Chickpea and Turnip Stew with Ethiopian Spices

by on February 1, 2007
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I bought a pound of organically-grown turnips at the farmer’s market, and it took me a few days to decide what to do with them. Turnips are not something I use often; in fact, the last time I bought them may have been almost a year ago when I made Creamed Turnips. I mentioned in that post that the turnips had a sharp odor when I cut them, but these little organic turnips had no such odor. In fact, they were so tender and sweet that I wondered if I could have used them unpeeled.

But instead of throwing them in unpeeled, I saved the peel and did something I rarely do: I made vegetable stock. Making your own stock is extremely simple, but I almost never think ahead to do it. All you need to do is simmer some vegetables in water until they’re soft and strain the vegetables out, pressing on them to get all the juices. I made the stock for this recipe by simmering the turnip peels, the light green parts of the leeks, and the carrot trimmings along with about 2 cups of celery leaves and stalks, a handful of fresh parsley, and two chopped carrots in 6 cups of water for a half hour. When I strained it, there was about 4 cups of broth–just enough for this recipe.

You may remember this spice blend from Ethiopian-Inspired Red Lentil Soup. It’s a wonderful combination that I think of as “warming.” I like to keep it on-hand for any time I want to spice up an otherwise humdrum dish. If you are a fan of exotic seasonings, give it a try. It’s easy to put together and stays fresh for a while in the refrigerator.

Chickpea and Turnip Stew with Ethiopian Spices

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jenniferdines January 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Thank you! I ate this for both lunch and dinner today. It made me a little bit warm. I felt like it was cleansing my body and mind. 🙂


2 Courtney January 19, 2010 at 2:38 am

Delicious, filling, hearty. Lovely with some plain yoghurt. I've been a vegetarian my whole life but haven't had Ethiopian before (that I'm aware of), the spice blend is similar to that of a Mulligatawny spice mix I make myself. I love chickpeas but haven't cooked with turnips before and am not a huge fan of soy milk normally, but it's a wonderful addition to this meal making it very creamy and adding some uniqueness to the dish. Perfect for the whole family too!
Thank you for sharing!


3 Dyan October 2, 2010 at 8:38 pm

This recipe holds a special place in my heart partly because it was one of the first dishes I’d ever cooked for myself (okay, I’m both young and a bit slow- this was a time when chickpeas were a novelty for me), but mostly because I remember it tasting incredible.

With so many recipes to try, I haven’t made it since you first posted this, but it came to mind because I have some turnips lying around. I’m so jazzed to make it again. Thanks, Susan!


4 Lauren October 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

Great recipe! I am living abroad for a few months and it’s too much of a pain to buy all those spices, when I only have a few months here, so I just bought curry powder and used that. It ended up being a bit too bitter for my liking, probably due to the turnips. I added honey and stole a bit of my flatmate’s cinnamon and it was delicious! I think next time I’ll do the same and maybe add in a couple more carrots for sweetness. Easy, hearty recipe! Thank you! I feel like this could be a good vegan dish to serve the fam on Thanksgiving.


5 mountain.aven February 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

oooo! I was just going to request a yummy snow-day recipe for this crazy winter storm that’s hitting half the country (Im up in Ohio)! This will work perfectly! I must get to work on this now 🙂 Thanks Susan!


6 Patty February 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm

This is seriously fabulous! We’ll be having it again soon.

Thanks so much!


7 stephanie February 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I just made this for dinner this evening. This is excellent! The spice mix is wonderful. Now that I have a batch made and in the fridge, any other suggested uses for it?


8 SusanV February 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Stephanie, I have a couple more recipes that use this seasoning. Just type “Berbere” into the search box and they should come up. You can also use it anywhere curry powder is used to give those dishes a new flavor.


9 Stephanie February 20, 2011 at 10:23 am

Thanks. Made the lentil stew. Very good. Do you have the nutritional information for this stew?


10 Christopher Kandrat April 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Looks like a great dish, were going to be making it very soon, thanks for the recipe.


11 Alexa October 3, 2011 at 5:21 am

We’re harvesting turnips from our veggie garden at the moment (down under – it’s spring here!) and have been searching for good vegan turnip dishes. We just tried this one this evening and it was fabulous!

I kept all the skin on the turnips and it wasn’t bitter at all. The only thing I would change next time is that it was quite soupy – I think I should have used a little less stock. The liquid didn’t quite cover the veggies at the start, but by the end they were well and truly inundated.


12 Eileen February 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Are the fenugreek seeds whole or ground?


13 Susan Voisin February 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Ground. Or you could use whole and grind them first.


14 Randi February 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

it was a chilly evening in Nashville last night and this was the perfect meal to have…was fun making the berberé spice mix and can’t wait to use it again. super yummy, easy and quick…thank you for the recipe…looking forward to lunch today!


15 Kristo15 March 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

How necessary is the cardamom and fenugreek in the spice mixture? I have everything else. Just got some turnips from a local farm delivery service (mistakenly thought I was ordering the greens!) and have never cooked them. Thanks!


16 Susan Voisin March 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm

You can make it with the spices that you have, and it will still be good. It might turn out a little more spicy, so if you don’t like hot food, you should adjust the amounts a little. Hope you enjoy it!


17 Perry August 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Can’t wait to make this tonight. I love Ethiopian food, and while visiting my niece in Portland, OR, we went to an excellent Ethiopian restaurant. In the same section of town there were a few Ethiopian Markets stocked with homemade Berbere spice already mixed and packaged.

My favorite way to use it is in collard greens. It’s similar to a dish that I was served in that restaurant.


18 Shellie February 20, 2014 at 10:52 am

We had this last night. Delicious. My husband was in heaven, and we both felt like we had a complete cleansing after eating it. I had some organic prepared berbere’. However, mine was so much more soupy than your pic. I followed the recipe to the letter…no extra liquid. So we enjoyed it as a soup.


19 Amy March 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I just got some leeks and I wasn’t sure what to do with them–this recipe looks wonderful! I have a bunch of baby peppers, if I roasted them and tossed them into the mix will it detract from the rest of the stew? I don’t want to over-power it.


20 Corine November 30, 2015 at 10:15 pm

Amazing!!! triple the recipe and still, i should have made more, it is that good! I added some zuchinni and frozen green peas, serve the stew with some quinoa, delicious! I’m already excited for my leftover at work tomorow, thanks for sharing!!!


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