Ethiopian Lasagna with Homemade Berbere

ethiopian lasagna

This Ethiopian lasagna with homemade berbere is earthy, smokey and spicy with a creamy and decadent bechamel topping that will make you go for seconds.




2 tablespoons chicken drippings (or substitute olive oil or vegetable oil)

1 large onion, diced

8 cloves of garlic, minced

500 grams / 1.2 lbs lean ground beef

1/4 cup pasta water (or whisk together 1 teaspoon of flour in 1/4 cup of warm water)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons berbere

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds

1 400 gram / 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 cups of water

2 whole bay leaves

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 250 gram / 1/2 pound box of lasagna noodles

1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)


4 tablespoons chicken drippings (or substitute butter)

4 tablespoons flour

2.5 cups of dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon berbere

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of black pepper


Cook dried lasagna sheets according to package directions, or if using fresh pasta then soak in warm water if it seems too dry to roll without cracking. Skip the soak if you’re just layering.

Brown the beef with half the ground spices and half a teaspoon of salt in the chicken drippings or oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and pasta water. Add the canned tomato, cup of water, and bay leaves. Simmer 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.

Once sauce has simmered, begin rolling lasagna sheets with the meat filling or otherwise layer them with meat filling in between. Leave about a 1/2 cup of beef filling in the pan and combine it with a half a teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of water. Swirl it around to get all the pan juices and pour it over the rolls or layered sheets.

Make the bechamel. Melt the chicken drippings or butter in a skillet and then add the flour to create a paste. Slowly pour the milk in and once its thickened enough to stick to the back of a wooden spoon, strain the sauce and pour it over the lasagna.

Bake at 200 C / 400 F for one hour. At the end of 1 hour increase the oven temperature to 225 C / 440 F, remove lid and bake another 10 minutes to brown.

Keywords: pasta, lasagna, lasagne, ethiopian, eritrean, ethiopian lasagna, eritrean lasagna, ethiopian pasta, berbere