Deep vegan flavor with subtle spicing
Tagines (aka tajines) are at the heart of Moroccan cooking. And when the weather turns chilly, these stew-like dishes satisfy.
This version is vegan, with sweet potatoes and cauliflower. It’s simmered in a tomato sauce that’s fragrant with cinnamon, cumin, and ground ginger.
Roast-veggie tagine is so succulent that meat eaters won’t complain. And you can make this dish ahead of time (in fact, it tastes better if prepared the day before you plan to serve it).
So get ready to Moroccan roll.
Recipe: Moroccan Roast Vegetable Tagine
OK, maybe we should call this Moroccan-style tagine, because the preparation isn’t strictly traditional. For a traditional tagine, you need to cook all the ingredients together for hours.
For our recipe, you prepare the tagine base (a richly spiced tomato and chickpea stew), then add vegetables that have been roasted separately. Because roasting intensifies the flavor of vegetables, this results in a much tastier dish. So, although the preparation isn’t traditional, the flavor sure is.
We use a couple of Roast Sweet Potatoes and a small or medium head of Roast Cauliflower that we’ve prepared ahead of time. But you can use almost any vegetables you fancy. And exact quantities are not critical.
The base for this dish is a spicy tomato sauce that contains onions and jalapeño peppers. Chickpeas add protein and extra flavor. We finish the dish with some quickly cooked green beans (peas would work too).
This is recipe is intended to be a main-course dish (and it’s really a complete meal). But if you want a bit more, just add some crusty bread and a salad.
Prep time for this dish is about half an hour. Roasting the veggies takes 30 to 45 minutes (depending on how hot you set the oven). Preparing the sauce and finishing the dish takes about 45 minutes.
This recipe yields about 8 main-course servings. Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
For the roast vegetables:
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 small or medium head of cauliflower
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste (maybe 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, total; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (maybe ¼ teaspoon)
- cayenne pepper to taste (optional; ¼ to ½ teaspoon)
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or other oil of choice)
- salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- water (about 3 cups; see Step 5)
- ~12 ounces green beans
- juice of 1 lemon
- parsley or cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Roast the sweet potatoes and cauliflower according to the recipes linked in the headnote. Basically, all roast veggies are prepared the same way: Wash and peel the vegetables if necessary, then cut them into appropriately sized serving pieces. Toss the veggies with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Scatter the vegetables on a baking sheet (cleanup is easier if you line the sheet first with aluminum foil). Roast the veggies in a pre-heated oven at a fairly high heat (350 to 500 degrees F). After the veggies have roasted for 20 minutes, turn them over, season with cayenne pepper if desired, and continue roasting until done (timing depends on how hot your oven is and what particular veggie you’re using; typical total roasting time is 30 to 45 minutes). Remove the roasted veggies from the oven and set them aside until ready to use. We generally roast vegetables a day ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator.
- Start the tomato base for the tagine: Peel the onions and cut them into ½-inch dice. Peel the garlic and cut it into thin slices or mince it finely. Wash and dry the jalapeño peppers (if using), then cut off their stem ends. Cut a few slices of pepper and set them aside for garnish, if desired. Slice the remaining peppers in half lengthwise. With a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers into fine dice (careful, the jalapeño oil is hot, so keep fingers away from your eyes). Set aside. Now wash your hands with soap and water to remove the spicy oil.
- Place a wide-based Dutch oven (one that holds at least 5 quarts) on medium stovetop heat. When hot, add the olive oil. When heated (it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onions. Season with salt to taste. Sauté for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic and jalapeño and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste to the onion mixture and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the paprika, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne to the onion mixture. Add the can of diced tomatoes. Open the cans of chickpeas, then drain them and rinse off the gunk they’re stored in. Add the chickpeas to the cooking pot. Add enough water to make a thick sauce – usually 2 to 4 cups.
- Cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the green beans and snap off the stem ends if necessary.
- After the tomato sauce has cooked for 20 minutes, add the roast vegetables and the green beans to the cooking pot. Stir to combine. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Squeeze a lemon, add its juice to the tagine, and stir in.
- Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve. We like to garnish each serving with sliced jalapeño peppers and/or chopped parsley or cilantro.
- Instead of adding the green beans in Step 7, we sometimes steam them separately, then add them to the tagine 5 minutes before serving. That way, the green beans retain their bright color.
- Alternatively, you could roast the green beans and add them with the other roast veggies (they have wonderful flavor when roasted).
