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

  • Jo
    I love this dish and my 16 months old baby can't get enough of it (minus harrisa paste).Even my meat eating husband asks for it.So versatile and easy.Thank you! Ps.I adore your blog!
  • Anna
    I love love love tagines and am planning on making this at the weekend - just a quick question though, does it store well? I was hoping I could use it for a work lunch one day, since lent is coming up and it looks like something I'll be able to eat during that period! Thanks xx
    • Hi Anna, this recipe is actually perfect to save and eat as lunch. It might in fact taste even better than it did the first day. Good luck with it! /David
  • Christine
    I just made this tonight and it did NOT disappoint! I loved the sweetness of the apricots and the cinnamon! I couldn't find harissa anywhere, so I made some myself with 1/2 of a roasted red pepper, a roasted red chili, a clove of garlic, coriander, salt and pepper. It turned out really delicious. I topped it with fresh cilantro and a dollop of yogurt. Heaven in a bowl.
    • Your home made harissa sounds great. I must try it when my current stock of harissa is over.
  • Erm... just put this in the oven, but I don't see a temperature in your post! We're trying it at 350... can you please update? :)
    • Oh, sorry about that. The temperature comes down to how much time you have. Low temperature = longer time = more tender vegetables. I'd say that 350 is good medium temperature. If you want to, you could lower it down to 280. Good luck! /David
  • Stella
    Thank you so much for sharing the receipe! Cooked it tonight and my little 20 month old loved it even though he tends to prefer meat when presented with both veggies + meat, tonight was veg only. I think the sweetness from the apricots helped a lot. The adults loved it too! Thanks for inspiring me! Stella
  • This looks amazing! I love the sweet & spicy combination in Moroccan food! Could this be done in a cast iron dutch oven? I don't have a clay pot or a tagine.
  • Diane
    Just tried it, it's wonderful !! All the flavors combine extremely well.
  • Fristende! Gleder meg til å prøve!
  • Steph
    This sounds great, can't wait to try it! I'll just have to vary it a little since I don't like some of the ingredients, and I don't have a clay pot or anything like that, but I'm sure it won't matter :) Just one question: Is it a typo or are you really supposed to take 1-2 TBSP of cinnamon?? I don't think I've used that much cinnamon altogether in my life up to now ;)
  • Tina S.
    What is cilantro? Hvad hedder det på dansk/svensk? :)
  • Looks incredible, I want to make this right here, right now! And enjoy it for the rest of my life! I'm sure it's wonderful <3
  • Anna
    Looks amazing - I love tagines! Just one question - for the clay pot version, when do you add in the chickpeas and rasins? I see for the tagine pot version it's right at the end but couldn't see where they go in the clay pot version? Thanks!
  • I'd love to get a tagine just so I could make this. It looks delicious!
  • Yummie to my tummie! Next time I see an old clay pot second-hand I'm getting it.
  • Beautifully presented and succinctly explained. Thank you for sharing. I frequently turn to Ghillie Basan's book, tagines & couscous, but this is a wonderful vegan take that makes this Moroccan staple that much healthier.
  • It looks yum! I will definitely be making this. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I love the pic of Elsa! She's such a cutie. <3
  • I love the smell that wafts from the kitchen when I'm cooking a tagine. This looks like perfection!
  • It looks delicious :) It is definitely something I would love to have a go at making. Great photos as always!
  • Ohhhh, I love this. I love how SOFT the dish looks. Get in my mouth, m'kay?
  • Such a beautiful picture of Elsa, I hope her little ankle incident mentioned on Twitter did sort itself out. As for tajine (French spelling), it is a very common dish, since Morocco used to be a French colony, and obviously, the French whole-heartedly adopted the gastronomy. A veggie couscous with raisins is pretty awesome too. A fantastic recipe. You are my first inspiration for vegetarian recipes ('cause I'm switching to vegetarian in a meat-eater country. Yes, I'm crazy like that).

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