Moroccan Lamb and Cabbage Tagine

Moroccan lamb and cabbage tagine

Christine Benlafquih

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
882 Calories
61g Fat
39g Carbs
50g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 882
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 61g 78%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 159mg 53%
Sodium 449mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Protein 50g
Calcium 261mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Think of a Moroccan tagine, and cabbage is not likely to come to mind as your vegetable of choice. Nonetheless, I urge you to try this surprisingly tasty dish. This Moroccan recipe, taught to me by my mother-in-law, features classic seasoning with ginger, saffron and a little bit of paprika and cumin. Preserved lemons and olives add a classic tangy flavor to a sauce that begs to be dipped into with bread. Beef or goat meat may be substituted for the lamb.


  • 1 1/2 lb. lamb or beef (cut into 2" to 3" pieces)
  • 1 tomato (grated)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped or pressed)
  • a handful of fresh parsley (chopped)
  • a handful of fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (or pinch of Moroccan yellow colorant)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 head of cabbage (chopped into 1/2" wide strips)
  • 1 preserved lemon (quartered and seeds removed)
  • 1 large handful of red olives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

Steps to Make It

  1. Put the meat, grated tomato, onions, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and spices into a pressure cooker or pot. Stir to mix well.

  2. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring several times to turn the meat and brown it on all sides.

  3. Add about three cups of water, cover the pressure cooker or pot, and increase the heat to high.

    If using a pressure cooker: When pressure has been achieved, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 35 minutes.

    If using a pot: When the liquids are boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Check occasionally to be sure there are still liquids.

  4. When the meat has cooked, add the chopped cabbage, preserved lemon, olives and lemon juice. If necessary, add enough water to cover the cabbage. Rapidly simmer the cabbage, partially covered, about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the sauce is reduced. The sauce will be a bit thinner than for other tagines.

  5. Serve with Moroccan bread for scooping up the meat and vegetables.


  • There is no need to brown the meat. Place the first set of ingredients in the base of a tagine and stir to combine. Arrange the meat, bone side down, in the middle.
  • Add the cabbage all around, and garnish with the preserved lemon and olives.
  • Add about 3 cups of water, and place the tagine on a diffuser over medium heat. Cover, and allow the liquids to come to a simmer.
  • Continue cooking at a simmer for three hours or longer, or until all ingredients are tender and the sauce is reduced. Toward the end of cooking keep an eye on the level of liquids, adding a little more water if you feel it's necessary to avoid scorching the meat.
  • Serve directly from the tagine.
  • The cooking time indicated is for a pressure cooker. Allow double the time if using a pot or Dutch oven. The dish may also be prepared in clay or ceramic tagine; allow up to four hours cooking time.