Traditional recipes

Ethiopian Greens (Gomen Wat) recipe

Ethiopian Greens (Gomen Wat) recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Vegetable side dishes

This is a delicious vegan-friendly stew. It's the perfect vegetable side dish.

39 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 900g kale, rinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • 475ml water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 125g chopped onions
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 225g sliced green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh root ginger

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:1hr ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. Place kale in a pot with 475ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until kale is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, but reserve the cooking water. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the reserved cooking water. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat until liquid is nearly evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add the green pepper, lemon juice, salt, turmeric, paprika, allspice and root ginger. Cook until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.


If you can get your hands on collard greens (collards), then use these instead of kale.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(47)

Reviews in English (39)

by Leah

This was my first time cooking collard greens and I was looking for something non-traditional; and by that, I mean "southern-style." This was really tasty! Some changes I made, I didn't have quite a pound of collard greens (only 11 oz), and I used a whole onion and a lot of pre-minced garlic. I followed the rest of the spicy exactly. I felt that it was a little too gingery for my liking and if I make it again, I will half the ginger. It overpowered all the other flavors. I would probably also toss out half of the reserved water next time; I cooked for the said amount of time but it was still quite watery and I am rather impatient. It was still quite good though! I also only divided this whole dish between two people and served with a tilapia fillet. I was surprised to see that all of the ingredients were key players in detoxification so that's a plus!-27 Jan 2009

by John Stine

This recipe was amazing, way better than I imagined it would be, but there are some minor alterations I would like to add. First off, when chopping the collards, remove the hard stem. What I did was sort of cut an elongated V shape up the center of the leaf to remove the most of the hard stem and rib together. Also, I dumped all of the collards and the water into a large bowl, and used the same vessel the collards had been in to cook the onion. When ready I poured the collards, water and all, back into the onion mixture. This saved some time and energy.-07 Jun 2010

by Cazuela

After boiling the greens and draining them (saving the liquid for sure!), I used a cast iron skillet for the final steps. Green pepper needs to be sliced fairly thin. This was aromatic, just spicy enough, colorful and delicious!-11 Feb 2009


Gomen, ye’abasha gomen or abesha gomen, is a spicy Ethiopian dish prepared with green leafy vegetables, traditionally green cabbage or collards.

Collard greens are quite popular in African culture and are widely consumed across the continent. In Ethiopia, collard greens, locally known as gomen (ጎመን), are a staple. Ye’abasha (a term collectively used to refer to Ethiopians and Eritreans) gomen translates to “Ethiopian collard greens”.

How to make Gomen

Preparation of gomen or gomen wat is quite simple. The greens, either collard leaves or cabbage, are braised and slow-cooked along with grated onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. Like most Ethiopian dishes, to get that authentic Ethiopian flavour, gomen wat also uses niter kibbeh (ንጥር ቅቤ), clarified butter infused with spices and herbs, for frying.

Niter kibbeh closely resembles Indian ghee. The main difference is that the butter is infused with certain spices while clarifying. You can easily make niter kibbeh at home or buy it from ethnic grocery stores.

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Although collard greens are commonly used in the gomen wat preparation, traditionally, this dish was made with cabbage leaves. Both vegetables belong to the same family.

Collard is derived from “colewort”, a medieval term for primitive cabbage. Wort means a plant of any kind, and cole is derived from the Latin word caulis meaning stem or cabbage. Collard greens are sometimes known as tree cabbage or non-heading cabbage.

They are a major food crop in countries like Brazil, Portugal, Zimbabwe, the southern United States, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Balkans, Italy, northern Spain, and Kashmir, India.

How to serve Gomen

Like most Ethiopian side dishes, gomen is also served on top of an injera platter. Ethiopians, like Indians, enjoy eating their meals with their hands, instead of using cutlery. Traditionally injera (a spongy sourdough flatbread) is used to scoop up the gomen and other side dishes.

Other Ethiopian dishes with collard greens

Ethiopians consider raw meat to be a delicacy and meat dishes are usually accompanied by some form of greens.

