This flavorful and easy recipe comes from this one over at Connoisseurus Veg. The whole thing came together in less than 30 minutes.

Berbere is a spice blend that is used often in Ethiopian cooking. It’s an exotic and delicious mixture that includes everything from cinnamon to paprika to cumin and cayenne. I used a storebought berbere spice mix. You can find it at any store with specialty spices, and in some regular grocery stores. You can also make your own, but honestly finding an already made blend looks much easier than tracking down that laundry list of spices. Careful, it’s spicy! I halved the amount, because the 2 tsp in the original recipe was too hot for us! 1 tsp is perfect, in my opinion. Maybe different brands vary in heat, I’m not sure.

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The polenta here counts as a grain, so that part would only be suitable for maintenance. If you wanted to eat this during weight loss, you could substitute the polenta for cauliflower rice, or just steamed cauliflower. This is a great option if you need more veggies because you are having this for dinner. You could also throw some frozen peas in. Alternatively for maintenance, you could serve this over a cooked grain like jasmine rice.

Variation: My husband added some chopped mint and cilantro to some vegan yogurt, and served his with a big dollop of that on top. He said it was delicious, and added a refreshing cool element to balance the spice and heat. Next time, I might swap out some of the chickpeas and replace some of the protein serving with yogurt. You could split the chickpea mixture into 3 servings so that each one had 4 oz of chickpeas (2/3 protein), and have 2.5 oz yogurt to garnish (1/3 protein). 

Ethiopian Berbere Spiced Chickpeas

  • Servings: Makes 2 Servings
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Each Serving Contains:

  • 6 oz Veggies (or more to reach desired veggie weight)
  • 1 Protein Serving
  • 1 Fat Serving
  • 1 Grain Serving (optional)


Veggie Serving

  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Chopped cauliflower or peas to reach desired veggie weight (if eating for dinner)
  • Salad greens on the side (optional)

Protein Serving

  • 12 oz cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 can)

Fat Serving

  • 1 oz (2 tablespoons) olive oil, divided

Grain Serving

  • 8 oz sliced, cooked polenta

Condiments & Spices

  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • tsp berbere seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Prepare the Polenta: 
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    • Slice the polenta into slabs that are 1/4″ thick. Weigh out two grain portions (4 oz = 1 grain serving). You can weigh it before baking, because the raw weight and cooked weight are the same.
    • Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    • Brush polenta lightly with a little bit of your allotted oil serving, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    • Bake for 7-10 minutes, until lightly browned and warmed.
  2. Prepare the Chickpeas:
    • Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    • Add the onion and bell pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened.
    • Add the garlic and ginger, saute for another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
    • Add the broth, chickpeas, tomato paste, berbere seasoning, and salt.
    • Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
    • Add a little water if the sauce becomes too thick.
    • Add frozen peas or steam some cauliflower to reach desired veggie weight.
  3. Serve the chickpea mixture on top of the polenta.
  4. Sprinkle with cilantro.