Ethiopian Gomen With Cavolo Nero Kale

Ethiopian gomen in a bowl

If you are looking for a new way to eat your greens, then you must try this Ethiopian gomen with cavolo nero kale. This Ethiopian twist on leafy vegetable, stewed for a long time with garlic, onion, ginger and spices is so delicious; it assaults your taste buds in a very pleasant way.

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Ye’abesha gomen, abesha gomen or just gomen is a simple, aromatic, and highly spiced dish prepared with green leafy vegetables. In traditional Ethiopian cooking, ye’abesha gomen is served along with different sauces and stews on a spongy flat bread called injera. Injera is used is used to scoop up the gomen and the other stews. You can enjoy gomen in this traditional way or with other flatbreads. It is also great as a side and will go well with a rice dish.

In Ethiopian cuisine, gomen is traditionally prepared with collard greens. This is why it is sometimes called “Ethiopian collard greens”. Collard greens can be replaced with similar thick, leafy vegetables like kale, depending on what is available where you are. I used cavolo nero kale because it is in season at this time.

Cavolo nero belongs to the same family as the regular kale, but with much darker green leaves. It is also known as black kale or black cabbage and can be used in same ways as kale. It has a sturdy, thick leaves which means it will not fall apart when cooked for a long time. I found that cooking cavolo nero for a long time helps to get rid of the bitter taste associated with this vegetable. This is what makes it perfect for Ethiopian gomen.

Ethiopian Gomen with cavolo nero kale

How To Cook Ethiopian Gomen With Cavolo Nero

Cavolo nero has a slightly bitter taste, which could be overpowering. It is important to cook the gomen for long enough to get rid of the bitter taste. This also allows the aromatic flavours to develop. You can substitute cavalo nero with other types of kale or hardy greens. You will need to adapt the cooking times.

Ya’besha gomen is traditionally cooked with “niter kibbeh”; Ethiopian spiced clarified butter. I used vegetable oil to make the dish more accessible. It also has the added advantage of making the dish suitable for vegetarians.

Finally, it is important to wash the cavolo nero kale properly because the leaves are crinkled, which means plenty space for dirt to hide.

Ethiopian Gomen with cavolo nero kale

Ethiopian Gomen With Cavolo Nero Kale

Abi Olayiwola
Delicious Ethiopian Gomen with cavolo nero is a fragrant and highly spiced dish which is great on injera, scooped up with other flat breads or as a side dish.
4.5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine African, Eriterian, Ethiopian
Servings 4
Calories 120 kcal


  • 1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 large Onion chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Grated ginger
  • 300g Cavolo nero Kale
  • Salt a dash


  • Wash the cavolo nero leaves and strip off the leaves from the thick stalks at the bottom. Chop the leaves and keep aside. Discard the stalks.
  • Heat the oil in a pan under low heat. Add the fenugreek, paprika, cardamom and chilli flakes. Stir for around 30 secs.
  • Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Increase the heat to medium and continue to stir for 3-5 mins.
  • Add the chopped cavolo nero with a dash of salt.
  • Add a cup of water, stir the content of the pan. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer.
  • Check the pan regularly. The liquid will evaporate as you cook, add a small quantity of water if required to prevent burning.
  • Cook for around 40 mins until the leaves are wilted properly.
  • Remove from heat and serve.
  • Add a small quantity of water, reduce the allow to cook
  • 10 mins prep – 50 mins cook


Serving: 4gCalories: 120kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 49mgPotassium: 453mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 7887IUVitamin C: 93mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 1mg
Keyword African food, Ethiopian food, Gomen, Ya’besha gomen
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



  1. Sara

    July 14, 2020 at 10:57 am

    This great Abi. I always wondered what cavolo nero was and was never brave enough to give a try. I am Ethiopian living in the UK and have always used collard greens to make gomen only a few times in year because of the seasonality of collards. I tried your recipe with cavolo nero and it was so delicious.

    • Abi Olayiwola

      July 14, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      I’m glad you liked this recipe Sara.

  2. Temi

    July 17, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    An interesting twist. Looking forward to trying this. Thank you 🙂

    • Abi Olayiwola

      July 19, 2020 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks so much Temi. I’m sure you will love it.


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