Meat Free Monday: Vegetable Alechas

by Deena on March 28, 2011

Vegetable Alecha

I made this meatless dish this weekend for an adoption shower I was co-hosting.  My friend, Catherine, is adopting a girl from Ethiopia so we went with an Ethiopian themed event.  (I wrote previously about our journey to Ethiopia).    All of the Ethiopian food was a hit with the guests.

Ethiopians have many fast days on which they are not permitted to eat meat. Vegetables Alechas and Wats are substituted on these days. (The Wat differs from the Alecha in that it is made with a spice called Ber-beri or Awaze.)  This dish is eaten with Injera (a pancake- like bread) instead of using utensils.  I was able to purchase Injera directly from a local Ethiopian restaurant.  Injera is challenging to make so I would recommend just buying it if you want the authentic taste.  When I served this dish at home for my boys, I just served it on a bed of brown rice.


Vegetable Alechas


  • 4 green peppers
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 16oz can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 4 yellow potatoes
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • olive oil


  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, saute 1 cup onions in olive oil until soft but not brown.
  2. Add carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch slice,  add green peppers, cleaned and cut in quarters
  3. Add 3 cups of water, 6 oz can of tomato sauce, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  4. Cover and cook for 10 minutes at a light boil
  5. Add 4 potatoes cut into thick slices
  6. Add can of whole peeled tomatoes
  7. Cover and cook for 10 minutes at a light boil
  8. Cut cabbage into 1 inch wide wedges and add to pot
  9. Add cayenne pepper (to taste)
  10. Cook until all vegetables are tender
  11. Serve with Injera or brown rice

Cook’s note:  To make this dish easier I went ahead and just purchased already shredded cabbage (used usually to make coleslaw) and shredded carrots.

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