Grassroots recipe #3: azifa

Carnegie resident Matt McGrath shared this recipe for Azifa, an Ethiopian cold lentil dish that he recommends in a pita, as a salsa alternative, or on its own. “When you make it yourself [instead of going to a restaurant], it’s about $10 cheaper. I’m addicted to it now,” said McGrath (a $1.25 bag of lentils is about 9 cups dry).


5 cups brown lentils
1/3 cup red onion
3/4 cup green pepper
2/3 cup baby spinach
1 lg. jalapeno chili pepper
3 tsp ginger
1/3 cup lime juice
some salt & pepper


1. Prepare the lentils. A good combination is 7.5 cups of water for 5 cups of lentils. Boil the water, then add the lentils, turn down flame to low, and cook, covered, until lentils are soft but not mushy. It’s a 2 to 3 ratio (2 cups of water for every 3 cups of lentils).

2. Finely chop up the red onion, parsley, baby spinach and jalapeno chili pepper. Place vegetables into bowl with the lentils. (Also “finely chopped” can’t be stressed enough. Really you need to dice everything as much as possible. Especially the spinach.)

3. Make the dressing: combine the ginger and lime juice. Alternate azifa recipes add mustard for taste, or oil for thickness.

4. Stir the dressing into the lentil/vegetable bowl until the mix is even

5. Cover the mixture and chill for at least 7 hours.

Six servings – approximately 1 cup per serving

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