Who doesn't love well made kale smoothies and açai bowls? I sure do! But there's a new dietary hero in town, and it's bursting with vibrant flavors and ancient wisdom: Ethiopian cuisine. Beyond the delicious stews and spongy injera lies a treasure trove of ingredients that nourish your body and beautify your skin from the inside out.
Hey there! Michelle here, founder of Me Tree Skin Care, a plant-based all-natural and organic skincare company located in Tennessee, serving the Continental United States. A few years ago, we moved from Miami-Fort Lauderdale, and traded beautiful blue oceans and sunny all year-round weather for the beautiful and mountainous Cumberland Mountain Plateau- and we love it!
Now my husband and I do quite a bit of hiking and get to experience the four seasons. I love both places, however I am immersed in becoming a mountain girl these days.
In this cozy little blog, I am going to share a really cool dining experience my husband and I had in Knoxville Tennessee, where we stayed for a few days for a weekend getaway. It's about an hour and ten minutes away from our home- which is convenient!
Me and a Tree Owners Eating Vegan Food - Gosh Eatery Knoxville TN
So, off we went to our hotel. As we were relaxing in the bubbling warm jacuzzi, we started planning our Saturday night date and weekend. We both enjoy exploring, whether it's perusing vintage shops, exploring up-cycled clothing boutiques, or discovering new restaurants that cater to plant-based tastes. We truly value artistically arranged vegan fare that is delicious and nutritious
as both David and I have managed and helped start up health food grocery stores, restaurants, and vegan cafe's, in Miami. So, we've been enjoying healthy living for many moons. Now we have turned our years of learning about health and wellness into running our own plant-based natural food grade skincare brand - and we love it!
We still cook healthy for pleasure and enjoy the benefits of an active plant-based lifestyle. We believe that what you put in and on your body makes for a more enjoyable long and happy life. That's why we enjoyed the herbs included in our meal at Gosh as we use many of the same herbal spices in our own skin care formulas.
Gosh Ethiopian Minimalist Ambiance Meets Culinary Delight
When we stepped into the restaurant, we were greeted by a refreshing minimalism that sparked a subtle sense of modernity. The simplicity gave off the feeling of cleanliness and I assumed it was a new restaurant. However, according to Tariku (Mike), the Owner & Server & Terri, his wife who is Owner and Chef, Gosh Restaurant has been part of the Knoxville culinary scene since 2011, a testament to their enduring charm despite it looking rather new and unassuming.
Vegan Simplicity Gosh Restaurant Knoxville
Additionally, Gosh is a family-owned and operated dining hall that had a laid-back come-as-you-are vibe. People dressed artfully and others more casually, and we wore our comfy date-night-casual which was perfectly acceptable. The restaurant was bustling with all kinds of people waiting to be seated, which is always a good sign. And let me tell you, we were not disappointed with the delicious dishes we tried!
Eating with Your Hands
The Ethiopian culture has a unique way of eating without utensils. Togetherness is integral to their communal values and the way they dine together. Our date was cultural, cozy, and enjoyable. If you're interested in experiencing the Ethiopian culture's unique way of eating without utensils, you'll love Gosh.
Delicious Vegan Injera For Healthy Body & Skin
This ancient gluten-free grain isn't just trendy, it's a skin superfood. Teff is rich in protein, dietary fiber, and essential minerals like iron and zinc, all crucial for skin health and collagen production. Its low glycemic index helps regulate blood sugar, preventing inflammation and premature aging. Plus, teff's unique amino acid profile supports gut health, which directly impacts the health and appearance of your skin.
The Spice of Life
Ethiopian spices go beyond the nuances of chili. Their aromatic blends, like the peppery warmth of berbere and earthy mitmita, are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that danced on my tongue. Turmeric, a cornerstone of these blends, boasts curcumin, a potent antioxidant linked to improved skin health and reduced inflammation. Ginger, another common spice, promotes healthy circulation and helps fight free radicals that damage skin cells
A feast for the senses, a boon for your body:
From the immune-boosting garlic in shiro wat to the vitamin-rich lentils in misir wat, Ethiopian dishes are a symphony of skin-loving ingredients. But it's not just about the individual components; it's the way these dishes are prepared which allows the nutrients to be readily absorbed by your body. Slow cooked meals- yes please!
At Gosh, you'll also find beautifully spiced and balanced dishes such as Kik Alicha, which is made with pureed yellow split peas simmered in a mild sauce of onions, curry, and spices, or Misir Wot- a red split lentil dish cooked slowly in a flavorful berbere (spicy pepper) sauce. Rest assured, everything is mildly spicy rather than intensely hot.
What we also learned was that Ethiopians celebrate the Ethiopian Orthodox form of Christianity, which prescribes over 200 fasting days per year! The significance of fasting is seen as a spiritual discipline and a way to cleanse the body in preparation for religious holidays and expresses devotion to God during fasting in the weeks leading up to Christmas and other holidays.
Ethiopians abstain from all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs, during these fasting days. Ethiopian food and culture have developed a vegan-friendly tradition with dishes like lentils, chickpeas, beans, vegetables, stews, and unique spice combinations, forming the base of many popular dishes.
We were pleased with the wide selection available, catering to plant-based options and satisfying our taste buds!
Inspiration To Plant-Based Living.
The spices contribute to the unique and flavorful experience- especially with Injera bread- my absolute new favorite accompanying side dish. We are already studying how to replicate it to eat this way at home more often (I mean seriously, who doesn't love eating with their hands and not doing the dishes)! I have already been incorporating these lovely spices into my cooking to remind me of the dishes we tried, including Takil Gomen, Gomen, Shurro Wot, Engudai Wot, and many others.
So, the next time you crave a culinary adventure, skip the trendy fads and fast food and delve into the vibrant world of Ethiopian food. Your taste buds will thank you, and your skin will radiate the benefits of ancient wisdom and delicious spices.
DID YOU KNOW? FOR COFFEE ENTHUSIASTS
Ethiopia also has a renowned coffee culture, once being the primary source of coffee worldwide. The country boasts a unique spiced coffee tradition. They serve a special clove spiced coffee that is quite popular. While I can't do caffeine internally, I do use it on my skin! It's wonderful for tightening and exfoliating! Gosh Ethiopian Eatery had this well known and preserved tradition.
Overall the culture and ambiance of Gosh exudes a graceful charm, with colorful photos of Ethiopian women adorning the surroundings, capturing an almost gentle Egyptian-African aesthetic, to simple photo's of San Francisco and more.
Prepare Before You Dine at Gosh Restaurant
This eatery embraces a culture that encourages patrons to unwind and savor each moment, prioritizing a leisurely dining experience over rushing through a meal. You may not get your menu and order taken super fast but a friendly smile and an understanding heart will be the seasoning you'll want to pack to enjoy this original place. So, if you find yourself passing through Knoxville Tennessee, with a bit of time to spare and a craving for something extraordinary, this is a spot worth exploring. TIP: For plant-based enthusiasts, entrust the selection of dishes to the skilled hands of the owner Mike- as a delightful journey awaits you as his Chef wife prepares your meal -and disappointment won't be on the menu.
Ready to unlock the secrets of Ethiopian beauty? Head over to our shop and explore our selection of Ethiopian spiced skincare using some of the very same spices in these recipes as we already incorporate cloves, cinnamon, rose-hips, turmeric, patchouli, and more into your favorite soaps and body/ face scrubs like the popular Jumping Java Exfoliating Face Polish an All Over Skin Conditioner and our Me and a Tree Goat Milk & Patchouli Bar Soap with Turmeric and other lovely spices, that you can use on your face, hair & body. We'll help you enjoy a royal feast for your senses and your skin!
Too Far To Dine at Gosh? Check your local area for Indian or Ethiopian Cuisine however, if that isn't possible try recreating the experience for yourself! Check out these recipes below, complete with links and instructions, for creating your own cozy and healthy Valentine's Day. Below links will also show you where you can buy pre-packaged Misir Wot Lentils with all the spices added. Prepped and ready for cooking!
HOW TO RECREATE A WARM COZY ETHIOPIAN MEAL AT HOME
Injera Bread Recipe
Here's a traditional Ethiopian injera bread recipe with detailed instructions on fermenting the batter:
- 1 cup (125g) teff flour (preferably brown or ivory)
- 3 cups (750ml) lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup (60ml) sourdough starter (optional, but recommended for faster fermentation)
- Salt to taste (optional)
Fermenting the batter:
Mix the teff flour and water: In a large bowl, whisk together the teff flour and water until you have a smooth batter with the consistency of thin pancake batter. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth and let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours.
