When it comes to everyday, weeknight dinners, especially winter ones, I stick almost entirely to soups, stews, or just mixtures of vegetables and a spicy sauce. Snowy day after snowy grey day, the same old stews get old, but I don’t want to have to add lots of extra time to my normal dinner routine.

This made Kittee Berns’s new book Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking a happy surprise addition to my cookbook collection. The best thing about these recipes is that they’re as easy as my regular dinners, but have all new flavors and textures that make even the dreariest slush-filled day bright.

This book is a great introduction to cooking Ethiopian food at home. If you’ve never had it before, it has unique flavor combinations but humble ingredient lists, with almost all the recipes easy to make in bulk and eat as you go through your week.

It barely veganizes the authentic recipes because many are already vegan. Teff Love takes you through all the basics, from the amazing injera to all the spicy, complex sauces and stews, to dumplings and casseroles that are perfect for these freezing-cold nights.

Below I’ve included a recipe for crunchy, chickpea flour pastries filled with mild, savory lentils. Try this out and then be sure to check out Teff Love for even more great, in-depth Ethiopian recipes.


makes enough for 8 sambusas


  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dried brown or green lentils
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 2 cups baby spinach, lightly packed
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper


  1. Put the water & lentils in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain and discard the cooking liquid.
  2. Put the onion and oil in a separate medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low, add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Cover and cook just long enough to wilt the spinach, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lentils and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


makes enough for 8 sambusas


  • 2 1/4 cups chickpea flour, plus more for dusting if needed
  • 1 tsp ground berbere
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil the parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients. Mix and knead until a smooth, cohesive ball forms. It’ll really come together after a minute or two. If it’s still too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time; if it’s too wet/sticky, add in chickpea flour a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide the dough into quarters, then cover in a towel to prevent them from drying out. Roll each ball into an 1/8th” thick disk, dusting with chickpea flour if needed to prevent sticking. Alternatively, roll out each disk on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Cut the disk in half and form a cone from each semicircle, overlapping the edges slightly to form a seam. Pinch the seam gently to seal and fill the cone with 1/4 cup of filling. Pinch the top of the cone closed and fold it over, pinching gently to seal. Put the sambusa on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
  5. Brush each sambusa on both sides with oil. Bake for 12 minutes until the bottoms brown, then turn over and bake again for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy! And get more delicious vegan Ethiopian recipes from Teff Love here!

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