It’s certainly no secret that the most delicious food on the planet comes from the African continent. From Kenya to South Africa to Sierre Leone, Africans enjoy recipes passed down through generations. Omnivores and vegetarians alike can enjoy these classic flavor combinations.
Baghrir is a sumptuous Moroccan pancake that you can make either sweet or savory. Although if you have a sweet tooth, you should definitely consider topping them with plantains and maple. This breakfast staple starts with fluffy semolina pancakes that are almost like delicate crepes. Top them off with a hearty serving of plantains and plenty of decadent maple syrup, and you have a meal to remember.
Most countries in Africa have their own version of sweet potato stew, so if you want to sample a sweet and savory dish that will make you swear off meat forever, try this one on for size. It’s a beautiful combination of sweet potatoes, peanuts, kale, and spice. If you want to kick up the spice a little bit, just add hot sauce to taste.
Ethiopian ful is a hearty breakfast dish packed with protein-rich fava beans. It’s a simple, easy meal to prepare, and it’s full of flavor. Plus, you can top it in just about any way you see fit. For example, we like the combination of jalapenos and some yogurt for a creamy, spicy add-on. Or, you can pair it with some cheese, onions, and tomatoes and eat it with a side of bread.
Here we have another breakfast favorite, shakshuka. It takes your typical meal of eggs and turns it right on its head in the best possible way. Essentially, you bake the eggs in a spicy gravy, then add some tangy cheese and fresh herbs. Finally, soak it all up with bread for a meal you’ll remember.
If you know anything about African cuisine, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with jollof rice. This incredible dish usually contains meat, but you can make it with extra vegetables and throw in some mushrooms for texture. As with many African dishes, you can add or subtract anything you want.
Chapatis makes a great companion to many of the heavier stews and soups on our list. It’s best fresh out of the oven, served warm, and dunked right into the dish of your choice. Even better still, you don’t need too many ingredients to make it. All you need is flour, olive oil, and water. Salt to taste.
Gomen kitfo proves why Ethiopian food is rapidly claiming its place on the world stage. It’s the ultimate comfort food, packed with plenty of vitamins and nutrients, and uses a few loved ingredients. You just need collard greens, butter or oil, and some spices to taste. Eat it on its own with bread or as a side dish.
If you love satay, there’s a good chance that you will also love suya. It’s basically an African riff on satay, full of peanut sauce, spice, and plenty of tender vegetables. Like many of the recipes on our list, suya is generally meat-based, but you can make it vegetarian by swapping out the meat for mushrooms.
Tagine is an incredible dish from Morocco that is full of tomatoes, vegetables, and delicious spices. It’s a great dish to enjoy on a cold day. In addition to the savory vegetables, you’ll also get a hit of sweetness from the apricots. Enjoy alone, with bread, or next to a big fluffy bowl of couscous.
Koeksisters are South African pastries that you can eat all on your own or with a delicate sauce. They’re best right out of the oven, but these little beauties are tasty no matter if they’re hot or cold. Better still, they’re super easy to make. The coconut dusting is optional, but it adds a whole new flavor dimension.
Misir Wat is another fabulous Ethiopian offering, packed with hearty lentils and plenty of tasty vegetables. Plus, you can whip up a delicious pot of it in under an hour. You can use whatever ingredients that you want, but it does taste best with fresh onion, tomato, lentils, and good spices. Don’t try to substitute the spices if you want to get the best, most authentic flavor.
Ethiopian injera is the African equivalent of daily bread. Although it’s more crepelike than our standard bread, it’s equally suitable for sopping up any kind of soup or stew that you want. As a result, many Ethiopians enjoy injera as part of their daily meal. The only downside is that it takes a while to make, but it’s all worth it in the end.
13. Efo Riro
If you want to get your daily serving of vegetables in, try efo riro on for size. Efo riro usually has meat, but you can use vegetable broth instead and bulk up the stew with more vegetables. Add whatever you’d like, but make sure to include peppers, garlic, and lots of fresh or frozen spinach.
Most people don’t really cook too much Malawi food, which is a shame because it’s simply delicious. Ndiwo and nshima is one example that’s basically a combination of starch and curry. Nsima is steamed corn, and ndiwo is a savory and spicy vegetable curry. Mix the two together, and you have a complete, nutritious meal. Plus, the turmeric, garlic, masala, and dhanajeera add a kick of flavor you’ll fall in love with.
