I tend to be a little overzealous when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. While they are usually attainable goals, it’s the sheer number that makes them difficult to complete. I do have a few for 2015 that I’m quite serious about, though. One is to push myself even further in the kitchen: I want to work with new ingredients and spices, try new techniques, and constantly try to learn through trial and error. The goal inspired me to tackle a Moroccan tagine, something I have never thought to make before. It’s often the cuisines I know very little about that daunt me the most, which is how I felt with Moroccan food. But I’m so glad I took a chance with this dish. It turns out that tagines don’t need much “tackling” at all: this recipe was wonderfully easy to make and, best of all, didn’t require any obscure ingredients.
Named after the traditional clay pot it is cooked in, a tagine is a lightly-spiced stew that is often made with meat. For this vegetarian version, I used chickpeas to add heartiness and protein. With fragrant spices like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon and dried fruits like apricots and raisins, the dish is packed with wonderful flavors that come together to make something both comforting and exciting. And I love that it only requires one pot, since the uncooked couscous is added directly into the stew. Healthy and filling, I view this as the perfect vegetarian dish.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- Two cinnamon sticks
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained
- 2 carrots, chopped
- ½ head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 cup pearl couscous, uncooked
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ cup toasted pine nuts
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, sautee the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat for about five minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir for about two minutes, and then add the apricots, raisins, tomato, stock, chickpeas, carrots and cauliflower. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15-25 minutes.
- Add the uncooked couscous and cook until the couscous is al dente, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
*Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Pearl Couscous Tagine recipe in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
Love this recipe, Julia! I’ve not tried a tagine with raisins or dried apricots, rather, I’ve had it with dates. But I adore dried apricots, so this will be something new for me to try! Really appreciate too, the addition of carrots and cauliflower! One can never get enough veggies in. And all those warming spices sound fabulous! Looking forward to trying this, Julia and I can’t wait to share in your 2015 kitchen adventures here on OSK!!
Thanks, Traci! Dates sound really delicious, too. I’ll have to try that next time. Really, I think any dried fruit would be delicious in a tagine…the sweetness combined with the turmeric and cumin is so special!
You posted this at the perfect time, Julia…this dish looks so tempting in the face of this morning’s sub-zero temperatures! And you’re right about its simplicity even though the flavors are so varied…can’t wait to try this one! Oh–remember how much you loved the Moroccan food at Epcot when you were in 8th grade (we all did, actually)? I’m not surprised that you were inspired to create a veggie tagine!
You’re right, I did love the Moroccan food at Epcot! Now that I know how easy it can be to make at home, I’ll definitely be make Moroccan food more often. I think you’ll love this dish!
Julia, a very tempting dish even for my 80’s Farenheit…
I’ll try it very soon!! “Smell” delicious.
Wow, I am jealous of your warm weather! It is below zero here…we’ll have to come visit you again soon. And yes, this dish does smell delicious!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen says
I love a good vegetarian stew – and this tagine looks perfect – comforting and filling with touch of spice. Don’t you just love it when you try a new recipe that you thought would be difficult and it’s really straightforward. Looking forward to trying this, Julia. Here’s to an adventurous time in the kitchen for 2015!
Thanks, Geraldine! You’re right, it is so exciting to find out that a new recipe is easy to make. This will definitely be one of my new staples!
Katie @ Whole Nourishment says
Yes, please! I love tagines – Moroccan cuisine in general inspires my cooking often. I like the cauliflower in yours – the recipe I shared a while back has sweet potatoes but I think I’ll add cauliflower next time. 🙂
I’ve been on a huge cauliflower kick lately–I feel like I’m adding it to everything! Sweet potatoes sound delicious, too. I will have to check out your version!