If you are like us and travel for food, then the flavours of Morocco very likely already enchanted you with an aromatic vegetable tagine. Flavoursome and rich in textures, a delicious vegetable tagine hits all the right spots. It first tempts you with the sharp smells of spice which play with you on a whole spectrum: from the herby coriander, through the sharp turmeric, to the sweet nuances of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Already drawn in by all these appetising aromas, the first bite awakes an amalgam of emotions. The tender bite of the roasted vegetables give way to the creamy lentils covered in a rich tomato sauce which baths in an array of flavours ranging from earthy to sweet. Finally, you get delicate apricots notes which inevitably leave you wanting yet another bite of vegetable tagine.
What is vegetable tagine
A tagine or tajine is a type of dish named after the earthware pot in which it is cooked. The earliest reference we have to cooking in a tagine pot appears in One Thousand and One Nights. What makes this dish especially interesting is the addition of dried fruit like dates, apricots or plums which elevate the savoury vegetables, resulting in an aromatic stew with many taste profiles.
Tagine dishes vary from area to area and most of them include the use of meat. However, you can also find vegetable tagine in some restaurants in Morocco which usually include eggplant (aubergine), carrots and peppers. You can replace the meat with beans or lentils for added texture and protein.
Tagines are often served with fresh bread on the side, however, you can also serve them on top of couscous.
How to make vegetable tagine
This vegetable tagine recipe calls for a normal saucepan and not a tagine dish as we appreciate not everyone happens to have one in their home. If however, you wish to make vegetable tagine in a tagine pot, we explain below how to do it differently.
To make vegetable tagine get a handful of vegetables you like the most. We used eggplant, courgette, red pepper, carrot and onion. You can also add potatoes, sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200°C. Put the courgette, pepper, eggplant and carrot (and/or any other vegetables you wish to use) in a large roasting tin. Add 2 tbsp oil, season and toss together. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan (or tagine pot) over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry for about 5-8 minutes until translucent and sticky. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all the spices and cook for another minute until everything becomes fragrant.
Saucepan: Add the tomato sauce and the lemon juice. Add 300 ml boiling water, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Make sure to stir occasionally so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Tagine pot: If you are using a tagine pot, add only 100 ml boiling water, cover the pot with the tagine cone and simmer for 25 minutes.
Add the roasted vegetables, lentils and dried apricots to the sauce. Cover and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve the vegetable tagine over couscous or on its own and garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves, almonds and half a slice of lemon.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.