Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine (with vegan options)

I had been craving a vegetarian Moroccan Tagine for weeks before I got it together enough to buy the ingredients I needed to make it. You see, it’s been lurking in the back of my mind since I made preserved lemons. One of the most common uses for preserved lemons is in Moroccan cuisine.

I had originally wanted to just follow a recipe I found on Epicurous, but I ended up changing most of the veggies and some of the spices so now it really doesn’t look like much like the recipe that inspired our dinner. Surprise, surprise, I couldn’t follow a recipe.

Some of the changes ended up being mandatory to fix the taste. The original was really not worth writing about or sharing. (I am not adding a link to the original because I don’t want to offend the original author. I hope you all can understand.) For me this was more a lesson in how to fix a mediocre recipe than finding that perfect veggie packed tagine recipe. Now lucky for me and my guests, it turned out great in the end and we enjoyed it for days with all the yummy leftovers. If I could teach one thing it would be the skill of fixing mediocre recipes into fabulous creations. If this is something you’d be interested in learning, let me know.

We all get excited about a recipe we’d like to make, only to be disappointed with the results. It happens to all of us. Now there’s not much one can do about baking except make it over again with the appropriate changes, but stews and soups are a whole different story. Additions can be made at the end and often can take a meal to new heights. I am so glad I had used less preserved lemon than suggested and less brined olives. I don’t know if it would have been fixable otherwise. In this case, it was a matter of adding honey and cinnamon to balance out the briny-ness, and yogurt to balance out the salt.

And then the flavor heavens opened up. AAAHHHHH! and the angels sang.

It was a beautiful thing.

Vegetable goodness in a bowl

Vegetable Moroccan Tagine

  • 3  cups of quartered tomatoes
  • 1 tsp each coriander seeds and cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil or oil of choice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 5 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste (homemade is a great option)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 eggplant, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 zucchini, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup diced brined olives
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 quarters of preserved lemon, pulp included
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup full fat yogurt (or coconut cream for a vegan option)

Set the oven to 350 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place quartered tomatoes on the baking tray. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until they start to shrivel and dry out. About 45 minutes. This step is not optional. I have tried it with regular unroasted tomatoes and was very disappointed with the flavor in comparison to the original recipe.

In a small pan over medium low heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds, about 2 minutes. Grind the spices using a spice grinder, mortar and pestal or a clean coffee grinder. Add the chilies, turmeric and cinnamon to the ground seeds and set aside.

In a large heavy bottomed pot (you could also use a crock pot to make this) with a tight fitting lid, heat 3 tbsp of oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cumin, coriander spice mixture and the tomato paste. Stir until well combined. Add the water, oven roasted tomatoes, diced eggplant, zucchini, diced olives and honey to the pot. Brush off any excess salt from the rind and pulp. Finely chop the preserved lemon, including the pulp. Add the chopped lemon to the stew and bring the stew to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Add the cilantro, mint, yogurt and chickpeas to the pot. Heat until chickpeas are warmed through.

Serve hot in bowls on a bed of couscous, quinoa or bulgur. We chose to serve this with Curried Fig Butter Biscuit Rolls.

I’m sharing this with Monday Mania, Real Food 101, Mangia Mondays, Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, A Little Birdie Told Me, Fat Tuesdays, Traditional Tuesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays and My Meatless Mondays.

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26 Responses to Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine (with vegan options)

  1. Joanne January 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I crave moroccan flavors…pretty much daily. And it seems like you hit them all spot on with this dish!

    • France Morissette January 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      Thanks, Joanne. I’ll definitely be making this dish again!

  2. Marillyn@just-making-noise January 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Oh yes! I will have to try this. We have a Moroccan Beef Stew that I like to make once in a while. I’ve never really explored alot with moroccan food… I should. So much flavor!!

  3. Koko January 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Lovely Moroccan dish! I love how a completely different style of cuisine can be so unique and so tasty and flavourful- yet still healthy!

    • France Morissette January 25, 2012 at 12:14 am #

      I could eat Moroccan flavors anytime Koko. I never get sick of them.

  4. Tina January 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    I love this dish so much, thank you France! I love vegetarian dishes where there is so much going on that you just don’t miss the meat. You have done it again :)

    • France Morissette January 25, 2012 at 12:13 am #

      We’re happy to have you over for dinner anytime!

  5. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles January 24, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    “The flavours opened up and the angels sang…” love it!! I have no trouble imagining the outstanding taste and flavours of this delightful tangine France and I also have to say how adorable I think it is that you’ve been craving Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine for weeks (I’m just not sure how many people could say that :) but with you, I believe it!).

    • France Morissette January 25, 2012 at 12:13 am #

      Hi Kelly, I guess it could be considered odd to crave veggie tagine for weeks…I guess I never thought of that before. There I go putting all my strangeness out into the blogosphere! Good thing I’m not shy.

  6. Mary January 24, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    I love Turkish and Moroccan food and this sounds truly wonderful. I’ll try it this weekend. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  7. Nancy@http://glutenfreetravels.blogspot.com January 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    This sounds absolutely incredible. Will definitely be on my menu for the coming week. Thanks

    • France Morissette January 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      Thanks Nancy! Enjoy!

  8. Jeanette January 31, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    I love how you played around with the recipe so it worked and provided a delicious meal for you and your guests. I haven’t made Moroccan Tagine before but I do love all the spices in this dish.

  9. Jenn/Rook No. 17 February 2, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Sounds like your chef’s intuition and well honed culinary skills played a significant role in striking the right balance of flavors in this exceptional dish! Thank you so much for sharing your talent on “A Little Birdie Told Me…” at Rook No. 17, France!

    Jenn

    • France Morissette February 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Hi Jenn, Thanks, I love seeing all the great things that show up on your blog. If anyone loves crafts, head over to Rook no 17. There’s so many great ideas!
      http://www.rookno17.com/

  10. Michelle T. March 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    This looks delicious…how many servings does it make? Thank you!

    • beyondthepeel March 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

      Well it depends on how much you eat or who you are feeding. For example, that dish would feed me for 4 meals as I only eat one thigh at a time. However, men will usually eat 2 thighs and some big guys even eat 3. Hope that helps.

      • Michelle T. March 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

        Which vegetable are you eating the thigh of?? ;) lol

        I was thinking it looked like it made about 4 servings…I’m definitely going to try it one of these Meatless Mondays!! :)

        Thank you so much for your reply!!

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