Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

I have no idea how we have managed to keep this dish from you guys for so long. I have been using the same recipe for years and it is one of those dishes that always whispers in my ear: “Hey, why don’t we see each other more often?”. It’s a rich, warm and comforting dish, similar to a stew or a hot pot. It’s sweet, yet a little spicy. It has a scent of cinnamon and sweet raisins with a twist of lemon and cilantro. Not to mention, it’s perfect for a cold winter day.

Let me quickly explain the tagine (or tajine). It is similar to a large clay pot with a conical lid. I am not a scientist, but as far as I understand the moist and flavors that evaporates from the food stays within the lid and – thanks to its shape – drips down back into the food. So the food is steamed in it’s own vapors and cooked/baked at the same time, isn’t that just groovy!? The result is incredibly tender vegetables filled with flavors.

With all this explained, we have to admit that we actually didn’t cook this version in a tagine (we have made it in a tagine before though). This time we used a regular clay pot. It doesn’t give the exact same result, but with a couple of tricks you will get pretty close.

A few simple secrets to a successful tagine.

1. Always balance the sweet (apricots, raisins and cinnamon) with the spicy (harissa or chili).

2. Think big. No need for fine chopping, use large chunks of vegetables. Looks better, tastes better.

3. Don’t stress it. Let the vegetables sweat for a long time on low heat under a lid.

4. No peeking. If you lift the lid the steam will vanish. If you however have to lift the lid, make sure that the vapor under it drips back into the pot.

5. Stir carefully. After a while the vegetables will be very tender and you don’t want to crush them.

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine
Serves 4 people 

You can use almost any kind of vegetables in this stew, it’s perfect for emptying the fridge.

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced (or 1 tsp grounded)

1-2 tbsp grounded cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
salt

2-3 tsp harissa paste (or dried harissa)
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
1 lemon, juice and zest

a handful fresh cilantro
1 small pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 2-inch pieces
10 dried apricots
1/2 cup chickpeas/garbanzo beans, pre boiled
a handful raisins

Serve with: white quinoa or couscous, roasted almonds, fresh cilantro and fresh mint

In a clay pot: Heat olive oil in a large clay pot and sauté the onion for a few minutes until it softens. Add garlic, ginger and the spices and stir around before adding harissa, tomatoes, lemon juice and fresh cilantro, Bring the tomato sauce to a boil and then lower the heat.
Add pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, zucchini and apricots. Stir around, make sure that all vegetables are somewhat covered in tomato sauce. Put the lid on and simmer for about an hour. Stir carefully once or twice, otherwise leave the lid on.

In a tagine: Prepare the tomato sauce according to the instructions above. Transfer it to the tagine. Add the vegetables, attach the lid and put in the oven on low temperature for at least an hour. When the vegetables feel tender, add chickpeas and raisins and let everything simmer for 5 minutes before removing it from the oven.

Serve the tagine in bowls together with cooked quinoa. Sprinkle with almonds, lemon zest and fresh spices.

59 Comments

  • Iris
    I just love dishes like these! Unfortunately, when I was in Morocco they didn't seem to understand vegetarianism and every single time they served me a plate of plain cooked carrots, nothing else. Morocco is a beautiful and very interesting country, though. Are you planning on going there? That picture of Elsa is incredibly sweet, she has such pretty eyes! You can be proud of your little girl!
  • this looks so cozy. i love the idea of garnishing it with toasted almonds and fresh mint!
  • Your tagine recipe looks marvelous! Thank you for explaining exactly what a tagine is—I had a hunch but now I know for sure! You've tempted me to add one to my Christmas list. :)
  • i lovvvvveeeee tagine! the addition of apricots and almonds makes it even more amazing sounding! i must try!
  • The ingredient list sounds wonderful. I've never had or made a tagine, but I'm intrigued. Your lead photo is beautiful.
  • I've been looking for a tagine pot for a long time now. I've tried to find one in Malmö where I live, but I've had no luck so far. The lack of a tagine won't stop me from cooking your recipe tonight though! I can already taste it! Can't wait. Thanks for (finally) sharing this recipe.
  • I have always wanted to get a tagine pot but never had the chance, so I end up doing it in a dutch oven. The result is fine but I am sure it's not the same. Lovely mix og ingredients, I particularly like the dried apricots.
  • A beautiful tagine! Really appetizing. Your pictures are gorgeous! Cheers, Rosa
  • Tagine is a favorite in my kitchen as well. I love the exotic flavors, varied textures, and balance of sweet and spice. This recipe would be lovely on the Thanksgiving table.
  • This looks wonderful! Perfect for fall. Thank you for sharing. :)
  • I'll never forget the wonderful Moroccan restaurant we went to in Paris. The smells and flavors were wonderful so I am sure this dish is delicious.
  • How lovely this looks! I'm all about the ginger and cilantro, the perfect mix of spicy and cooling.
  • This looks delicious and I like the ingredients! Have a great weekend!
  • Anne
    I have to say that this recipe sounds wonderful and full of flavor. My husband has had this before and said it was excellent but that when he had it, it was without zucchini.
  • I absolutely love the first picture! This recipe sounds great, very falvorful!
  • I hear you on the big chunks of vegetables... this looks scrumptious. (P.S. pretty nails!)
  • What a beautiful and comforting dish!! And thank you for the sweet mention in the last post, YOU both are an inspiration!
  • Lovely flavours! I make a similar dish, but without the dried fruit and I adore the warm spices of cumin and cinnamon. This sounds delicious! x
  • I can only imagine how wonderful this made your house smell. How marvelous!

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