- For this dish, you can use just about any roast vegetable that sounds good to you. Summer or winter squash would be awesome. Roasted bell peppers would be good. Or maybe roast eggplant. If you want a “meatier” flavor, try adding some portobello mushrooms.
- You could also skip roasting the veggies and make this tagine the traditional way. If you want to go that route, here’s how: Wash the veggies and cut them up. Add them to the tomato sauce when you add the chickpeas (Step 5), then cook until the vegetables are tender.
- We serve this dish “neat,” as Moroccan cooks do (they typically serve it with bread to scoop up the tagine – the bread serves as silverware). But you could also serve this dish over couscous, polenta, rice, or noodles.
- We like the hint of acid that lemon juice delivers in this dish. You could substitute vinegar if you prefer.
- Or skip the acid entirely. But remember that a touch of acid makes the dish taste “brighter” and sharpens the flavor, much as salt does.
- Speaking of salt, we use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the flakes are larger and coarser, so it packs a measure less tightly). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- Programming Note: We’re taking several weeks off for vacation. So we won’t be posting (or visiting other blogs) for a while. We’ll be back on the last Wednesday of November with a new recipe. Happy Halloween and Thanksgiving, everyone!
Ship of Fools
“Love this dish,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Loads of flavor, and fun to serve to company.”
“Yup,” I said. “Good thing this recipe makes a lot. Our readers will be able to live off the leftovers while we take some down time.”
“And what down time it is,” said Mrs K R. “We’ll be cruising from Hawaii to Tahiti. With a visit to Bora Bora.”
“Always wanted to see it,” I said. “And now we will.”
“Loads of good food onboard ship,” said Mrs K R. “Wine and cocktails too. We might discover some new Tiki drinks.”
“And maybe get some new ideas for a pupu platter while we’re in Hawaii,” I said.
“Research at its finest,” said Mrs K R. “In paradise!”
In our case, make that Fool’s Paradise.
See you in late November!
You may also enjoy reading about:
Moroccan Beef Tagine
Moroccan Kefta and Tomato Tagine
Roast Sweet Potatoes
Couscous with Dried Fruit
Pumpkin Ravioli with Herbal Butter Sauce
Mushroom and White Bean Ragout
Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta
Or check out the index for more
Moroccan food fascinates me. Your recipe sounds like a very good adaptation of the traditional flavors. A shortcut could be using the spice blend ras al hanout, which offers a similar selection of spices.
I've been trying a few recipes and even bought a tagine (that is, the ceramic dish with a conical top) -- but it broke within 5 minutes of first use, so I just cook in my ordinary dishes.
Have a great trip!
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, tagines (the pots) can't cope with high heat. They look gorgeous and I've cooked with them, but don't have one now. And won't get one -- a Dutch oven works much better in Western kitchens. Ras al hanout would work in this too, although you'd also want to add more paprika. Thanks for the comment.
I love the sound of this tagine! And "Moroccan roll" made me giggle :) Have an absolutely fabulous trip--it sounds l like a dream!
Hi Kelsie, "Moroccan roll" was Mrs KR's line. :-) This is a great dish -- truly worth having. As is the trip we'll be taking in a bit. :-) Thanks for the comment.
So many great flavors! It looks terrific.
I love a good Tagine, more than a couscous. I have a real clay one and the taste it gives is amazing, but more work. i'll hav eto try your way, roasting is so delicious.
Hi Pam, it IS terrific! Really a good dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Evelyne, couscous can get a little tedious, or maybe I should say bland. Depends on how it's cooked, of course! We've never had a tagine that we didn't really enjoy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I don't make moroccan food enough. I love the use of vegetables and spices.
Hi Laura, Moroccan food is wonderfully spiced! Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a fantastic dish! And more so a fantastic cruise. We have always loved Hawaii and Tahiti was gorgeous. Enjoy and we'll be awaiting hearing about your great adventure!
Hi Abbe, we haven't been to Tahiti, so we're excited. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Have fun in Hawaii!!! We might be like two passing ships in the night... If I see a guy in a grass skirt and coconuts at the luau, hanging around the buffet table, we will be sure to say hello. This is one fabulous full on flavor and texture dish. Just adore when cauliflower gets toasty like this. Take Care and have fun!
Oh wow - look at all that gorgeous color! Have a fantastic trip and take lots of photos ;)
Hi Bobbi, that would be me! With a tiki drink in hand. :D Thanks for the comment.
Hi Tricia, both the color and flavor of this are gorgeous. :-) Thanks for the comment.
