© 2011 Green Kitchen Stories Moroccan_vegetable_tagine

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.

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52 Comments

  1. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 00:41 | #

    I can only imagine how wonderful this made your house smell. How marvelous!

  2. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 00:55 | #

    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

  3. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 01:10 | #

    What a beautiful and comforting dish!! And thank you for the sweet mention in the last post, YOU both are an inspiration!

  4. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 01:21 | #

    Beautiful! Love the veggies and nut textural thing going on here.

  5. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 01:27 | #

    I hear you on the big chunks of vegetables… this looks scrumptious. (P.S. pretty nails!)

  6. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 01:38 | #

    I absolutely love the first picture! This recipe sounds great, very falvorful!

  7. Anne
    Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 01:55 | #

    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.

  8. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 02:14 | #

    This looks delicious and I like the ingredients! Have a great weekend!

  9. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 03:19 | #

    How lovely this looks! I’m all about the ginger and cilantro, the perfect mix of spicy and cooling.

  10. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 03:32 | #

    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.

  11. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 04:47 | #

    This looks wonderful! Perfect for fall.
    Thank you for sharing. :)

  12. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 05:01 | #

    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.

  13. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 08:22 | #

    A beautiful tagine! Really appetizing.

    Your pictures are gorgeous!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  14. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 08:56 | #

    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.

  15. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 10:16 | #

    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.

  16. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 12:48 | #

    The ingredient list sounds wonderful. I’ve never had or made a tagine, but I’m intrigued. Your lead photo is beautiful.

  17. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 13:27 | #

    i lovvvvveeeee tagine! the addition of apricots and almonds makes it even more amazing sounding! i must try!

  18. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 15:10 | #

    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. :)

  19. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 17:53 | #

    this looks so cozy. i love the idea of garnishing it with toasted almonds and fresh mint!

  20. Iris
    Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 18:03 | #

    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!

  21. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 18:41 | #

    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).

  22. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 22:29 | #

    Ohhhh, I love this. I love how SOFT the dish looks. Get in my mouth, m’kay?

  23. Posted 18 Nov ’11 at 22:36 | #

    It looks delicious :) It is definitely something I would love to have a go at making. Great photos as always!

  24. Posted 21 Nov ’11 at 02:40 | #

    I love the smell that wafts from the kitchen when I’m cooking a tagine. This looks like perfection!

  25. Posted 21 Nov ’11 at 11:09 | #

    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

  26. Posted 21 Nov ’11 at 12:03 | #

    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.

  27. Posted 22 Nov ’11 at 14:47 | #

    Yummie to my tummie! Next time I see an old clay pot second-hand I’m getting it.

  28. Posted 23 Nov ’11 at 05:45 | #

    I’d love to get a tagine just so I could make this. It looks delicious!

  29. Anna
    Posted 23 Nov ’11 at 12:20 | #

    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!

  30. Posted 24 Nov ’11 at 00:11 | #

    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

  31. Tina S.
    Posted 29 Nov ’11 at 17:38 | #

    What is cilantro? Hvad hedder det på dansk/svensk? :)

  32. Steph
    Posted 29 Nov ’11 at 21:24 | #

    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 ;)

  33. Posted 7 Dec ’11 at 06:14 | #

    Fristende! Gleder meg til å prøve!

  34. Diane
    Posted 9 Dec ’11 at 11:22 | #

    Just tried it, it’s wonderful !! All the flavors combine extremely well.

  35. Posted 10 Dec ’11 at 23:50 | #

    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.

  36. Stella
    Posted 15 Dec ’11 at 09:12 | #

    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

  37. Posted 22 Dec ’11 at 04:55 | #

    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? :)

    • Posted 22 Dec ’11 at 06:28 | #

      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

  38. Christine
    Posted 31 Jan ’12 at 03:54 | #

    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.

    • Posted 24 Feb ’12 at 02:16 | #

      Your home made harissa sounds great. I must try it when my current stock of harissa is over.

  39. Anna
    Posted 13 Feb ’12 at 18:49 | #

    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

    • Posted 13 Feb ’12 at 20:28 | #

      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

  40. Jo
    Posted 9 Apr ’12 at 21:39 | #

    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!

  41. Marta
    Posted 9 Mar ’13 at 23:50 | #

    How would, could this be adapted to work with a crock pot?

  42. Posted 17 Mar ’13 at 12:08 | #

    I’m trying out this recipe tonight! I’ve made kofte tagine before, but my audience for tonight is vegi so I think this will be perfect!

  43. Posted 30 Mar ’13 at 22:15 | #

    Every recipe I try of yours becomes a favourite! Just made this for dinner tonight and it turned out wonderfully. I especially love the opportunity to use my big Brazilian clay pot.
    The big chunks of tender veg, fruity accents and warming spices….looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!
    P.S. I kept everything pretty much the same except I subbed prunes for apricots (my Mum had eaten them all before I got to making this!)

  44. Jessica
    Posted 28 May ’13 at 10:01 | #

    Made this tonight and it was fantastic! Even managed to win over my meat-loving parents! Really beautiful and comforting flavours. Served it with bulgur wheat, Italian parsley and Mint and was delicious :)

  45. Posted 1 Jun ’13 at 02:09 | #

    Made this last night and it was sooo delicious! Already looking forward to the leftovers today :)

  46. Carolyn
    Posted 7 Mar ’14 at 23:26 | #

    Hey guys! I’m thinking about making this recipe next week, but I don’t have a tagine or a clay pot — do you think that a crock pot slow cooker will work just as well?

  47. Briony
    Posted 31 Jul ’14 at 19:23 | #

    Just made this for tea tonight and was totally delicious…significant other half loved it! I came across your site after a link from Deliciously Ella and your recipes are just fab…can`t get enough :)

  48. Posted 24 Aug ’14 at 19:18 | #

    I knew this was a winning dish the moment the spices, garlic and ginger hit the pan – that smell!!
    I’ve just created your beautiful recipe for a crowd of thirty and I love that even for that number it didn’t feel like too much hard work – nice chunky veg, not too many tear-inducing onions, with just occasional stirring it didn’t stick, and I didn’t need to add any salt/stock powder for it to taste flavoursome and delicious.
    Thank you!

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