Moroccan Vegetable Tagine
Your Meat–free, Dairy–free, Gluten–free Solution to Dinner
Whenever my husband and I solidify dinner plans with friends, we always make sure to ask the all important question:
"Any food aversions?"
Since everyone knows that meat and fish are void from our dinner table, we usually don't get much feedback beyond something like, "I'm not a fan of spicy foods," or "I can't stand black olives." Nothing too challenging. Yet, this weekend we're entertaining an old friend, and I just learned that his girlfriend cannot consume wheat or lactose. Menu plans for super–cheesy, breadcrumb–covered Eggplant Rollatini went out the window. My new favorite homemade Parmesan dressing was also a no–go. So, now the question became: how do I "WOW" my buddies with a stellar dish that's meat, dairy, and wheat free?
Happily, I realized I'm able to turn to one of my most favorite recipes, a Moroccan dish called Vegetable Tagine. What I love most about this dish is how simple it is to make, yet how complex the flavors are. Earthy cinnamon, sweet apricots, and tangy lemon – all in one dish? You betcha.
Rice & Spice - The cookbook we have to thank for this delectable delight.
I would say that about 96% of my hard-copy cookbooks have come from my mum. And, 96% of those cookbooks are total winners. I attribute it to the fact that she's SO anti-internet, she doesn't do her shopping based on what other people are saying. She gifts me with things she's scoured the planet to find, and always with me fully in mind. Rice & Spice is certainly a golden needle in the haystack of cookbooks out there.
This book is choc full of one-dish dinners, all featuring rice, all inspired by a wide array of world cuisines. The Moroccan dish is by far my favorite, but it features some creamy risottos and spicy stews that are definitely worth checking out. All recipes are vegetarian.
A Little Background on Tagine:
Vegetable Tagine gets its name from the pot in which it is traditionally cooked. Often ceramic, the tagine is a wide dish with a cone-shaped lid and a little, knobby handle at the top. Because of the handle, the lid can be lifted off without an oven mitt, allowing the chef to peek in on the progress sans hand-protection.
Similar to the modern-day crockpot, the tagine's main purpose is to slowly simmer food, enhancing flavor and creating that ever-so-creamy, signature texture of a dish that's cooked all day. In addition to its Moroccan roots, the tagine is also used in North African and Tunisian cooking.
So, if you're interested in being authentic...
- 1 cup of jasmine rice (or rice of your choice)
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 large onion - chopped
- 1 carrot - chopped
- 1 zucchini - diced
- 2 garlic cloves - minced
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. turmeric
- 1/4 t. cayenne
- 1 (14.5oz) can of diced tomatoes - liquid included
- 2 c. veggie stock
- salt to taste (use none if veggie stock is salted)
- 1/2 c. dried apricots - soaked and chopped
- 1/4 c. raisins (I use currants when possible)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 (14.5oz) can of chickpeas - rinsed and drained
- cilantro to taste - chopped (recipe calls for 2T. )
- Heat the oil in large saucepan until hot.
- Add onion and carrot and cook over medium heat until softened (about 5 min).
- Add zucchini, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, tomatoes, stock, and salt (potentially omitting salt if stock already includes it).
- Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak apricots in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and chop.
- Add apricots, raisins/currants, lemon zest and chickpeas to the veggie mixture and cook for another 5 minutes, or until hot and flavors are blended.
- Stir in cilantro and serve over rice.
Ingredients one might find in an authentic Moroccan Tagine:
olives, quinces, apples, pears, apricots, raisins, prunes, dates, nuts, lemons, honey, cinnamon, saffron, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper, or a special blend of spices known as ras el hanout.
We've made this dish for countless dinner guests, and it gets rave reviews from veg-heads and carnivores alike. I can't tell you how many times we've been asked to pass on the recipe. It's also a fun to play the game "name that flavor" during dinner, and watch your friends struggle to identify everything they're tasting.
What special entree do you make when company comes for dinner?