Ready-made dishes from Tempe’s Café Lalibela give vegan and gluten-free fare a worldly twist.

On-the-Go Ethiopian

Written by Shelby Moore Category: Local Products Issue: March 2017
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One should not underestimate Café Lalibela’s long-term influence over the Valley’s dining habits. It’s been close to 20 years since the family-owned Tempe eatery introduced us to crêpe-like injera bread and the primitive-chic concept of eating with our hands, using the injera like a utensil to scoop up mouthfuls of dense, flavorful Ethiopian stews called wats.

Early last year, Lalibela began packaging its gluten-free injera (made from an African grain called teff) and most popular vegan wats (green beans and carrots in a red sauce, yellow split peas, red lentils and collard greens) for audiences at Whole Foods, modeling a small-producer/big-retailer collaboration. Affordable, fresh and easy to prepare, delicious chilled or reheated, the meals are the health-conscious family-on-the-go’s dream. Some, like the red lentils, are even available in a ready-to-eat format, like an injera burrito. How’s that for healthy made easy?

Here in the Valley, find the wats ($5.99 for 10 oz.) and injera ($1.99) at select Whole Foods locations, as well as both Luci’s Healthy Marketplace outposts and the Phoenix location of Natural Grocers.

— Shelby Moore

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