Kitfo, a popular dish in both Eritrea and Ethiopia, consists of minced raw beef, mitmita (chilli powder-based seasoning), and niter kibbeh, and is accompanied with gomen and ayib (soft cottage cheese). This accompaniment is known as ayib be gomen.

Gomen besiga, another popular Ethiopian beef dish, includes collard greens.

East Africans prepare sukuma. The greens are cooked with onions and spices, and served with maize flour porridge known as ugali. They can also be an accompaniment to any meat dishes.

Recipes around the world using collard greens

Collard greens are a staple ingredient in Southern United States cuisine. Southern-style greens are simmered with smoked pork (ham hocks). On new year’s day, these greens are eaten along with black-eyed peas and cornbread in the hopes of having a prosperous year ahead.

In Brazil, collards are fried in olive oil and garlic, and the dish is known as couve à mineira. These stir-fried greens are usually accompanied by fish and meat dishes. They are a must with feijoada.

Portuguese prepare a soup, caldo verde (a green broth) with collard greens.

Collard greens and kale leaves are enjoyed during the winters in Eastern Europe. In southern Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, the locals enjoy hot soup made of collards and dry mutton/meat/pork.

These dark leafy greens are indispensable in the Black Sea cuisine. The Turks enjoy a hot collard soup, kara lahana çorbası (which translates as “black cabbage soup”) in the winter.

Collards are locally grown in the Kashmir valley, and are a part of everyday diet. Kashmiris prepare koshur haakh (“haakh” is a general Kashmiri term for any greens ), a simple stir fry of collard greens, or a soup type of dish known as haakh rus (“rus” means broth, something that is liquid).


Gomen Wat is traditionally made with collard greens or kale. Although, some also make it with spinach, however, I prefer to use collard greens or kale. Feel free to experiment to find which green works best for your own tastes and preferences but whatever you choose to use, be sure not to skip the ginger and garlic, it helps to amplify the natural flavor of the greens.

Serve over injera or a traditional Ethiopian meal of your choice, or simply pair this tasty side dish with your favorite entree.

Alternative Recipe



  • 2 bunches of collard greens
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/3+ c. canola oil (replace some of the oil with niter kibbeh or butter if desired)
  • minced garlic and ginger (about 2-3 tsp. each, would be my guess. If you’ve read my other recipes, you know how this works)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and chopped
  • salt, to taste


Pull off the leaves of the collard greens and discard the stems. Tear the leaves into medium-sized pieces (just small enough to get them into the pot for cooking- you’ll chop them into smaller pieces later) and wash them well under cold Water. Bring a large stockpot of salted Water to boil and add the greens. Cook for about 10-15 minutes- the greens should change color and soften. Drain in a large colander and rinse with cold Water. Squeeze out all of the excess moisture and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Cook the onions on medium heat until they start to soften and turn translucent, about seven minutes. Add the oil/niter kibbeh/butter and cook for several minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeños and sauté for several more minutes. Add the chopped greens and stir well, ensuring that the greens are thoroughly mixed in with the other ingredients. Add salt and cook on medium-low until the greens have soaked in the flavor.


Ethiopian food is rich with flavor from complex spice mixtures. Many of the dishes are stews – called Wats. Although most wats include meat, here is a tasty Ethiopian Vegan Stew called a Gomen Wat.

Wats should be thick, but not too thick. They are definitely something you would eat with a spoon – not a fork.

  • 1 pound collard greens rinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 pound collard greens rinsed, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger root

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Thriving on Plants is a resource for a whole food, plant-based way of eating and living. Here we celebrate all things plant and honor the power of informed awareness and a diet focused primarily of unprocessed vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to support good health and happiness. Discover what a little more plant can do for your life!

Tales from the (Vegetarian) Flavor Bible

Food luminaries Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg wrote the book on flavor. Twice. First with “The Flavor Bible” in 2008 and now with “The Vegetarian Flavor Bible,” born out the award-winning duo’s decision to go meatless.

Page and her husband live in a foodie world where omnivores rule, and have been since their first book, “Becoming a Chef” came out to great acclaim 20 years ago. But in 2009, “It hit me,” says Page. “My father had passed away, Andrew had lost both his parents — all to cancer. We could no longer ignores the headlines we’d been reading.”

