This healthy Moroccan lentil tagine recipe is packed with protein and vegetables with traditional Moroccan flavors and spices. Made on the stovetop in a tagine, this vegan tagine can be served tableside with spicy harissa.
Vegan | Tagine Pot | Moroccan | 70 Minutes Cook Time
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Tools For This Recipe:
- Uno Casa Tagine Pot: Buy direct from Uno Casa and receive coordinating dual oven mitt, and a recipe book. Holds 3.65 quarts making it perfect for families. The exterior is made from durable and chip-resident enamel. Use this link to save 15% on all UnoCasa products. Discount applied at checkout.
- Garlic press: We have the Zulay garlic press and love it. No need to even peel the garlic.
- Oxo 3 Piece Peeler Set: Included an ergonimoic easy to use vegetable peeler for the carrots
- Tongs: These silicone-tipped kitchen tongs make moving the carrots and vegetables around super easy.
What Is A Lentil Tagine
A tagine is a cooking vessel used to cook the most famous of Morrocan dishes. A tagine dish includes all of the different types of meals that can be cooked and served inside a tagine.
This includes all sorts of meats and vegetables and even fish. Although a vegetarian or vegan tagine is not all that common traditionally in Morocco, we tried a few during our trip because there was a vegetarian in the group.
We learned how to use a tagine when traveling in Morocco and even toured a facility where they make tagines. We learned how they make them, fire them, and even paint them.
Lentils are not all that common in Moroccan cuisine, I admit that. But I am always looking for ways to take what we learned about Moroccan cuisine while traveling there to make healthy recipes at home. That’s how this Moroccan lentil tagine recipe came to be.
Ingredients For This Moroccan Lentil Tagine Recipe
The base of most Moroccan tagines include olive oil, onion, and garlic. Mince the onion well and mince or press the garlic using a garlic press. This helps the garlic blend well into the tagine without there being big chunks of garlic in the final recipe.
The chickpea tagine is seasoned with spices typical in Moroccan cuisine, most important being cumin. Ground cumin is in almost all Moroccan recipes. Cumin is even on the tabletop alongside salt — instead of pepper. In addition to cumin, use ground cinnamon and paprika.
For this lentil tagine, use green or brown lentils. Although you could use red lentils, they will cook a lot quicker and will be softer at the end. Green and brown lentils take longer to cook but they hold their shape better. The red lentils could get a bit mushy, and with soft cauliflower might taste a bit, well, mushy. The green or brown lentils will add texture.
The lentils don’t need to be soaked, just rinsed and drained. I do sometimes do a mini soak just to speed up the cooking process. I normally will soak the lentils at the start of the recipe, while prepping the rest of the ingredients. By the time the lentils need to be added, they’ve had a few minutes of soak time and will cook a bit quicker.
Cooking A Cauliflower Tagine
The reason why I like adding cauliflower to the tagine is because the larger pieces make it feel a little more like a tagine with chicken or meat. The cauliflower should be cut into bite-sized pieces.
Adding some cauliflower leaves helps in a few ways. It adds some color to the tagine recipe and adds a bit of extra fiber. If the cauliflower comes with its leaves, just cut up some of the thinner pieces. Just avoid the heavy parts of the stems, which will take longer to cook.
Other Vegetables For The Tagine
The base of the sauce is tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes, or a can of diced tomatoes. I prefer finely diced tomatoes in the can, but that’s just because Eric doesn’t like chunks of tomatoes. The only other vegetables are diced carrots. The smaller the carrots are cut, the quicker they will cook.
The remaining liquid is vegetable broth, although you can use water or chicken broth if you are not a vegetarian.
At the end, you can add a bit of harissa, a spicy Moroccan chili paste. And, add a bit of lemon zest to add some freshness and brightness to the lentil tagine before serving. These are both optional.
Check out some of our other Moroccan recipes:
How To Make This Vegan Lentil Tagine Recipe
Place the tagine on a stovetop, using a diffuser if you have an electric stovetop. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the onion starts to soften about 3-4 minutes.
Add the cumin, cinnamon, and paprika, and coat the spices in the oil to release the aromas and flavors. Add the diced carrot and lentils, coating in the olive oil and the spices. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt.
Allow the carrots and lentils to cook for 3-4 minutes. This allows them to sweat and start to cook. Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir well. Cover the tagine and reduce the heat to low.
Cook over low heat for about 40 minutes or until the lentils and carrots start to soften.
Adding The Cauliflower To The Tagine
Check the tagine periodically to ensure the lentils don’t start to stick. If so, add a touch more broth or water, about ¼ of a cup at a time.
After 40 minutes, add the cauliflower and cauliflower leaves. Stir them into the tagine. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Remove the lid of the tagine and taste. Adjust any seasoning as needed.
Add one tablespoon of harissa, if using. Add the lemon zest if using.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ small yellow onion, minced or diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 cup of green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup of cauliflower leaves, roughly cut
- 1 tablespoon harissa (optional)
- Zest of one lemon (optional)
- Place the tagine on a stovetop, using a diffuser if you have an electric stovetop.
- Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the onion starts to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cumin, cinnamon, and paprika, and coat the spices in the oil to release the aromas and flavors.
- Add the diced carrot and lentils, coating in the olive oil.
- Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Allow the carrots and lentils to cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir well. Cover and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook over low heat for about 40 minutes or until the lentils and carrots start to soften. Check the tagine periodically to ensure the lentils don’t start to stick. If so, add a touch more broth or water, about ¼ of a cup at a time.
- After 40 minutes, add the cauliflower and cauliflower leaves. Stir them into the tagine.
- Cover and cook for another 10 minutes until the cauliflower is soft. Remove the lid of the tagine and taste. Adjust any seasoning as needed.
- Add one tablespoon of harissa, if using. Add the lemon zest if using.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 301mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 8gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Stovetop Lentil Tagine
This recipe works perfectly well cooking it on a stovetop in a dutch oven. It should be a dutch oven that distributes the heat evenly and is rather deep to allow the steam to circulate, in a similar way to the tagine. The main difference is that you would remove to a serving dish, rather than being able to place the tagine right on the table for serving.