Githeri Kenya Soup Replaces Minestrone Soup

Have you ever wanted a good ol’ minestrone soup but without the meat or pasta? Sounds like you need a githeri Kenya soup recipe. A githeri recipe is perfect for cold weather, pesky colds, or one pot meals when you don’t feel like putting too much work in the kitchen. It is a great traditional Kenyan food for those on a budget, to those with all types of veggies at their disposal. Welcome back to our vegetarian African food journey. I hope you’re ready to learn what is githeri, where it comes from, and why you should make it for dinner tonight. Let’s get to it! 

Githeri Kenya background

First of all, what is githeri? Githeri is typically a stew that is made like Italian minestrone but easier and with a few ingredient adjustments. It does not have meat or pasta. Although, adding pasta wont make it less of a vegetarian African food, but it isn’t necessary. This is because the githeri recipe already has enough nutrients to make it a meal. Another food it is similar to is the North American succotash soup which uses sweet corn and lima beans. 

Githeri Kenya food is yummy! Traditional Kenyan food is prized among vegetarian African food. This Githeri recipe answers what is githeri.
Kenya githeri soup

But don’t get it twisted, this is a traditional Kenyan food. It can replace minestrone and succotash but it is not derived from them. This brings us to the question: where is githeri Kenya from? I’ll give you some time to guess… Of course, Kenya! More specifically, sources credit it to the Kikuyu tribe. This Bantu speaking tribe loves their legumes and corn. In this article on the two most populous tribes in Kenya, you can learn more about them and their contributions to traditional Kenyan food. 

Lastly, why try this githeri recipe? Where should I even begin? It is an easy one pot meal, nutritious, can work with whatever is in your pantry and garden, and it can be eaten at any time of day. Githeri can be had without the liquid, then you can enjoy it with some tea like the Luyha and Kikuyu. You can also make it as a stew and have it with rice or ugali. Or you could follow our githeri Kenya recipe below and make it into a soup. It’ll then be perfect for cold or snowy days, or even when you just need something warm and hydrating for the soul. 

Already falling in love with the githeri recipe? Try Mandazi, a Kenyan donut, for dessert. 

Not convinced? It’s alright, we are getting to the nutritious side of githeri Kenya now. 

Githeri OR mahenjera with coffee
Healthy vegetarian breakfast- Kenya Style

Githeri or mahenjera recipe nutrition

This depends on what you add to your githeri recipe. Organizations like World Vision find githeri as a good food for poor families in times of crisis. Theirs has beans, corn, stock and spices, but the FAO uses only beans, maize, and salt. See, it doesn’t need a trip to the store.

beans of benin
Examples of Beans in Benin

From this article on beans in Benin, you’ll find that beans are good sources of vitamins, fiber, and protein. And despite what you may have learnt in grade school (beans are just fiber and carbs) beans go beyond those basics. Their unique texture also adds something extra to the soup and although they may take time to cook, they aren’t difficult.

Maize, a cereal crop, is another great source of fiber. In our cereals in Benin article, you’ll find that it helps your digestive system and is low in fat. 

Now to try the githeri recipe

For more nutrition and flavor, add veggies like carrots, onions, potatoes. And any spices of your choice. There really is no specific answer to what is githeri, because it is what you make it. There is creative freedom in traditional Kenyan food. Try it out and let us know which garden favorites you added. Subscribe as well, for more updates on easy and cheap vegetarian African food recipes. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Check out our Instagram page for real-life inspirations 😊.


Cold-Season Githeri Kenyan Soup

Yield: 2.5
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

From the warming, inviting flavors and smells used to flavor this Kenya Githeri, it is no wonder it surpass minestrone soup. If you want protein riche, one pot meal that is pack with savory spices, try this. Very affordable too!


  • 1 veggie cube
  • 2.5 TBSP oil
  • 1 cup beans
  • ⅔ cup corn
  • 2 cups of water
  • Quarter onion diced
  • 1 TBSP Ginger minced
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • 2 Garlic minced
  • 1 Tsp paprika/ chili powder
  • 2 TBSP Chunky Tomato (chunky salsa)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp ground coriander


    Boil beans unsalted and discard the water it is boiled in. Note, if you pre-soak the beans it will take 30 mins to cook, compared to if you didn’t soak the raw beans it will take 1+ hour to cook. You want the beans not too soft, el dente texture is good. I used assorted mixed beans for this Githeri soup because that is what I had on hand. You may use kidney beans or pinto beans.

    On low heat, add oil to a deep soup pot. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 mins. Add in the chunky tomato and saute until the water in the tomato dries, 2-3mins. Next, add in the spices (veggie cube, cumin, paprika, salt and coriander). Stir to combine.

    After that, add the bean mixture and stir to combine. Following that, add in 2 cups of water and cover the pot. Boil the soup for 15 minutes. When the time is up, add the corn lastly and it will coot in the hot soup. Turn off the heat and serve with fresh parsley/cilantro garnish. You can eat this githeri soup as is or add bread.


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