THIS IS 100000% MY DISH! HOLY HECK!!! It's totally GiGi Approved and sounds AMAZING!! I must make this ASAP!
Hi GiGi, this is GOOD STUFF! The sweet potatoes are wonderful in it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Moroccan dishes are absolutely beautiful in flavor and appearance. Thanks for this one, pinning to my "tagine" board.
Hi Lea Ann, isn't Moroccan food so nice? Love its flavor! Thanks for the comment.
A dish with the promise of a lot of flavour and an interesting adaptation of the usual. I guess some of us have to be called 'traditional' or 'stick-in-the-mud' perchance . . . having cooked Moroccan, Tunisian et al for some three decades I must admit I do so love my tagines - just taking one off the shelves gives a festive feel and a promise . . . a simple diffuser takes away any worry of over-heating. Have a great trip: Bora Bora is by far my favourite on that journey . . .
Oh John, this vegetable tangine looks fabulous with all the spices, somehow I never used cinnamon in my cooking only baking...thanks for the inspiration. Enjoy your vacation!
Hi Eha, you're right about the diffuser -- that makes a tagine usable even on an electric stove. Although I've come to really like using cast-iron Dutch oven when it comes to cooking tagines. Now beans, they need clay! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Juliana, cinnamon is wonderful in savory dishes! It's much used in Moroccan dishes, particularly meat dishes. Works in a western beef pot pie, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John and Mrs KR please have a wonderful time on your holiday. I hope you do share some exciting photographs and food or cocktails idea from your time on board. Thank you for another amazingly colourful and delicious dish which I noticed you have managed to smuggle jalapeno into and have a wonderful holiday. P S I made your tomato, cannellini and escarole soup on Sunday it was beautiful 8)
Have a wonderful trip. Sounds fab. I love the sound of this tagine with the roasted veg and delicious spices. Yum. Bon voyage
Hi Merryn, we smuggle jalapeno into everything! :-) Glad you liked the soup, and thanks for the holiday wishes and for taking time to comment.
Hi Sherry, we're excited about the trip! And this tagine is wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is the kind of recipe that turns a meat eater into a vegetarian! All the flavors! So good
Hi Dahn, this is LOADED with flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
So many wonderful flavours in this beautiful and delicious veggie tagine! I would devour the whole dish in no time!
Cruising in from Hawaii to Tahiti? I'm certainly envious and hope you introduce us to some exotic cocktails when you get back! I've been wanting to cut down on eating meat recently- your dish looks like it could be a winner for me!
What a wonderful way to eat lots of vegetables,so healthy, so colorful and so Moroccan. Ticks all the boxes. Have a great holiday and come back inspired.
This sounds great, hearty and filling. I bet the roasted veg give it a great flavour.
Hi Angie, this is a good dish for seconds. Or thirds. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Fran, you'll NOT miss the meat in this dish! Loaded with flavor. And we're looking forward to discovering a new cocktail or recipe or three. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pauline, isn't this great? TONS of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Caroline, roasted veggies are terrific, aren't they? And they're dynamite in this dish! Thanks for the comment.
Love Moroccan inspired dishes, it is so hard to make a real tagine here but this does not mean that we enjoy all the richness and flavors in Moroccan cuisine. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.
Hi Amira, Moroccan flavors really are lovely, aren't they? Dishes like this are SO satisfying. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'm very much liking the idea of this hearty fall stew. So much flavor and no heavy meat needed!
Hi Deb, meat would definitely be redundant in this dish. Such nice flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Had another senior moment as I thought I'd commented on your fine looking tagine. The tagine looks very tasty with a hint of heat. You guys have a wonderful and safe adventure. I'll look forward to hearing of all the different cocktails you experienced.
My head almost exploded when I read the list of seasoning! That's a good thing! Love this dish. I just want to make the tomato sauce!
Hi Ron, I have those senior moments all too often! :-) This is a wonderful dish -- really flavorful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mimi, the tomato sauce is sensational, and you can adapt it to all sorts of things. In fact the tomato sauce is really the recipe here -- the veggies are just add-ons. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Tagines are so aromatic, I love them, great recipe☺
Hi Natalia, the fragrance of this is enticing! :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a hearty vegan dish. I love Moroccan cooking -- especially the use of so many wonderful rich spices. Cinnamon has become a favorite of mine for adding to stews.
And Hawaii & Tahiti! Lucky you! It will be a stunningly beautiful trip, I'm sure. I went to Bora Bora and Morea as a kid, and then my husband and I honeymooned on the island of Huahini, where I had the best ahi tartare of my life. :-) Can't wait to see what's inspired your cooking when you return.
