Ahh, vegetables simmered slowly in a rich spicy tomato broth. What’s not to love about tagine cooking? If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit the lovely country of Morocco (check out my plant-based travel experience in Morocco here), you probably fell head over heels in love with the classic tagine dishes of this beautiful food culture. While many tagine recipes include meats, you can always find vegetable tagines, too. They typically include sliced eggplant, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, and onions cooked in a Morrocan-spiced tomato broth. The tagine is cooked slowly over an open flame, and the flavors develop along with the cooking time. That tagine broth is prized to serve by the ladleful over couscous or with the delicious wheat breads baked in Morocco. When I visited North Africa, I had vegetable tagine almost every day! And this Moroccan tagine recipe I created in my own kitchen pays homage to those beautiful dishes I savored during my trip.
What is a tagine? Well, a tagine is both a cooking vessel, which has been commonly used in North Africa for centuries, as well as a traditional slow-simmered, stew-like recipe. The tagine is made out of clay or ceramics. It features a shallow round dish, with a cone-shaped lid. When in Morocco you realize that this dish is the main cookware; it is used to cook many recipes and you’ll find it regularly bubbling away in restaurants, homes, shops, and beyond. You can buy tagine cookware in many online markets or cooking shops. Keep in mind that tagines can cook food right over the stovetop flame, however you can use a heat diffuser to help protect your cookware. Read the manufacturer’s directions to prepare your new tagine for cooking, as well as learning how to cook with it on the flame.
While I thoroughly enjoy global foods, such as Moroccan dishes, and have spent some time studying this food culture, I am in no way a true expert. Check out the work of Nargisse Benkabbou, a food blogger who shares her passion for making Moroccan dishes by developing recipes that are simple and balanced. She is also an expert in Moroccan cuisine, given she was born in Morocco. You can check out Natgisse’s workhere, and follow herhere.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, which gives you a touch of North African spirit in your own home. Make sure to serve it right out of the tagine (open the lid right before serving for an aroma explosion) with couscous and good wheat bread. This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, however, if you serve it with couscous or wheat bread, keep in mind those both contain gluten.
1 small eggplant, sliced in thin vertical strips (Japanese eggplants are the perfect size)
Place a tagine on low heat (or on a heat diffuser, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions).
Place olive oil in the bottom of the tagine and heat.
Add garlic and ginger and cook for 4 minutes, while stirring.
Add cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, and salt (if using) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add vegetable broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and harissa paste and stir well, cooking until it comes to a simmer (about 3 minutes).
Place onion slices in the center of the tagine, laying them flat and leaving plenty of room around the perimeter of the tagine.
Pile the chickpeas on top of the onions.
Assemble the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant (they should be sliced into thin vertical strips) and stack them in a cone shape along the edge of the onions, leaving at least 1-inch perimeter around the edge of the tagine. Start with the smallest slices of vegetables, finishing with the longest slices of vegetables, creating a stacked cone-shape arrangement of vegetables in the tagine.
Take a spoon and drizzle the tomato sauce mixture over the top of the vegetables, without disturbing the stack.
Place the tagine lid on top of the vegetable mixture and let cook (do not disturb while it is cooking) over low for 1 hour 15 minutes. Open the lid and check if the vegetables are tender. If they need additional cooking, place the lid back on and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove lid and serve the tagine out of the dish with cooked couscous and/or wheat bread on the side.
Makes 8 servings (about 1 cup each).
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour 30 minutes
Keywords: tagine, tagine recipes, vegetable tagine, moroccan tagine, what is tagine
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