Originally from the midwest, Page “grew up thinking a meal wasn’t a meal unless there was meat in it.” Dornenburg’s first job? McDonald’s. Here they are, six years on, celebrating Veganuary .

Dornenburg’s professional kitchen talents go far beyond the golden arches, which made the meatless transition easier. So did realizing they could still eat at their favorite restaurants. “We love Ethiopian food, so instead of the lamb stews, we get the vegan stews and we love it more,” says Page. “It’s lighter on our system.” Turns out the Mexican restaurant they’ve been going to for 20 years has a meatless menu they hadn’t even known about. “We felt no sense of loss whatsoever.” And through interviewing vegan chefs for “The Vegetarian Flavor Bible,” Page, a flavor geek, “came to realize meat isn’t the heart of the flavor at all. It’s in the vegetables and herbs and spices.”

Page defines flavor as more than “what takes place on your tongue There’s taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and the X Factor,” that hard-to-define something affecting all your senses and “the heart, mind and spirit”, too. The X Factor is why your mother’s spaghetti tastes better than Mario Batali’s (although even Mario has embraced Meatless Monday). It was the X Factor that changed Page’s mind about meat. She could no longer enjoy eating it knowing the health risks. And the more she learned about livestock production, the less appetizing it became. “Two hundred and fifty million chicks are killed each year because they’re born male. That number went to my head. . . and my heart. I couldn’t be part of that process.” With animal welfare concerns in the news, “I don’t see how people can continue to ignore it,” says Page.

The woman knows her stats, but she’s also discovered spiralizing, sea salt and other techniques and ingredients that make produce pop. Still craving animal? “The Vegetarian Flavor Bible” offers pages of plant-based alternatives, swapping capers or miso for anchovies, smoked tofu for bacon. It teaches you about flavor affinities so you can build great vegan flavor in the kitchen, or as Page had to do recently, at the airport, skipping the beef broth in a bowl of noodles and getting extra soy sauce, instead.

Going meatless may be an ethical choice, environmental, or maybe it’s about wellness, “but it can also be delicious. I believe that,” says Page. “Ultimately, it gets down to pleasure. And flavor.”

Recipes for Doro Wat, Gomen Wat, and Kik

Here are those recipes (courtesy of Laura Litwiller) for some of the dishes in our injera (Ethiopian flabread) videos (See last few blog postings).

Remove skin from about 2 pounds of chicken pieces (We used Cornish game hens. Traditionally a whole chicken would be cut into 8 pieces).

Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons (T) of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon (t) of salt. Let stand while preparing other ingredients.

Add, cover and cook on low heat until onions are just browned: 2 cups (c) finely chopped onions, 1 T minced garlic, 1 t ginger root grated (or 1/2 t ground dried ginger).

Add: 1/4 t fenugreek, crushed, 1/2 t ground cardamom (Ethiopian, if available), 1/8 t ground nutmeg .

Stir well and add: 2 T berbere (for a mild wat) and 4 T paprika (for a hotter stew, use 4 T berbere and 2 T paprika),
2 T tomato paste, and 1 c water (or more, as needed).

Bring all ingredients to a boil and cook slowly, stirring often, for about 45 minutes . The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream. Add a small amount of water if necessary.

Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, turning the pieces to coat. Add 2 T butter (Ethiopian spiced clarified butter, niter kibbeh , if available). Lower the heat and cook chicken for about an hour, turning the chicken often to prevent sticking and so it cooks evenly.

Prepare 1 hard-boiled egg for each person. Peel the eggs, and cut about 5 shallow slits in them to allow the wat to permeate the eggs. Add to the sauce the last 10 minutes of cooking time, gently stirring them into the stew to coat them.

Ethiopian Greens (Gomen Wat)

1 pound of green kale, chopped fine
1 medium onion finely minced
1/2 - 1 t chopped garlic
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t salt (or to taste)
1/2 t black pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (or to taste)
1/4 c vegetable oil

Saute onion in oil till clear, add garlic and spices and cook 3 minutes, add chopped kale and 1/2 c water. Cover and cook kale until tender (about 30 minutes). Add jalapenos and cook 5 minutes on low heat. Add more salt to taste (serves 6).