Atakilt wat is generally a side dish, but you can make it the star of the show simply by adding more vegetables to the mix. Like many standout dishes, we get this one courtesy of Ethiopia. It’s packed full of fibrous vegetables like cabbage and potatoes, with some carrots, onion, and plenty of garlic. You’ll find that the flavors hit close to home but are still unexpected and tasty.
If you’re looking for a silky, cream soup that’s a bit of a break from the cream of mushroom or broccoli, try Moroccan cauliflower and almond soup. Although it certainly tastes decadent, it’s super easy to make. The almonds and garlic give it a nutty, rich flavor, and there’s a touch of mustard to take it to the next level.
If you usually serve your black-eyed peas with butter or stirred into a soup, you should try these black-eyed pea fritters on for size. Popular in Nigeria, black-eyed pea fritters are an excellent side dish that goes well with hearty curries or soups. You can also have them all on their own as a nice snack.
Daraba is a popular dish from Chad that is full of vegetables and makes very innovative usage of okra. Instead of just being a component of daraba, okra lends its texture to the stew’s broth, thickening it. As such, you don’t have to use as many other vegetables in this dish. It’s economical, and you can use almost anything in your pantry.
West African dumplings are an excellent addition to virtually any meal, and you can make them in a flash. The nutmeg adds a whole new layer of flavor to the mixture itself. Although you might be able to bake these dumplings, they taste best when they’re deep-fried. Make sure that you use fresh oil to keep the flavors pure and delicious.
If you’re looking for an easy one-pot recipe with strong African roots, githeri is a good choice. It’s also an excellent dish to make when you want to do something with the extra ingredients in your pantry. Essentially, all you need are beans and corn, plus different vegetables and spices. Use canned beans and frozen corn to make it an even easier weekday meal.
You might have seen West African callaloo soup in the Caribbean, but it’s African in origin. It’s a hearty, excellent soup that you can throw any vegetable into that you would like. Try to use fresh kale or spinach instead of the frozen varieties if you can. The sweet potato makes it silkier and more delicious, and you can balance those flavors with some hot peppers.
Matbucha is a phenomenal Moroccan dish with simple ingredients that just work perfectly together. Start off with fresh, roasted bell peppers, add tomato, plenty of garlic, and some spices, and you have a robust, savory meal that’s good for even the fanciest dinner parties. Although you can eat it by itself, it tastes phenomenal with bread.
This dish is another excellent offering from Ethiopia, and it’s simple to make. The components of shiro wat are relatively simple; chickpeas, peppers, tomatoes, and onion. Shiro wat is excellent on its own or with a nice piece of injera. You can also use it as a sauce for crudites or toasted bread. However you serve it, shiro wat is sure to please.
24. Marinated Tofu
Nigeria has some classic dishes, and an excellent option is marinated tofu. This flavorful dish is terrific for people who don’t eat meat because the tofu provides all of the heartiness that you could ever want. Plus, you just need to marinate it for a while then quickly deep fry it, making it an easy meal that you can prep in advance.
Karantika comes from Algeria and tastes like a savory pancake that you can load up with other exceptional ingredients. Although you do need some specialty items, like chickpea flour, you can put it together in a flash. If you like falafel, you’ll really enjoy karantika.
Chickpeas and curry were made for each other, as this simple West African dish proves. Chickpea curry is a hearty blend of chickpeas, spices, kale, potatoes, and whatever other vegetables you want to throw in there. It also comes together in a flash. It’s an easy weeknight option that will keep your family full and satisfied, even in the darkest days of winter.
This dish from Morocco makes the humble white bean the star of the show. Loubia is one of those dishes that every home has a different spin on. Spice your tomato sauce to your liking and let the while beans simmer in it for several hours. Once they’re fully immersed, you can serve your loubia with some fresh herbs and bread.
Maharagwe is one of the most popular African dishes you’ve probably tried but just didn’t know what the name was. It comes from Kenya and is full of tomatoes, coconut milk, peppers, and cinnamon. The cinnamon gives a sweet, robust note to the stew and works well with the spicier ingredients.