Hi Valentina, we'll be going to Moorea, too (as well as a few other islands). Anyway, cinnamon is such a wonderful savory ingredient. As well as in sweets, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Moroccan has always been a ethnic food that I either go out to get or hope someone cooks it for me. :) I love it, but just never made it at home. After going through your recipe I can see why it worth it though. All those flavor simmer together in a tagine sounds wonderful. You've made a vegetarian dish sound and look very meaty and tasty. Great dish John!
Hi MJ, if you like spices -- and I know you do! -- Moroccan food is fun to cook. You get to use a lot of spice combinations that you don't otherwise get to enjoy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is everything I want in a fall meal! Love this for a chilly day.
I really enjoy Moroccan spices and this dish looks superb!
Hi Lisa, it's a wonderful dish! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amy, it IS superb! :D Thanks for the comment.
This is a perfect dish for this time of year, with the chilly evenings drawing in. Love everything about it.
Hi Emma, this really is real comfort food, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
Wow! What a dream trip!!! And a lovely veggie side dish, too---I just want to pluck out those cauliflower off the plate. YUM!
Great recurring, John - I love that you roasted the veggies separately. Moroccan food has been a favorite of mine since I went to Morocco in 1991. It is an amazing place with incredibly culinary treasures.
Speaking of culinary treasures, have a wonderful trip. I look forward to those treasures you bring back, whether in a glass or on a plate,a Bon voyage!
Hi Liz, roast cauliflower are SO GOOD! Our favorite roast veggie. Well, after potatoes. :-) And we're really looking forward to our trip! Thanks for the comment.
Hi David, I actually lived in Morocco in 1973, 74, and instantly fell in love with Moroccan cuisine. The spices are incredible! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love Moroccan anything. It's those earthy, pungent flavors and smells that just snag me and don't let go.
Hi Carolyn, Moroccan chow definitely snags one! Good description. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks gorgeous! Great idea to roast the veggies first to get that color. I see tagines for sale all the time and really would like one, but where to put it? A dutch oven gets it done, doesn't it? Enjoy your vacation!
Hi Lydia tagines (the pot) are really pretty, but kind of a specialty item. So I just make due with a Dutch oven. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have to congratulate you on "Morocccan roll." Quite nice. Have a happy vacation!
Your tagine looks delicious, a perfect dish for the cooling weather. We are trying not to eat meat everyday so this is just the sort of recipe I like.
Hi Jeff, :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amalia, we do love meat, but vegetarian (vegan, in this case) can be wonderful. So many fun flavors to play with! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your tagine looks very tasty! I've never had it but would like to give it a try, the colors are pretty too! Have a great vacation, looking forward to your return and future posts.
Hi Pam, colors on these are great, aren't they? So is the flavor! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This vegan tangine look so healthy and sound so flavorful, John! I have serious love for the spices in this one!!
Hi Marcelle, the flavor is strong in this one. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This tagine sound like it has wonderful flavor. Sounds delicious.
Hi Dawn, it's a terrific dish! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your vacay sounds incredible - have a blast! And I really need to get on the tagine bandwagon. Never had it and your version looks delish!
Hi Laura, it's a fun time. :-) Thanks for the comment.
A hearty meal to start you on a South Pacific journey. Have fun and fill us in on the details when you return. GREG
Hi Greg, we're sailing the high seas at this moment--a day from Hawaii, 3 days until we reach Nuku Hiva (the island where Melville jumped ship, and later used as the inspiration for his first novel, _Typee_. Thanks for the comment.
This looks wonderful John and so flavorful. I’ve had a tagine that I keep saying I need to cook with. Now you’ve inspired me. Have a wonderful vacation and will look forward to your new recipe when you return. Happy Holidays!!!
I have a Tagine we bought in Santa Fe at The Spanish Table that I think I've used once. Breaking it out to give this a try. Happy trails!
Hi Vicki, LOVE the shape of tagines! So pretty. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, now you can use it a second time. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This tagine looks so delicious! I love the subtle and complex flavors in it. Can't wait to try it!
Hi Kelly, it's a wonderful dish! We love flavors like this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
ILOVE Moroccan flavors. Such a perfect fall and winter vegetable dish! :)
Hi Anne, isn't this nifty? SUCH good flavors! Thanks for the comment.
That is one colourful vegetable dish that I would actually eat. Great recipe!
Hi Raymund, you won't miss meat in this dish -- loaded with flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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