Africa Vegetarian Recipes

 The Rich and Diverse Flavors of South Africa-South African Bobotie Recipe

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Vegetarian South African Bobotie Recipe

Introduction: Experience the rich and diverse flavors of South Africa with this delightful vegetarian twist on the traditional Bobotie. Bobotie is a beloved South African dish known for its aromatic spices and unique combination of sweet and savory flavors. This vegetarian version replaces the meat with spiced lentils or vegetables, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. Topped with a golden custard-like topping, this dish is a true representation of South African culinary heritage.

Cooking Time:

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the Lentil/Vegetable Mixture:

  • 1 cup dried lentils (green or brown), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chutney (apricot or mango)

For the Custard Topping:

  • 1 cup milk (or plant-based milk for a vegan option)
  • 2 large eggs (or a flax egg for a vegan option)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (for color)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Garnish:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped


  1. Prepare the Lentil/Vegetable Mixture:
    • In a medium pot, combine the lentils and vegetable broth/water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the lentils until tender but not mushy, about 20-25 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
    • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.
    • Add the minced garlic, grated carrot, and diced red bell pepper. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
    • Stir in the curry powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
    • Add the cooked lentils, raisins/sultanas, and chutney to the skillet. Mix well to combine all the flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Baking Dish:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Grease a baking dish with a bit of oil or cooking spray.
  3. Layer the Lentil/Vegetable Mixture:
    • Transfer the lentil/vegetable mixture to the greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Prepare the Custard Topping:
    • In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs (or flax eggs), ground turmeric, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  5. Assemble and Bake:
    • Pour the custard topping over the lentil/vegetable mixture in the baking dish.
    • Sprinkle sliced almonds on top of the custard for added texture and flavor.
  6. Bake the Bobotie:
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the custard topping is set and golden brown.
  7. Serve:
    • Once baked, remove the Bobotie from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing.
    • Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley for a fresh burst of flavor.


  • Variations: Feel free to customize the vegetable mixture by adding ingredients like diced zucchini, sweet potatoes, or peas.
  • Serve with: Traditionally, Bobotie is served with yellow rice, chutney, and a side of vegetables.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the lentil/vegetable mixture and custard topping in advance and assemble just before baking.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: To reheat, cover the Bobotie with foil and warm it in the oven until heated through.

Enjoy the delightful fusion of flavors and cultures with this vegetarian South African Bobotie recipe, a true gem from the rainbow nation’s culinary repertoire!

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