Vegan Recipe Spotlight: Moroccan Couscous & Veggie Tajine

Amy riolo, mediterranean vegan recipeAmy Riolo is the author of The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition: A Flavorful, Heart-Healthy Approach to Cooking !

She has shared this delicious Vegan friendly recipy for: Moroccan Couscous with Vegetable Tajine (Tajine khodar bil couscous) 

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1 ½ cups | Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 10 minutes resting time for couscous | Cook Time: 50 minutes

Tajines are dishes named after the vessel in which they are cooked. A tajin (with emphasis on the first syllable) is the word for a clay pot in Arabic. In Morocco, the word is pronounced tajine (with emphasis on the second syllable), and it refers to a clay pot with a cone-shaped lid in which such dishes are baked. Clay-pot cooking is great because it requires very little cooking oil to produce a great deal of flavor, making it a healthier cooking method. Also, seven is considered a lucky number in Moroccan culture, so seven vegetables are used in this dish. This recipe is strictly vegetarian, but in Morocco, meat is usually included. 

What you need:

5 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
2 yellow onions (about 8 oz total), finely chopped 
3/4 tsp unrefined sea salt, divided 
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
1/2 tsp saffron 
1 tsp turmeric 
2 cups boiling Homemade Vegetable Stock (p. 36) 
1 lb carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2- or 3-inch fry-like wedges 
1/2 lb turnips, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch fry-like wedges 
1/2 lb artichoke hearts 
1/2 lb zucchini, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2- or 3-inch fry-like wedges 
1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 2- or 3-inch fry-like wedges 
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch fry-like wedges 
1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch fry-like wedges 
1 cinnamon stick 
1 cup whole-wheat couscous, or 2 cups cooked quinoa

What to do:

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, saffron, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Pour in boiling vegetable stock and stir.

Add all of the vegetables, cinnamon stick, and enough water to cover 3/4 of the vegetables, and stir. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 45 minutes until vegetables are very tender and have broken down.

(Skip this step if using cooked quinoa.) Ten minutes before tajine is finished, bring 1 1/4 cups water, 3 tsp olive oil, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Take saucepan off heat, add couscous, stir, and cover with lid. Let stand for 5–10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork, and stir in 1 tsp olive oil.

Serve couscous in a large, shallow dish next to the tajine. When tajine is finished, remove cinnamon stick. Serve warm with 1/2 cup couscous or quinoa.

Bon Appetit!

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