10 Zambian Vegetarian Recipes You Will Enjoy

When it comes to Zambian cuisine, one cannot miss the staple dish called nshima. Nshima is a thick porridge made from maize meal, which is often accompanied by a variety of delicious dishes. In this article, we will explore 10 mouth-watering Zambian vegetarian recipes that pair perfectly with nshima.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, these recipes will delight your taste buds and introduce you to the flavors of Zambia.

Zambian Cabbage Recipe

Zambian Cabbage Recipe

Cabbage is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that is widely available in Zambia.

To prepare cabbage the Zambian way, heat oil in a pan and add finely chopped tomatoes and onions. Then add the cabbage.

Cook until it becomes tender and slightly caramelized. Season with salt.

This simple yet tasty dish complements nshima wonderfully. You can find the recipe here.

Zambian Spinach Recipe

Zambian Spinach recipe

Spinach is a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable that is widely consumed in Zambia.

To make the Zambian spinach recipe, start by sautéing onions and tomatoes in oil.

Add chopped spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Season with salt.

This flavorful spinach dish pairs well with nshima and adds vibrant colors to your plate.

You can find the recipe here.

Chibwabwa/Pumpkin Leaves

Ifisashi Zambian food Zambian vegetarian recipes

Pumpkin leaves, locally known as chibwabwa, are a popular vegetable in Zambian cuisine.

To prepare this dish, wash and chop the pumpkin leaves, starting by removing the outer layer on the stems.

In a pot, Add the pumpkin leaves,, tomatoes, onions, cooking oil an salt and cook until tender.

You can also cook chibwabwa with groundnuts and it is called ifisashi. This adds more nutrients to the dish.

You can find the recipe here.


Fried okra. Zambian food

Okra is a beloved vegetable that lends itself to various delicious recipes.

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To make a flavorful fried okra dish, trim the ends and slice the okra into bite-sized pieces.

Sauté onions, garlic, and tomatoes until fragrant. Add the okra and cook until it becomes tender. Season with salt.

This okra dish adds a delightful texture and taste when paired with nshima.

See other recipes here

Soya Chunks

Soya chunks

Soya chunks are a protein-packed vegetarian alternative.

To prepare this dish, soak the soya chunks in warm water until they become soft. Squeeze out excess water and set them aside.

Heat cooking oil in a pan and add the soya chunks. Cook until they are well coated with the flavors. Season with your choice of spices and herbs.

Then add tomatoes and onions and cook until they are well cooked.

This hearty soya chunks dish is a fantastic source of protein and pairs excellently with nshima.

You can find the recipe here.

Soya Mince

Soya mince

Similar to soya chunks, soya mince is a versatile vegetarian ingredient that can be used in various recipes.

To make soya mince, rehydrate the mince by soaking it in hot water.

In a pan with heated cooking oil, add the soya mince and cook.

Add tomatoes and onions. Season with salt, pepper, and spices like cumin or curry powder.

This protein-rich dish is a delightful accompaniment to nshima.


Chikanda Zambian food Zambian vegetarian recipes

Chikanda, also known as “African polony,” is a Zambian delicacy made from ground nuts (peanuts) and wild orchid tubers.

While it is traditionally enjoyed as a snack, it can also be incorporated into main meals.

To prepare chikanda, check the recipe here.

Serve this unique and nutritious dish alongside nshima for a complete Zambian dining experience.



Impwa, are a type of bitter-tasting eggplants also known as garden eggs.

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To make a delicious impwa dish, check the recipe here.

This flavorful eggplant dish pairs very well with nshima.

Sweet Potato Leaves/Kalembula

Kalembula Zambian vegetarian recipes

Sweet potato leaves, or kalembula, are a nutritious and abundant vegetable in Zambia.

To prepare this dish, wash the sweet potato leaves, removing the tough stems.

In a pot, sauté onions and tomatoes until soft. Add the sweet potato leaves and cook until they wilt. Season with salt.

This vibrant and healthy dish pairs beautifully with nshima.



Beans is also a common Zambian vegetarian recipe.

It is usually dried and cooked for long hours.

Fresh beans is also available and another type of beans known as green beans.

All these types can be enjoyed with nshima and are a great vegetarian option.

Zambian cuisine offers a wide array of Zambian vegetarian dishes that can be enjoyed with the country’s staple food, nshima.

From sautéed cabbage to flavorful soya chunks, these 10 are only some of the many Zambian vegetarian recipes that showcase the diversity and deliciousness of vegetarian cuisine in the country.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, a food enthusiast, or someone looking to explore new flavors, these recipes will transport you to the heart of Zambia and leave you craving for more.

So, grab your cooking utensils, prepare some nshima, and embark on a culinary journey through the vibrant and delightful Zambian vegetarian recipes.