I first made this tajine for the Tunisian themed dinner club (a reoccurring girly dinner evening with a different country theme each time). I have always been a fan of vegetable-filled stews, especially in cooler weather, and this one is a great example. I know the ingredient list might look a little lengthy, but it pretty much breaks down into a handful of spices with a nice array of vegetables. Although I’m not saying you have to use the exact list of vegetables here.
Tajines are traditionally served with flatbread, although you can always go the nontraditional, but also tasty route and serve this with couscous. I also love a healthy dollop of harissa on the side to appease my love of spicy food.
The main things you want to keep an eye on when you cook this is it not getting too dry when it’s in the oven, although as long as you have a well fitted lid, the vegetable stock and tomato puree should be enough liquid (I didn’t have an issue cooking this in my cast iron pot). Secondly this dish a good example of how you want to be aware that vegetables take different amount of time to cook, for instance adding the root vegetables at the start to braise away until melting tender, whereas the zucchini cooks fairly quickly and the spinach barely needs a minute to be wilted, but still keep its vibrant green colour. I think having a good understanding of when various vegetables should be added to the pot so that they all end up being cooked to your liking is pretty handy knowledge to have, and does come from a bit of practice, but having disintegrated spinach and hard carrots in the finished dish can be a little disappointing. I think stews are a good place to start with this as they are a bit more forgiving compared to a stir-fry with limp snow peas and crunchy broccoli.
Tunisian Vegetable and Chickpea Tajine
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Onion diced
- 1 1/2 tsp Sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp Chilli powder
- 2 tsp Cumin powder
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 2 Carrots cut in 3cm chunks
- 8 Small potatoes cut in half
- 2 Parsnips cut into quarters
- 1 Sweet potato Peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
- 1/2 Lemon juiced
- 500 ml Vegetable stock
- 1 can Whole tomatoes pureed
- Salt to taste
- 2 Zucchinis Cut into batons
- 1 can Chickpeas drained
- 100 g Baby spinach
- Coriander leaves chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof saucepan or cast iron pot over medium heat.
- Add the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes until soft, turn your heat down if it starts to brown.
- Add the five spices, carrot, potato, parsnip and sweet potato and stir, coating all the veggies in the spices. Continue cooking for a few minutes.
- Add lemon juice, stock, pureed tomato and salt, stir in and bring everything to a boil.
- Place the lid on the pot and move to the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
- Check to see how tender the vegetables are after the 45 minutes, and that there is still enough liquid in the pot and then add the zucchini and chickpeas. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
- Take the tagine out the oven and add the spinach and stir in until just wilted.
- Serve with lots of coriander sprinkled over the top, fresh flatbread on the side and a big dollop of harissa if you like a bit of extra heat.