionally used to scoop up food.

Injera is a simple bread to make, and it can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To make injera, you will need:

  • Teff flour
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Salt

Mix the batter and pour it onto a large, round, griddle-like pan and spread it out until it becomes very thin.

Cook the injera until it is soft and slightly crispy. Injera gets its brownish color from the teff flour, and it should have a spongy texture.

Once the injera is cooked, remove it from the pan and serve immediately.

Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)

Gomen is an Ethiopian dish made from collard greens that are simmered in a spiced tomato sauce. The greens used in this dish are typically chopped very fine, which allows them to absorb the flavors of the sauce.

This dish is typically served with injera or but it can also be enjoyed on its own.

This is a nutritious dish that can be made to suit individual tastes. For example, if you want a more flavorful dish, you can add additional spices. Alternatively, if you want a milder dish, you can reduce the amount of chili powder.

Kik alicha

This is a yellow split pea that has been simmered in a turmeric and ginger-infused sauce. Kik alicha is a milder dish, making it a good choice for those who are new to Ethiopian cuisine.

This dish is typically served with injera or rice. To make Kik alicha, you will need to soak the split peas in water for at least an hour. Drain and rinse the peas. Add the ginger, turmeric, garlic, and onion.

Simmer for at least 35-45 minutes or until the split peas are soft.

This creamy and flavorful sauce is perfect for spooning over injera or rice.

Misir Wat (spiced red lentils)

I absolutely love Misir Wat, which is a spicy red lentil stew. The lentils are cooked with onions, tomatoes, garlic, and a variety of flavorful spices, resulting in a dish that is both hearty and delicious.

Misir wat is usually served with injera on the side, which is used to scoop up the stew like a tortilla would be used to scoop up chili con carne.

The exotic taste of this dish will leave you wanting more. Just keep in mind that red lentils tend to cook faster than other types of lentils, so be sure to keep an eye on them while they’re simmering.

Fossolia (Ethiopian-style green beans)

You can prepare this dish in various ways due to the freedom to include any ingredients you desire. The Ethiopian-style green beans are usually sauteed with onions, garlic, and ginger.

They can be served as a side dish or as a main course. Ethiopian-style green beans are best when they are cooked until they are soft but still have a little crunch to them.

In addition, you can use either fresh tomatoes or tomato paste for this dish. Furthermore, if you wish you can include carrots, potatoes, or even cabbage.

Atkilt (Ethiopian cabbage & potato dish)

Atkilt is a delicious Ethiopian side dish made from cabbage and potatoes. It’s simple to make and goes well with just about anything.

To start, dice the cabbage and potatoes into small pieces. Then, heat some oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the cabbage and potatoes. The estimated cooking time is 30 minutes. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender.

If you want to use a dressing on this dish, I suggest using a simple vinaigrette. Ethiopian food is typically very spicy, so the dressing helps to balance out the flavors.

Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot. Enjoy!

Teff stew

This is an Ethiopian dish made with teff, a gluten-free grain. Teff is cooked in water until it’s soft, then simmered with onions, garlic, and spices.

The stew can be served on its own or with injera. If you want a heartier dish, you can add meat or vegetables to the stew.

Teff is a nutritious grain that is high in fiber and protein. It’s also a good source of iron. This stew is a delicious and easy way to add teff to your diet.

Doro Wat

Doro Wat is an Ethiopian dish made from chicken and berbere, a spice mixture that contains chili peppers, ginger, and other spices.

The chicken is slow-cooked in a sauce made from onions, garlic, ginger, and berbere until it is very tender and the sauce has thickened.

This dish can be served over injera, rice, or potatoes. It is typically garnished with hard-boiled eggs and Ethiopian flatbread.

Doro Wat is a hearty and flavorful dish that is sure to please everyone at the table.

Ethiopian yams

Ethiopian yams are a type of tuber that is native to Ethiopia. They are an important part of Ethiopian cuisine and are often used as a side dish.

Ethiopian yams can be boiled, baked, or mashed (similar to potatoes). They are often cooked with spices for extra flavor. Furthermore, they can be served with Ethiopian Shiro Wat, a stew made from chickpeas and spices.

Ethiopian yams are a nutritious and filling side dish that is perfect for any Ethiopian meal.

If you’re looking for a new and interesting side dish, Ethiopian yams are a great option. Give them a try the next time you’re in the mood for something different.


What are some good Ethiopian dishes?

Many Ethiopian dishes are delicious and easy to make. Some of our favorites include Ethiopian yams, Doro Wat, and Teff stew.

What is Ethiopian food typically like?

Ethiopian food is typically very spicy due to the use of chili peppers in many dishes. However, Ethiopian cuisine has a wide range of flavors and ingredients.

What are Ethiopian yams?

Ethiopian yams are a type of tuber that is native to Ethiopia. They are often used as a side dish and can be boiled, baked, or mashed. Ethiopian yams are a nutritious and filling option for any Ethiopian meal.


In conclusion, these are some of my favorite Ethiopian side dishes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Thank you for reading!