One of the recipes I picked for my Afro-middle eastern inspired menu is by Marcus Sammuelsson, a Swedish chef of Ethiopian heritage. Marcus won the title of Top Chef Masters a few years ago, and while I was rooting for a different chef to win, I’ve been intrigued about his heritage and cooking style. I found a brown lentil dip recipe from him that would be a great appetizer for our dinner, and i thought it would also give me a chance to learn about his cooking.

This lentil dip is made with brown lentils and loads of middle eastern spices. Beware of the recipe portions because although I made only half the recipe, it was still too much for our dinner. It did, however, made a great little snack for the rest of the week.

To cook the lentils, they are simmered with carrots and sliced red onions in water for about 35 minutes, until very tender and almost all of the liquid has evaporated.


The lentils and vegetables are then puréed in a food processor.


The spice mix used in this recipe consists of cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, nutmeg, and allspice.


The spices are cooked in a couple of tablespoons of butter over low heat in a medium sauce pan until fragrant, about 3 minutes. To make this recipe vegan, substitute vegetable oil for the butter instead.


The puréed lentils are added to the pan and stirred into the spice mixture, for about 5 minutes.


The dip is finished of with some lemon juice and seasoned to taste. Before serving, I topped the dip with some chopped cilantro leaves, and served it with some baked pita chips.

African Spiced Lentil Dip