Observe the fermentation process: During this time, the batter will bubble and ferment, developing a slightly sour smell. This is due to the wild yeast cultures naturally present in the teff flour. If you're using sourdough starter, the fermentation process may be faster, taking around 12-24 hours.
Skim the batter (optional): After the first 24 hours, you may notice a thin layer of liquid on top of the batter. This is called "hoso" and can be skimmed off if you prefer a milder sourness in your injera. However, skimming the hoso can also slow down the fermentation process.
Taste and adjust: After 24-48 hours, taste the batter. It should have a pleasantly sour flavor. If it's too sour for your liking, you can add a pinch of salt to help balance the flavor.
Cooking the injera:
Heat a non-stick pan or griddle: Once the batter is fermented, heat a non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat. Lightly oil the pan with vegetable oil or ghee.
Pour the batter: Using a ladle or injera mit (a special circular tool), pour a small amount of batter onto the hot pan, swirling the pan quickly to spread the batter into a thin, even circle about 8-10 inches in diameter.[
Cook until set: Cook the injera for about 1-2 minutes, or until the edges start to dry and become slightly crispy. You can gently lift a corner of the injera with a spatula to check if it's cooked through.
Cool and stack: Carefully flip the injera over and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer the cooked injera to a plate and cover it with a clean kitchen towel to keep it warm and moist. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the cooked injera as you go.
- Use warm water when mixing the batter, as cold water can inhibit the fermentation process.
- If you don't have sourdough starter, you can still make injera using wild yeast cultures, but the fermentation may take longer.
- The size and thickness of your injera may vary depending on your preference.
- Injera is best served fresh and warm, but it can also be stored at room temperature for a day or two or wrapped and frozen for longer storage.
Enjoy your delicious homemade injera! It's a perfect accompaniment to Ethiopian stews like doro wat (spicy chicken stew add fake chicken substitute for plant-based) and shiro wat (chickpea stew), or simply spread with honey or berbere, a vibrant Ethiopian spice blend.
Misir Wot Recipe
Here's a recipe for making traditional Ethiopian Misir Wot, a delicious and warming red lentil stew perfect for scooping up with spongy injera bread:
For the Misir Wot:
- 1 cup (200g) red lentils, rinsed
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon berbere spice blend (or adjust to your spice preference)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons niter kibbeh (clarified vegan butter, or substitute vegetable oil)
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth or water
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon black cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1 bay leaf
- Injera bread (see previous recipe for instructions)
- Chopped red onion
- Cilantro leaves
Heat the niter kibbeh: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the niter kibbeh over medium heat. If using oil, simply add it to the pot and heat it until shimmering.
Sauté the aromatics: Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add spices and garlic: Stir in the berbere spice blend, garlic, ginger, black cumin (if using), and cardamom (if using). Cook for another minute or so, until fragrant. Or buy prepackaged at link below.
Add tomato paste and lentils: Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute, then add the rinsed red lentils.
Pour in broth and simmer: Pour in the vegetable broth or water, and add the bay leaf (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the stew has thickened.
Adjust seasonings and serve: Add salt to taste and check for consistency. If the stew is too thick, you can add more water or broth. Serve hot with injera bread, chopped red onion, and cilantro leaves.
- For a richer flavor, you can toast the berbere spice blend in a dry pan for a minute before adding it to the pot.
- You can also add other vegetables to the Misir Wot, such as chopped carrots, potatoes, or green beans.
- Leftover Misir Wot can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Enjoy your delicious and authentic Misir Wot! It's a hearty and flavorful dish that's sure to become a new favorite. If you would like to dive into MORE cooking recipes from Ethiopian Inspired Authors check out this plant based one that has great reviews on Amazon!
TEFF LOVE ETHIOPIAN COOKBOOK WITH PLANT BASED RECIPES FOR HEALTHY MINDED PEOPLE AND THOSE LOOKING FOR ADVENTUROUS COOKING IDEAS
Thank you for reading and Happy Healthy Living!
[If you'd like to get your hands on some of your own freshly made small batch skin care made with fresh essential oils that relax the mind and body, or some delightful soaps and skin creams made with powerful flowers and botanicals that help calm and condition skin issues along with detoxifying and smoothing clays, then head on over to our home page and sign up and start shopping! You can enjoy all kinds of healthy recipes and skin care tips when you sign up for our newsletter on how home page!]