One of my favourite family meals, a soft and juicy, beautifully spiced vegetable tagine. This is the ultimate plant-based dish – packed full of vege, fresh herbs and fragrant spices.
As we’re heading into festive season now, I thought it fitting to start sharing some star dishes big enough to feed the fam on those lazy summer days (not that we’re revelling in sunshine down here in NZ!).
Possibly one of my favourite family meals is a soft, juicy and beautifully spiced tagine. If you’re not familiar with a tagine – it is simply a dish named after the Moroccan clay or ceramic vessel in which it is slow-cooked, a bit like a stew. The conical shape of the vessel allows condensation to build and steam to rise and circulate – a super healthy way of cooking your food.
Although you can cook this dish in a regular pan with a lid, I highly recommend investing in a ceramic tagine as it just seems to turn out that much nicer. The tagine can be cooked stovetop if you have a gas cooktop, or in the oven – my method of choice since we have electric hobs.
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The beauty of this dish is that it feels incredibly substantial on its own. Think soft and thick cut vegetables, chickpeas, sweet sultanas, umami olives, fresh herbs and fragrant spices. The ultimate plant-based meal – something everyone will enjoy no matter their dietary preferences!
How to make this Chickpea Vegetable Tagine
So how to make this epic dish? Break it down into two easy steps – first you want to prepare a rich and hearty tomato based sauce, stove top. A generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped shallots, loads of fresh ginger and garlic, a mixture of spices, chopped tomatoes, harissa paste and a squeeze of lemon.
The harissa paste is unreal: charred capsicum, red chilli, lemon, olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and spices. It’s a North African condiment that can be folded through hummus, roasted vegetables, pasta, or even spread over a sandwich. So delicious. I don’t bother to make this myself, there are plenty of yummy store-bought harissa pastes to be enjoyed.
If you can’t find harissa paste, I suggest adding some finely chopped red chilli at the very least.
Then, while the sauce bubbles away, you simply wash and chop (the chunkier the better) a myriad of fresh seasonal vegetables, then add them to the tagine with a can of chickpeas, a lemon cut into wedges, a good handful of sweet sultanas (or dried apricots, dates, prunes), and some olives for good measure.
Pour the sauce over the tagine, place the lid on top, then let it slow-cook for an hour in the oven. Too easy.
Serve this recipe with a bowl of organic quinoa cooked in vegetable broth with fresh herbs mixed throughout, or this insanely delicious Saffron Rice, then add a simple chopped cucumber salad, and a dollop of coconut yoghurt. If you really want to take it next level - then might I suggest this Moroccan-inspired Preserved Lemons Recipe!
- Olive oil is rich in anti-inflammatory phenolic compounds
- Packed full of seasonal vegetables – we need to be aiming for 8 (or more) serves of vegetables a day (and two of fruit) as this is optimal when it comes to preventing disease and all-cause mortality (I know – it’s a lot right?! See this meta-analysis for more)
- Chickpeas provide plant-protein and prebiotic fibre (gut for the gut!)
- The lycopene in the tomato sauce is a potent antioxidant and particularly protective of the prostate
- Warming spices promote both digestion and circulation
f you make and enjoy this recipe, please leave a rating below. And better yet – leave me a comment to tell me how you got on, or just say hi – I LOVE hearing from you. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest to see more of my everyday recipes and wellness tips.
Chickpea Vegetable Tagine
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot minced
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and minced
- 3 teaspoons cumin powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 3 heaped tablespoons harissa paste
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey or sweetener of choice
- juice of half a lemon
- 1x 400g tin chickpeas
- 2-3 heaped cups cauliflower large florets are best
- ½ -1 large sweet potato large chunks
- 10 baby carrots sliced in half
- 6 baby peppers or 1 large red capsicum
- handful of green beans
- 1/3 cup sultanas
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- handful of olives though I forgot to add these!
- Heat oil in a pan (low-medium heat), fry the shallots till golden, add garlic and ginger, cook a few minutes, then add spices and cook till fragrant.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, honey and lemon. Let the sauce reduce down for about 10 minutes.
- Add all ingredients to the tagine and toss to combine. Pour the sauce over the top once it is ready, and if needed, ½ cup water – you want all ingredients coated with sauce but it doesn’t have to be swimming in it – the steam the tagine creates will cook without needing too much liquid.
- Place lid over tagine and cook in an oven for 1 hour at 180˚C (356˚F).
- Serve with almonds and fresh herbs over the top (coriander, mint), fluffy quinoa, coconut yoghurt, and a simple cucumber salad.
- Do not be put off by the number of spices! If you want to keep it simple - cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I'm a bit of a spice fiend, so the more the merrier 🙂
- This recipe is AMAZEBALLS with preserved lemons
- Nutrition panel is an estimate only.