(Note: We made this with kale on the video, but I made it this week with some Swiss chard and it was also delicious).

Kik Pea Alecha (chick peas/garbanzo beans stew)

1 1/2 c minced onions
1/4 c vegetale oil
2 c cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t fresh chopped garlic (or 1/2 t garlic powder)
1/2 t chopped ginger (or 1/4 t ginger powder)

Cook onions in oil until onions are clear. Add chick peas, turmeric, and 1 1/2 - 2 c water.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Add garlic and ginger. Cook until soft. Mash (or use blender or food processor to process until smooth).

My first attempt after the video to make the injera on my own was a disaster. I bought an inexpensive electric skillet, but it was not heavy enough to provide an even heat, and also it had an inaccurate thermostat, so part of the injera was burned, and part was not cooked. Plus I made the batter too thick. I tried again on the weekend. The first time I used my favorite cast iron pan, which made a lovely injera, but it stuck to the pan when I tried to take it out. Secondly I tried using a small nonstick pan on the stovetop, and added a little extra water to the batter when I added the self-rising flour, and everything was perfect. The only problem was it took me forever to finish making the injera because my pan was so small. I guess I'll either buy an electric mitad (the official injera-making pan) or a larger nonstick skillet. By the way, I made sure the skillet was completely grease-free when I used it. I scrubbed it with salt before cooking the injera, and each time after making an injera, I wiped the pan with a paper towel to clean it.

Good luck. If you try this, let me know how it works for you. By the way, that's my daughter Masi (home from New York for the weekend) and Sam, my nephew/son and a junior at Penn State at the table with me.


Whoops, I thought this sounded familiar. I already posted the recipe for doro wat. Sorry about posting it twice.

I love Ethiopian/Eritrean food=)

I just wanted to say that this doro wat recipe was really amazing. I've tried many different recipes for doro wat, but this one is by far the closest to what you get in (good) Ethiopian restaurants.

Do you happen to also have Laura's recipe for sega tibs, which you mentioned in an earlier post? That's another favorite dish of mine and I'd love to try her version.

Thanks so much for posting this and I look forward to trying more recipes from your blog!

Gomen Wat Recipe (Ethiopian Spiced Collards)

You thought your aunt's vinegar and bacon fat soaked collard greens were delicious? Reader: meet Gomen Wat. Gomen Wat: meet reader. Also, Gomen Wat meet reader's spice cabinet. You're going to get intimate.

Big surprise, the secret to this dish (and, ahem, every dish) is fat. I never realized it before I made it myself, but every excellent Ethiopian restaurant I have ever eaten at uses high quality fats. Here, I use ghee -- my preferred fat of choice.

Have I talked about ghee before? Ghee is . amazing. Ghee, or clarified butter, is the result of slowly boiling and skimming off all of the impurities from butter. Casein (milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar) are the "impurities" that I'm talking about, and they float to the surface of the simmering butter as a layer of white foam. Completely pure ghee is lactose and casein free, perfectly digestible by the lactose-intolerant, and those of us sensitive to casein (me. and my whole family). More reasons to love ghee: it has a high heat tolerance, making it an ideal oil in which to fry and cook it's shelf stable i.e. needs no refrigeration i.e. is great for traveling and it's considered medicinal in S. Indian Ayurvedic medicine, often prescribed for tummy troubles, skin issues, and . ok, just about every issue that pitta people have to deal with.

Pitta people (again, this is an Ayurvedic distinction) have fiery constitutions, and ghee is considered cooling and sattivic or clear & clean. It chills the constant, over-abundant heat of fire folks.

Ghee, although a pure oil, gains a nutty and aromatic quality because it is cooked with milk solids which caramelize under prolonged heat. I've grown well-accustomed to its scent of toasted almonds and caramel and butter.

