Ethiopian Spiced Lentils with Roasted Squash and Goat Cheese

February 4, 2011

The world of blogging is such an interestingly revealing one. It’s a glimpse into the life of the writer; a personal journal entry. Through writing a day’s blog post, we forfeit our thoughts, feelings, emotions, opinions, and suggestions, for everyone to read.

Yes, you monitor how much of your life you include in this setting, but a lot of food bloggers, I’ve noticed, use this written medium as a way to work through past/lingering eating disorders.

And why shouldn’t they we? The blog world can be a safe place, hopefully free of criticism; An arena to find yourself, reinvent yourself. At least this is how I feel about it. My own feelings towards food have changed and evolved, and become positive, through writing about food.

My blog has allowed me to have fun photographing food, reading others’ thoughts on food, and really enjoy food. In a way, surrounding myself with like-minded people, sharing so many new ideas about eating (and flavors) has given me confidence with my own eating patterns and feelings.

This may sound strange, but I think having this blog has helped me tremendously in working my way out of an eating disorder. I now rejoice with food. I love what it can provide for my body, myself, and my friends (since I love making food for others). I love food.

*reluctantly steps down from soapbox*

This rant is relevant… sort of. Today’s written script is one of fulfillment, nourishment, soul warming comfort. And incredible, super yummy, delicious, miraculous (<–yes) food.

Dear Diary Reader,

Last night I created a masterpiece in flavor. After taking mental stock of what I needed from the recipes I knew I had to remake, I just happened to have all of the necessary ingredients, already at hand. I’m going to call it fate… that this meal was born. It was really, truly that good.

With the recipe re-making reading, I got to work…

Ethiopian Spiced Lentils with Roasted Squash and Goat Cheese

Serves 6 (I probably had 3 servings to myself), Adapted from Eats Well With Others and Smitten Kitchen

Berbere Lentils

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp Berbere spice mix
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, or 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • salt, to taste

1. Rinse the lentil under cold running water and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Saute onion until brown.  Add in the garlic and jalapeno, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Mix in the reserved lentils, berbere, tomatoes and four cups of water.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 45-50 minutes or until thick and lentils are cooked through.  Season with salt.


Paprika Roasted Kabocha Squash and Goat Cheese

  • 6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed kabocha squash (or squash of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large glass Pyrex baking dish, toss squash cubes with tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Bake for 30 minutes.

After lentils and squash are cooked…

2. Combine lentils, kabocha, with arugula. Divide among plates and sprinkle with 2 tbsp goat cheese and freshly cracked pepper.

Serve with injera if you have some.

The subtle smokiness and heat from the berbered lentils, the sweetness of the kabocha, and the sharp tartness of the goat cheese are all incredible together. All of that wrapped up in the sour injera throws a party rager on every square inch of your tongue.

Tastebuds beware: nothing will taste as good after eating this dish.

So, do your tastebuds a favor and make this. Now.

Screw men, the real way to a woman’s heart is through her belly. I swear. After tasting this, you’ll be a convert too.

Journal Talk:

What are you experiencing as hard right now?

What energizes you?

P.S. Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you and your comments! Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S.S. Have you done yourself a favor and entered my giveaway yet?!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole February 6, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I’m having some trouble with general positivity and staying focused in school and such… And the usual self-esteem problems, you know 😉

On a totally different note, I am completely salivating over that dinner!



yo yo mama February 6, 2011 at 11:22 AM

What am i finding hard right now? moving on…and even moving!

Your pictures are fabulous!


Chocolate Coated Runner February 6, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Great post!! I totally enjoyed reading this!


Ashley @ the fit academic February 5, 2011 at 9:13 PM

This looks amazing! And of course, anything covered in goat cheese deserves a HUGE thumbs-up in my book!


Heather (Perspective Is Everything) February 5, 2011 at 8:32 AM

I gotta say, this is one of THE BEST recipes i’ve seen in the blog world in a long time!! i just don’t have the “guts” to make it right now. i have this awesome ability to completely ruin recipes and end up wasting time,money,energy, and food 🙁
if you made this for me, i’d even pay you 🙂


Christine (The Raw Project) February 5, 2011 at 7:32 AM

So true, reading and writing about food and other bloggers views has been very therapeutic for me. The lentil and squash recipes look amazing, two of my favorite ingredients together. Thanks!


Salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle) February 5, 2011 at 7:27 AM

I LOVE your blog. I’m so glad it has helped you truly appreciate and LOVE food! 🙂
This recipe looks absolutely amazing. I’ve never had ethiopian food before but I think its time I try it b/c there is not one thing I saw in that recipe that I wouldn’t enjoy!


Alisa Fleming February 5, 2011 at 7:02 AM

This dish looks so awesome and comforting Lori! Except for that nasty goat cheese stuff, but I’ll let that one slide this time 🙂

I hate to say it, but you are one of the few I think. You have truly turned your blog into a healthy platform of all types, never obsessing, just focusing on the good. Most that I see who write about their eating disorders tend to use their blog as a place of food obsession. It is great that you and some others set such a healthy example!


Michelle@ Housewife in the Raw February 5, 2011 at 4:37 AM

Beautiful pictures, and, I love your new header! Your blog rocks!


kate February 5, 2011 at 4:12 AM

i agree with what you wrote. my blog has helped me appreciate how fun cooking and food can be. i have a much different relationship with it now than i did when i started blogging. and i am very grateful for that!


natalie (the sweets life) February 4, 2011 at 6:59 PM

thanks for commenting on my blog–been having fun checking out yours! you have some great recipes on here, including this one!!!! 🙂


Amber Shea @Almost Vegan February 4, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Matt and I JUST got back from dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant about an hour ago! It’s one of my favorite cuisines. I had yekik watt (split peas) and Matt had misir watt, mmm! This all looks so great to me 🙂


Mandi February 4, 2011 at 5:07 PM

I don’t think I’ve ever tried Ethiopian food, but that recipe sounds delicious. Especially since I absolutely love squash. 🙂


zoe (and the beatles) February 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

i’ve wanted to try ethiopian food! that looks delicious. and my boyfriend agreed…he opened my computer and it was on your page and he said “that looks delicious!!!” haha.

good to hear blogging helped you overcome disordered eating. i’m afraid i allowed blogging to get me into it…but now i am using it to get me out of it :)! thanks to people like you no less!

but right now i am finding it hard to just trust myself and know that i am on my path towards health. sometimes i find myself caught up in negative and unhealthy thoughts and habits. it’s really hard. but when i’m down i turn towards these things for energy and positivity: green juice! runs with my boy! yoga! climbing! cooking! friends! just plain old happiness 🙂

you have a great weekend, too, lori!!! <3


Pure2raw twins February 4, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Blogging has helped us too with eating as well as our health. It allows us to share and learn from others!!

This lentil dish looks amazing! Love the flavors 😉


Joanne February 4, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I couldn’t agree with you more, Lori. If there’s one thing that really got me over the anorexia hump, it was my blog. I rarely write about it explicitly, but writing about food has really changed the way I think about it and has changed my relationship with it. Plus knowing that I have a whole community of support behind me has really given me strength.

This dish is beautiful! It’s basically a combination of so many of my favorite things! Definitely making it. Soon.


Katherine: Unemployed February 4, 2011 at 1:52 PM

wow what an amazing chef you are! this is amazing


Katie February 4, 2011 at 1:41 PM

I was going to post today about the ethipian hummus I made earlier this week (yes, you heard me right). Great minds think alike! And I was debating between a polenta dish and ethiopian stew for dinner….weird again. AND, I have totally made the yetekelt and masir dishes. About a year ago. FAN-freaking-TASTIC.


Ela February 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Thanks for sharing the soapbox speech: I’m so happy for you that you feel that the whole blogging thing has helped to remedy your attitude to food and make it into something pleasurable and happy. Your enthusiasm and creativity really do come across.

I love berbere and that whole combination sounds just delectable. I like how you’ve added it to your header photo too!

Hard for me right now: we’re traveling to and fro a lot atm and I’m not feeling very focused on my poetry writing, so am feeling a bit lost. Energizing: stimulating conversations with wise friends, sharing/reading writings and getting constructive criticism.


Christin@purplebirdblog February 4, 2011 at 10:12 AM

I LOVE Ethiopian food and I am seriously drooling over here! Mmmmm, injera and everything! <3


Lindsay Cotter February 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Ethiopian food is a favorite of mine! I spent a summer in africa and just loved that food. Probably not the best thing sanitation wise but the flavor was amaing. Injera bread!!!


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