This easy, comforting Moroccan vegetarian tagine recipe is perfect as a quick weeknight or weekend lunch or dinner entree. The dish is incredibly versatile and goes great paired with quinoa or couscous and can be topped with a whole range of herbs, seeds, and dried fruits (California Mission Dried Figs are a must in this dish). My personal favorite way to enjoy this vegetarian tagine is with plant-based yogurt pomegranate seeds, parsley, and pumpkin seeds on top. You can easily substitute the sweet potatoes for Russet potatoes for a delicious meal. The dish is best served hot and keeps well for several days in a sealed container.
If the Northern African blend of chiles and spices, harissa, is new for you, it comes often in two forms: powdered and as a paste. You can easily make a paste from the powdered spice by whisking it with a bit of oil and water. The recipe below calls for the powder, available in most grocery stores or at your favorite spice shop online or in town.
Vegetarian Tagine with Quinoa
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- Dash sea salt
- 1 teaspoon harissa spice blend
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or broth of your choice)
- 1 1/2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 heaping cup chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission Figs
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- Handful fresh parsley leaves
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium for 1-2 minutes. Add onions, increase heat to medium, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add garlic and the rest of the chopped veggies. Season with salt and spices. Toss to combine. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring regularly.
Add broth, tomatoes, and California Figs and season with a dash of sea salt.
Keep the heat on medium-high and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir in chickpeas and cook another 5 minutes on low heat. Stir in lemon juice and fresh parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or harissa spice blend to your liking.
Transfer to serving bowls with a large scoop of quinoa and top with the suggested items from pumpkin seeds to fresh parsley according to your liking. Get creative and have fun!
Recipes and photos by Carolyn Vinnicombe