Ethiopians make ghee as well, although they add spices during the process. I can only guess that it's this ghee that is used in the best of Ethiopian restaurants, and it's why some shine out distinctly amongst the rest. I won't go so far as to say that this is a cultural food secret, but it is certainly not common knowledge. This Gomen Wat that I made at home tastes incredibly similar to the vegetarian dishes at Richmond, VA's The Nile -- by far my favorite Ethiopian restaurant so far. The oil makes the difference.

As per usual in my kitchen, I cook with a very taste-as-you-go attitude. For this recipe I did a lot of adjusting of spices as I went, as I encourage you to do at home as well. Gomen is really all about the spices, so adding an extra pinch of this or that to your liking is easy to do without harming the dish. All of the spices are complementary, so you can really play around with the different levels of clove vs. paprika, for example, and still end up with greens that make your mouth water.

Note: Now I know I just said ghee is the key, but coconut oil is a suitable vegan substitute. Although, I might add some toasted almonds to the top to get the nuttiness ghee naturally achieves.

Spiced Ethiopian Cottage Cheese with Collard Greens (Ayib Be Gomen Recipe)

A couple of weeks ago we visited our friends who live in the Boston area. For lunch, we went out for Ethiopian food to the Red Sea restaurant in Boston.

Have you ever had Ethiopian food? No? Well it is SO GOOD. If you like curries, stews, spices, amazing flavors with lots of depth, you'll love Ethiopian food.

Ethiopian food is usually served on a large platter family style. And the platter is lined with injera bread, which is kind of like a giant spongy crepe. You have to rip off pieces of injera and use it as a utensil, to pick up chunks of stewed meat, flavorful chickpeas and lentils, and to sop up the juices. Yummy. It's a fun eating experience.

Whenever we go out for Ethiopian we usually get some kind of combo meal, sort of an 'Ethiopian 101,' if you will. Most restaurants have this option on their menu. Everything we've ever had from that section of the menu has always been good, even if I can't always remember the names of the things I am eating.

This time we decided to try a couple of appetizers too. One of the things we got was this awesome Spiced Ethiopian Cottage Cheese served with sauteed collard greens. It was called Ayib Begomen.

Ayibmeans cheese, and gomenmeans collard greens. I absolutely lovedthis appetizer.

It was different than the other Ethiopian food we had, and as we were eating it, it occurred to me that I can totally make this at home! That's one of my favorite things about cooking - trying something new and having that light bulb go off in my head when I realize I can make this for myself anytime!

So after dinner, we stopped by an Ethiopian grocery store and bought some Ethiopian spices. I got some berbere and some mitmita. Both are Ethiopian spice blends. Mitmita is super spicy, but berbere is just a bit spicy but also has so much flavor.

I've been using the spices in lots of recipes, such as my Ethiopian Chicken Stew, side dishes such as my Ethiopian Chickpeas, pan-fried potatoes, and for this recipe Ayib Begomen recipe:

So back to this Ethiopian Cottage Cheese recipe! Traditionally you're supposed to eat it with injera, but I didn't have time for that this time (even though the recipe looks really easy!). If you don't want to bother with injera, I bet this would be amazing on a pita or on some roti.

We just had this as a side dish, and we devoured it in one sitting. So if you're cooking for more than 2 people, I would say double this recipe.

This was so easy to make and is a super healthy side or snack since it contains so much protein from the cottage cheese and lots of collard greens. If I was to make a habit of this, I would cut down on the butter or maybe use olive oil. But for the first time, I wanted to make it extra delicious, so 4 tablespoons of butter went into this. Yum.

So if you want to try something new, different, and delicious, I really urge you to try making this Ethiopian spiced cottage cheese. It's a wonderful appetizer or snack!

If you're thinking of making this recipe, don't forget to pin it and rate it below!

Oh, and if you're interested in trying more easy Ethiopian recipes, check out my Ethiopian Chicken Stew and Ethiopian Chickpeas:

Alternative Recipe



  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ head cabbage, shredded
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes


Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the carrots and onion in the hot oil about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cabbage and cook another 15 to 20 minutes. Add the potatoes cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are soft, 20 to 30 minutes.

Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Watch the video: How to make Ethiopian Food GomenCollard Greens የጎመን አሰራር (January 2022).