I’m going to be honest with you, as I sit writing this I’m wearing my dressing gown, I’ve got my fluffiest socks on and a hot water bottle. And while there may have been a little bit of sunshine today (in Manchester, I know, I’m as shocked as you are) it’s still frreeeeeeezing cold. But fret not, I have the cure: this warming dish of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine.
I think one of the wonderful things about Winter is that even a dish as humble as vegetable stew (aka this tagine) can seem like something a little more luxury. Cooked slowly and crafted with love and care, it can take simple vegetables up to something really special.
This little number itself is a veggie sensation, filled with onion, butternut squash, carrot and spinach. And if you decide to throw some pomegranate seeds on top those count towards your 5-a-day too, right?
The stew base is made of passata which is spiced with coriander, cinnamon, ginger, saffron and cayenne. We’ve also got some preserved lemons and honey in there for next level flavourrrr. Perfect for these cold wintery evenings.
What is a tagine?
The word tagine can refer to one of two things. First the word describes an earthenware cooking pot often found in North Africa. A tagine pot consists of a wide shallow base with a conical lid and is used to create stew based dishes.
A tagine can also refer to a type of North African stew, cooked slowly with meat, vegetables and spices. All in all it generally means TASTY.
What are preserved lemons?
Preserved lemons are lemons that have been preserved using a mixture of salt water and lemon juice. Over time this softens the lemons, making the rinds edible. You will often find preserved lemons in North African food (a bit like this Moroccan Vegetable Tagine!) giving a citrus-y, floral flavour to the recipe.
I tend to use Belazu Beldi Preserved Lemons. They taste BOMB. But if you can’t get a hold of any, as a substitute you could use a teaspoon of lemon zest and a good pinch of salt.
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This is my take on a classic vegetarian Moroccan stew – the tagine. Filled with chickpeas, carrot and butternut squash then flavored with warming spices, honey and preserved lemons. Perfect for Meatless Monday and so tasty!
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 300 grams butternut squash, diced
- 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped (I use Belazu Beldi Preserved Lemons)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 500 grams passata
- 250 milliliters water, boiled
- 1 tin of chickpeas, liquid drained
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt to taste
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
To serve (optional)
- Chopped mint
- Crumbled feta
- Pomegranate seeds
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole pot or a tagine. Saute the onion for 5 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add the carrot and squash to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the spices and cook for 1 minutes before adding in the preserved lemon, passata and the water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the chickpeas to the pan and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. The tagine should be thick and the vegetables should be tender when it is done. If the tagine appears dry, add a little more water.
- Stir in the honey, taste and add salt as required. Add the spinach to the pan and stir it in until it has wilted.
- Serve the tagine alongside fluffy couscous, then top with mint, feta and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
- If you can’t get a hold of preserved lemons, substitute one preserved lemon for a teaspoon of lemon zest and a good pinch of salt.
Keywords: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine, Vegetarian Tagine, Moroccan Stew Recipe, Moroccan Recipe, Moroccan Stew with Chickpeas