Moroccan food is to die for. I love it for its complex mix of earthy and spicy flavours. And as for vegetarian (note: this dish is vegan and gluten-free) options – well, Moroccan food is the bomb-diggity.
(Yeah I know that phrase is totally passé. Just stay with me here.)
I’ve had tajine (also spelled tagine) before and I’ve tried a few different recipes. But the taste combo of rich fire-roasted tomatoes, accompanied by the earthiness of the chickpeas and carrots is divine, and then you get little traces of sweetness from the softened stewed dates.
I served this over a bed of quinoa for a gluten-free protein-packed option. Couscous works equally well. You could even serve it over rice, or on its own in a soup bowl with some crusty bread to dip in. I just liked the option of having something fairly light and fluffy to go with such a densely-flavoured dish.
If you make one dish this weekend, make this one – if not for the amazing flavours then also for your health! Like I discussed in my last post on spices, the anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting benefits of the spices used in this dish are second to none!
So if you’re looking for something a bit exotic to change your dinner plans up a bit, or if you want to impress some guests, give this dish a try, I don’t think you’ll be sorry!
And if you’re interested in what a tajine is, here’s the Wikipedia definition:
“Tajines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce.”
Vegetarian tajines have really grown in popularity lately and the dish for me has come to represent vegetable stews infused with flavour.
Have you ever heard of tajines? If so have you had one before? I’d love to hear of different varieties to try out!
For now, enjoy!
Chickpea, Carrot and Date Tajine (inspired by the Vegetarian Times recipe)
INGREDIENTS (serves 6):
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 T olive oil
1 tsp garlic, crushed
3 large carrots
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 of a 14-oz can crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted taste best)
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup pitted dates (about 6), chopped small
1/4 cup raisins
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1/4 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste
1. Soak quinoa in 1.5 cups water in a saucepan for 15 minutes.
2. Dice your onion and peel and slice your carrots on the diagonal.
3. Meanwhile, fry onion in oil in a large saucepan. When soft, add garlic and carrots and spices and stir well. Then add enough water to just cover carrots and cover the saucepan with a lid. Leave the pan to simmer for 15 minutes or until carrots are cooked al dente.
4. When quinoa has soaked 15 minutes, put it on to cook in its own pan. Then, add the half can of tomatoes and the chickpeas to the carrots and onions’ pan. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow all the flavours to infuse.
5. When quinoa is cooked (nearly all the water should have gone and it should be light and fluffy), take it off the heat.
6. Add dates, raisins and lemon juice to tajine. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.
7. Stir well on heat for a few more minutes, then remove and add in cilantro.
8. Serve over quinoa and with Greek yogurt on the side if you prefer.
Nutritional information per serving if serves 6: