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Entrees

Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons

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Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons is a light stew that’s perfect for any time of year. It’s sweet, salty, aromatic and mouthwatering!

For the last few months I’ve been on autopilot; going through the motions and feeling rather uninspired and dull. In times of stress, some people become incredibly creative and innovative but for me, creativity was just out of reach. That is until a package from Casablanca Market showed up at my doorstep containing a clay tagine pot and a jar of preserved lemons. Now at first, I was a little intimidated because I had no idea what to do with a tagine pot and never even tasted preserved lemons.

But things quickly changed the moment I put a tiny slice of preserved lemon in my mouth. It was floral, bright, intriguing and unlike anything I had tasted before. And no, it wasn’t a classic lemon taste – it was so much more. So I imagined Moroccan flavors infused with tender vegetables, in a sweet, salty, tangy and aromatic sauce. A light and comforting but certainly not heavy Moroccan chickpea tagine. A perfect dish for spring, summer, and colder seasons alike.

The next challenge was figuring out how to cook in a Tagine! Luckily the good people at Casablanca Market included prep instructions which were incredibly easy to follow (I’ll take you through the steps as well).

And as far as cooking in the tagine, well that part was surprisingly easy too. It felt exotic, different and a complete change from my normal ways. It was refreshing and inspiring.

But if you’re intimidated by using a tagine (which you shouldn’t be), I’m also going to include a stove-top option you can use. So let’s get right to talking about this Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved lemons in a traditional tagine.

This Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons is:

  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten and Grain-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Easy to prepare
  • Full of antioxidant rich spices
  • Flavorful and delicious

Preparing the Tagine

If you’ve never cooked in a tagine pot, you’re not alone. I was right there just a few weeks ago. I had seen them, was fascinated by them but also compeltely intimidated. But not to worry, I can take you through the process.

Step 1. Soaking

Remove the tagine from the package and fully submerge in water for 12 hours.

Step 2. Air-drying

Let the tagine dry in open air for 12-24 hours.

Step 3. Cooking

Now that you’re ready to cook, take it slow. Start the tagine on low heat and gradually increase heat to medium. Keep the temperature of the tagine consistent throughout the cooking process. Remember a tagine is meant to cook slower than a regular pot.

Tip: Do not add cold water to a hot tagine as the temperatures can be shocking and can result in cracks. Also, make sure you don’t leave your tagine submerged in soapy water.

Now that we got the preparing process down, let’s move on to making our Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons.

Ingredients and substitutions for Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons?

Chickpeas

Whether you’re using soaked and cooked or canned, you’ll need either 1 can or approximately 2 cups of cooked chickpeas. If using canned, I recommend using low sodium.

Carrots

Since carrots are our main vegetable, I’d recommend using fresh, organic carrots you can. They’re sweet and flavorful. You’ll need 4 large carrots or 6 medium.

Onion

If you’re able to find sweet onion, I prefer it in this dish but if you’re only able to find yellow, that will be perfectly fine.

Preserved Lemons

These preserved lemons from Casablanca Market are the most unexpectedly flavorful ingredient I’ve ever used. This stew wouldn’t be what it is without the preserved lemons. They add brightness and depth of flavor that’s unparalleled.

Spices (Ginger, Cumin, Coriander, Cinnamon)

Classic Moroccan spices are essential in this recipe. Ground ginger, ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon add ample flavor to the sauce, but without weighing it down.

Garlic

I like smashing the garlic for this recipe so it really infuses the stew as opposed to chopping it finely. If you don’t love garlic, feel free to pull it out at the end to avoid biting into large bites or alternatively, chop it finely if you wish.

Broth

To keep this dish vegan, you can use vegetable broth but if you don’t have a preference, chicken broth works as well. My recommendation is to use low sodium regardless of which one you choose to use.

Dates and Apricots

This is where our sauce becomes sweet and intense due to the natural sugars found in both dates and apricots. Look for unsulfured apricots so you’re only getting the actual fruit and no artificial additives. I use Deglet Noor dates for this recipe but if Medjool is what you prefer, that works beautifully too.

Tapioca Flour

This is not a requirement but in order to thicken the sauce and have a stew-like consistency, I add 1 tbsp of tapioca flour to get just the right consistency. If you can’t find tapioca flour, arrowroot powder will work fine too or also corn starch. Essentially any thickening agent of your choice will do.

Cilantro

I can’t live without it. But I know not everyone feels this way! Feel free to go for fresh parsley if cilantro doesn’t work for you.

Making Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons in Tagine pot

Now we get to the fun part. Cooking in the tagine. If you’re feeling intimidated don’t be! Once you’ve seasoned your tagine (which means nothing more than soaking and drying it as mentioned in the above instructions), you’re ready to cook.

You essentially add all ingredients, aside from chickpeas and cilantro to the tagine, put the lid on and let everything cook for 45 minutes. It’s really that simple.

Making Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons in dutch oven or regular pot

If you want to start slowly, you can experiment with this recipe in a dutch oven or regular pot.

In this case, not a whole lot would change, aside from cooking the onions first until soft. Adding the carrots and letting them soften as well, and lastly broth and spices and simmering the tagine for about 20-30 minutes. The stew will taste similarly but I do have to say, there is a very distinct richness the food takes on when cooking in a tagine pot. Regardless of which one you choose, I will have the instructions in the recipe card!

Yield: 4

Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Preserved Lemons is a light stew that's perfect for any time of year. It's sweet, aromatic and mouthwatering!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, sliced 
  • 1 can low sodium chickpeas, drained
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp sald
  • 1 chopped preserved lemon 
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour 
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1/4 chopped dried apricots 
  • optional: 2 tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley 

Instructions

  1. After seasoning Tagine, preheat Tagine on low heat. Or if you're cooking the stew in a pot, preheat pot.
  2. Increase heat to medium and add olive oil and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients aside from chickpeas, tapioca and cilantro, cover with tagine lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring ocassionally.
  3. If cooking in a pot, cook for about 20 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  4. Add chickpeas and cook for another 10-15 mintues.
  5. Lastly, add tapioca and cilantro and stir well.
  6. Serve right away with additional cilantro over cooked rice.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 514mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 11gSugar: 14gProtein: 9g

Your shares are very much appreciated!

Do you find this recipe helpful? Your shares would be much appreciated! You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram . If you make and like a recipe, tag me on Instagram and I'd love to share your posts in stories! x - Daniela

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Kristen Wood
    May 28, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    This is absolutely mouthwatering, my friend! Such stunning photos and video, too!

    • Reply
      Daniela Modesto
      May 28, 2020 at 7:53 pm

      Thank you so much dear friend! That just means so much 🙂

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