Ethiopian-Style White Beans with Tomatoes and Coconut Milk

Ethiopian White Beans with Tomatoes and Coconut Milk
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This incredible dish comes together in a jiffy once you have all the ingredients assembled, and it is definitely a dish that you will want to make again and again, and for which you will be asked for the recipe. It has just the right amount of spiciness – a little bite – but if you want to make it completely mild you can do that too.

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Now, one of the ingredients is berbere, a spice mixture that is used in many countries in Africa, and for which there are many different recipes. We don’t expect that you have berbere hanging around your kitchen (but props to you if you do!) You can either buy a version of it, such as this version here on Amazon, the ingredients for which are “Cumin, Paprika, various chili peppers including De Arbol, New Mexico, Ancho & Cayenne, Nutmeg, Ajwan Seeds, Cardamom, Turmeric, Garlic, Salt and other spices,” or you can make your own at home (our recipe for berbere is included below), or you can just pick and choose the spices out of our recipe that you want to include (omitting the cayenne and chile if you want it super-mild).

When you make this, after it’s all put together you are going to simmer it until it’s nice and thick; you will likely think that it’s way too soupy, but we promise it will suddenly thicken up (takes about 20 to 25 minutes).

We like to serve this with rice (either brown or white).

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Ethiopian White Beans with Tomatoes and Coconut Milk


1/2 to 1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced (or equivalent of pre-minced garlic)
4 Tablespoons vegan butter or olive oil
2 Tablespoons berbere (see ingredient list below)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile (optional)
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup chicken-style broth or reconstituted boullion
1 cup coconut milk
1 15-ounce can white beans (Great Northern, Navy, or Black-eyed Peas), drained

Berbere ingredients
(If you don’t want to make the berbere, feel free to just use some of the spices from the below, the end result will taste a bit different from our recipe, but it will still be delicious!)

2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Combine all berbere ingredients and set aside.


Heat vegan butter or olive oil in a large heavy saucepan (we use our 3-quart enameled dutch oven and it’s perfect).

Saute the onion and garlic over medium-low heat until the onion is soft and just beginning to get golden brown around the edges.

Add the berbere, turmeric, ginger, and ancho chile (if using), stir, and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, and cook for another minute or two, and then add the coconut milk and chicken-style broth. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the beans, and continue simmering until it is nice and thick.

Remove from heat and serve with rice, or flat bread, or whatever you like!

Ethiopian White Beans with Tomatoes and Coconut Milk

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