Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine With Couscous

Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine With Couscous

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

This Moroccan dish turns a head of cauliflower, sweet potato, and a can of chickpeas into a delicious, warming meal ideal for busy nights. Cumin, ginger, and cinnamon season the stew, along with onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes, creating a flavorful tagine to serve over couscous. Because it is mildly spiced, this vegan vegetable and chickpea tagine is a nice choice for families with varying ages and tastes.

Tagines are traditionally cooked and served in a special cone-shaped clay vessel, also called a tagine, but a heavy pot will work just fine. This dish is usually served as a main course, but feel free to serve the tagine and couscous as a side dish alongside a citrus and saffron infused roasted chicken or smoky cedar plank salmon.


For the Vegetable Tagine:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 small onion (peeled and chopped, about 1 cup/165 g)

  • 4 large cloves garlic (peeled, smashed, and chopped)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 large sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, about 2 cups/350 g)

  • 2 cups/475 ml vegetable stock

  • 4 cups/325 g cauliflower florets

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce/411 g) can diced tomatoes with juice (or canned whole plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice)

  • 1 (15-ounce/425 g) can chickpeas (drained)

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Couscous:

  • 1 1/2 cups/355 ml water

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups/260 g couscous (regular or whole wheat)

  • Harissa, garnish

  • Slivered almonds or whole cashews, garnish

  • Golden raisins, garnish

  • Finely chopped parsley, garnish

Steps to Make It

Make the Tagine

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot set over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it softens and turns translucent.

  3. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon, and sauté for one minute, or until the spices are fragrant.

  4. Add the sweet potato and sauté to coat with the spices.

  5. Pour in the vegetable stock.

  6. Add the cauliflower florets, tomatoes, and drained chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

  7. Simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  9. Remove from the heat and allow the tagine to rest while you prepare the couscous.

Make the Couscous

  1. Bring the water and oil to a boil in a medium saucepan.

  2. Stir in the couscous.

  3. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to rest for 5 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

  4. Fluff with a fork.

Serve the Tagine

  1. Spoon a mound of couscous into shallow bowls.

  2. Surround the couscous with the vegetable tagine, and spoon some of the brothy sauce over each serving.

  3. Garnish as desired with harissa, slivered almonds, raisins, and parsley.

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer a more intensely spiced stew, add additional cumin, cinnamon, and ginger, or use a Moroccan spice blend, such as Ras el Hanout, to taste. Pass harissa or hot sauce at the table so diners can add some heat to their dish if desired.
  • Non-vegetarians can turn this dish into an even more substantial meal by topping the couscous with chicken or fish.
  • The recipe calls for serving in individual bowls, but you can also present the dish family style. Spread the couscous in a large, rimmed platter, make a well in the center of the couscous, and spoon the vegetable tagine into the well. Sprinkle with almonds, raisins, and parsley if desired, and serve with harissa on the side.