Ethiopian food is one of the most flavorful and intimate cuisines in the world. Not only do the spices entice the senses, but it is meant to be shared and consumed with your hands—scooped up by fistfulls of injera (fermented Ethiopian flatbread). Now that New York City restaurants are open at full capacity, what better way to celebrate than sharing an Ethiopian meal with your family and friends? With over 20 Ethiopian spots in the city, here’s how to navigate the best vegan options out there. 

VegNews.EthiopianJackivore@jackivore/Instagram

1 Vegan Ethiopian platter

If you’re new to Ethiopian food or can’t decide on a specific dish (there’s a deliciously overwhelming amount of naturally vegan options), order the comprehensive platter. These combination dishes are a constant at Ethiopian restaurants and the vegetarian option is reliably vegan at most spots. A typical vegetarian platter will include injera, a small shredded lettuce salad topped with diced tomatoes, and spoonfuls of a number of vegan-friendly stews, lentils, and potato-based dishes. For a guaranteed vegan sample platter, check out Ras—a plant-based and farm-to-table Ethiopian concept in Brooklyn.
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VegNews.chickpeashiroBati Ethiopian Kitchen

2 Chickpea shiro

In Eritrea and Ethiopia, shiro is a beloved and seminal dish, providing both flavor and protein in the everyday diet. This grounded chickpea stew is marinated in a thick sauce of minced onions, garlic, ginger, and other tantalizing spices. The result is a delicious paste that is arguably far better than hummus. For the best chickpea shiro, grab a seat at Bati Ethiopian Kitchen in Brooklyn.
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VegNews.KiftoChris Coe

3 Vegan kitfo

Kitfo is Ethiopia’s version of steak tartare—it’s made with minced raw beef and marinated in mitmita (a chili powder-based spice blend). Ras’ plant-based rendition consists of a pea protein crumble that’s infused with spiced olive oil. When this originally meat-based dish is concerned, it’s best to seek out a completely vegan spot to enjoy this option.
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VegNews.TikelGomenMakinacafe 

4 Tikel gomen

Tikel gomen is a staple on Ethiopian vegetarian platters; however, it’s extremely satisfying on its own (when scooped up with injera, of course). The dish is a nourishing harmony of cabbage, carrots, and potatoes all cooked in a turmeric ginger sauce that gives the meal its signature yellow hue. Hunt down some of the city’s best tikel gomen by following the vegan-friendly Makinacafe food truck roaming Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens.
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VegNews.FulBunnaCafeBunna Cafe 

5 Shahan ful 

Shahan ful is the perfect breakfast or brunch dish. Reminiscent of an eggy scramble, shahan ful is made from mashed fava beans cooked with onion, peppers, garlic, ginger, and cashew ergo (yogurt). Take a seat at Bunna Cafe in Brooklyn during weekend brunching hours (12-5pm) to get a taste of this savory main. 
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VegNews.MushroomDuletRas

6 Mushroom dulet

Ethiopian dulet is traditionally a three-meat dish, but Ras has veganized it by swapping in meaty mushrooms. Hearty, thick royal trumpet mushrooms are sautéed with onions, jalapeños, and spiced grapeseed oil to expertly mimic the flavors and textures of this Ethiopian staple. Note: you’ll only find a vegan-friendly version of dulet at plant-based Ethiopian spots. 
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VegNews.LentilSabusaBunna Cafe

7 Lentil sambusa

This crispy lentil-stuffed pastry is filling enough to serve as a main dish when coupled with a side salad. Alternatively, order it as an appetizer and split with your dining companion to leave room for more items. Bunna Cafe makes one of the best lentil sambusas in the city—the accompanying lime cilantro dipping sauce really kicks it up a notch. 
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8 Seitan tibs

Spicy beef-based tibs get a vegan makeover at Ras. The restaurant uses seitan to replicate the chewy texture of this sautéed meat dish. Beyond that, Ras stays true to the original, coating its vegan tibs with a generous rub of homemade berbere spice blend. Spice seekers, you have found your match.
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VegNews.EthiopiansaladBunna Cafe

9 Butecha selata

Craving something fresh beyond the simple salad? Bunna Cafe’s appetizer-sized butecha selata will calm that craving. It’s a blend of chopped kale, butecha (chickpea scramble), dried cranberries, lime, olive oil, peppers, and onions that cohesively meld into a refreshing but subtly spicy bite.
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VegNews.avoethiopianRas

10 Mashed avocado small bites

Ras’ mashed avocado dish is a wonderful example of perfectly executed fusion food. Think guacamole enhanced with Ethiopian spices and served with crunchy injera chips. We’d willingly pay extra at any restaurant or fast-casual chain for a scoop of this heavenly green dip. 
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L. Williams is a former New York City television promo producer, writer, content creator, and vegan foodie.   

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