Peanut stew is pretty ubiquitous all over the continent. But, if you’ve never considered the combination of peanuts and savory vegetables, now is the time to do it. The peanut butter lends a creamy, nutty element to the soup without being overly sweet. Instead, all of the ingredients get a chance to shine, and you’ll get warm, tropical coconut in every bite.
Black-eyed peas and greens are the ultimate comfort food. If you do it right, your greens will never get too soggy, and you’ll get the full, nutty flavors from every spoonful of black beans. Although this recipe involves a little bit of prep work, you can do it all beforehand, making this a great weeknight meal for busy families.
This Nigerian dish makes excellent use of black-eyed peas. Moin moin is a delicately layered concoction full of creamy black-eyed peas, onion, peppers, and chili spice. You can undoubtedly change the recipe so that the spice level is just to your liking. Then, eat it alone, or with a big bowl of rice or couscous.
Talk to any Tanzanian, and they will tell you that mchicha is the best dish in the world. Then, take one bite of it and see if you disagree with them. Mchicha is a decadent, rich, vegetarian meal that balances vegetables with coconut milk, peanut butter, and plenty of tomatoes. Although you could eat it alone and be satisfied, it also goes well with porridge or bread.
Try irio, an African take on the American comfort food classic if you love mashed potatoes. Instead of using standard potatoes, you can make irio with sweet potatoes, corn, and peas. As with some of the top favorites on our list, we can thank Kenya for this one. If you don’t like peas or corn, no problem. One of the beautiful things about irio is that you can stir in any vegetable in your refrigerator or pantry, and it will taste heavenly.
Chin chin are light, addictive, deep-fried beauties that will rival just about any dessert that you’ve ever tasted. Essentially, they’re dough balls that you deep-fry and coat with spices. Best of all, you probably have everything that you need to whip up your first batch of chin chin. Butter, spices, sugar, flour, and milk are the only ingredients that you need to make some perfect chin chin.
Ghana’s bean soup, or red red, will keep you satisfied all day long. This soup is full of black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and any other beans that you might have in your pantry. It’s okay to get creative with it if you have the spice profile down. Add in a generous amount of tomatoes, onion, and garlic, and enjoy this dish with some plantains.
Bobotie is both South Africa’s national dish and one of the most beloved culinary concoctions in the entire country. It’s hard not to love it. Essentially, you have some vegetables and fruits cooked to perfection and then topped off with a sauce. Although most bobotie is meat-based, mushrooms make a great substitute. You can also play around with different vegetables, like eggplant, if you don’t like mushrooms or simply want to make it a little bit more innovative.
Nigeria has an excellent spinach soup that you can customize however you would like. This soup is perfect for vegetarians, and you can even make it vegan if you’d like. First, you have to start with a vegetable-based stock instead of a fish-based one. Next, use mushroom stock for the best flavor. Then, you just start adding in your vegetables and let them cook together.
Although we’ve mentioned fried or stewed plantains a few times in this list, it’s time that we gave them their own particular subheading. Fried plantains are perhaps one of the most unique and delicious dishes ever to come out of Africa. They’re great as a snack, or you can eat them in conjunction with one of the stews, soups, or curries on our list. You can even dip them in a sauce if you want. The creaminess of the plantains goes really well with a spicy dip.
Although piri piri salad tastes like it has a lot of components, you can make it fairly quickly if you have your piri piri spice blend on hand. Since most people love this salad, there’s a good chance that you will get a lot of use out of it. After you have your spice blend, get your vegetables together. Although you can use just about anything, sweet potatoes are exceptional.
Bunny chow is a South African staple made out of curry and bread. Essentially, you use the bread as a serving or eating vessel for the delicious curry inside. Although bunny chow is generally meat-based, you can undoubtedly make it vegetarian by just swapping out a few ingredients. Then, get ready for a taste sensation.
The simple combination of sweet potatoes and chickpeas is an excellent one that you certainly should put on your must-try list. Basically, you stuff the sweet potatoes with curried coconut chickpeas, so you get the spice from the curry, the sweetness of the potato, and the textural difference of the chickpeas.
Easy African Recipes, Final Thoughts
These exceptional recipes are bursting with flavor. Plus, they are easy and vegetarian, so it’s hard to go wrong with any of them. If it’s time to retire some old recipes and get fresh ones, try these out. You certainly won’t be disappointed and you might discover a new favorite.