Vegan tagine with butternut squash

Vegan tagine with butternut squash

vegan tagine pan

Is it me or the weather just cannot make up its mind lately? It’s been sunny and warm so we have moved on to some lighter, spring fare and now I’m back to huddling by the heater, a mug of hot coffee in my hand and a warm cat on a chair next to me! I think we are both bummed!

Oh well, at least it’s an excuse to have comfort food for a little bit longer. Like this vegan tagine I cooked up lately in Duncan’s birthday present (thank you, Duncan’s parents! Although I happen to do most of the cooking, Duncan has been enjoying eating out of that pot immensely 😉 ). This dish is super simple to make and cosy and for me, personally, it hits the spot when I am craving something soothing yet healthy at the same time.

Like most stews, this one also gets better with age…I froze a double portion of it before we went away to Devon for Duncan’s birthday and it turned out to be a true life saver.

Devon was absolutely beautiful and it made us vow to make more effort to leave Bristol at weekends as there is so much gorgeous nature on our doorstep. We spent two days hiking around Lynton and Lynmouth where we enjoyed gorgeous views, humid forest air, some wildlife and farm animal spotting – we saw some deers and ponies as well as a prolific number of ultra cute little lambs huddling with their mothers.

We’ve had to cross quite a few fields to get to the public pathway and the sheeps’ reaction towards us (running in the opposite direction as soon as they saw us) made us realise that they do not view us, humans, as friends in the least. Understandably, they are fiercely protective over their offsprings and this idea that taking away their precious child every lambing season is part and parcel of the symbiotic nature of their relationship with farmers is a big fat lie. Obviously, but I am still so mad at myself for not seeing through this sooner!

While we really enjoyed our trip and felt relaxed and inspired afterwards, we did struggle with getting vegan food big time. We somehow managed to wing breakfast and I covered our lunches by planning in advance and assembling sandwiches ahead of each hike and I am so glad I did. Dinners were the problem. We ended up eating pizza two nights in a row and a dodgy veggie burger on the last night, so by the time we got home we were so happy about that homemade tagine in our freezer. Next time, we will be looking for a self-catering cottage and cooking our own meals, I think.

vegan tagine close

vegan tagine hands

vegan tagine in bowl

15 min
90 min
15 min
90 min
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes or cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
  • a good pinch of saffron
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 400 g / 14 oz tin chopped tomatoes / 6 medium, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped very finely
  • 35 g / ¼ cup raisins
  • ¾ tsp salt, adjust to taste
  • ½ medium butternut squash
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp date syrup / nectar, shop-bought or homemade (or sugar)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz kale, tough stems removed
  • 240 g / 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (approx. ½ cup raw)
  • 2 cups cooked couscous or rice, to serve
  • almond flakes, to serve (optional)
  • pomegranate arils, to serve
  1. Heat up the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot that you have a lid for.
  2. Add the diced onion and fry it gently until almost translucent (for about 7 minutes), stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the chopped garlic. Keep on frying gently until the onion is translucent and the garlic softens completely and releases its beautiful aroma (approx. 5 minutes).
  4. Stir all the ground spices into the onion-garlic mixture. Fry them off on a very low heat for a minute or two (stirring the whole time as if they burn they’ll taste bitter).
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, 2 tins worth of water, saffron, cardamom pods, bay leaves, preserved lemon, raisins and salt to the pan. Simmer, covered, until the tomato chunks fall apart and the sauce looks more or less homogeneous (about 45 minutes).
  6. Remove the lid and keep on cooking the stew on low-medium heat to allow excess water to evaporate so that the stew thickens.
  7. You can cook the butternut squash in the stew (it takes about 20 minutes), but I prefer to do so separately as it allows for greater control over its ‘doneness’. Bake in a 200° C / 390° C oven for about 25-30 minutes or steam for 30 minutes.
  8. Once the sauce thickens, taste it and season with a generous amount of black pepper, more salt if needed and add some date syrup (or sugar) if you find the dish too acidic.
  9. Chuck in the chopped kale for the final 10 minutes and cover the pot with a lid to allow the kale to cook in the sauce. You could also steam it separately for 10 minutes and add it to the tagine at the end.
  10. Finally, stir in the cooked chickpeas and let them warm through. Serve over cooked couscous (or rice), sprinkled with toasted almond flakes and pomegranate seeds.
12 g
11 g
1 g
11 g
54 g
*per serving
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12 reviews, 16 comments
love this recipe! substituted the raisins for chopped dried apricots and served it with cauliflower rice There were supposed to be leftovers but I think the next serving will be tapas sized as it went down a bit too well lol
    Hahaha that's a good problem to have, right? Thank you Sue, I am really happy to hear that this dish was a success and thank you for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it. Ania
Thx for the recipe, from France !
    My pleasure - so pleased you enjoyed it! Ania
Me and my daughter made this for our family and it was really tasty. We left out some bits like the lemons as we just don’t have that in the house. We used a bit of turmeric instead of the saffron and as I don’t like fruit in hot savoury food, we just left out the raisins. It still tasted really good. It was like a hug in a bowl.
    Thanks Mary, I am delighted to hear that you and your family enjoyed it. Great that you were able to adjust it to your preferences. And I really apprecite you taking the time to review, thank you. x Ania
Delicious, but we did add less water to the tomato sauce so that it would be ready sooner :-)
    Thanks Marie, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and I really appreciate you taking the time to review. x Ania
We made this for dinner tonight - was delicious. We added a courgette as was sad in the fridge and served with a lemon coriander cous cous. Thanks for the inspiration.
    My pleasure, Amy! I am really happy to hear that it went down well! x Ania
Tony Davies:
Made this a couple of times and always delivers bags of flavour. Love preserved lemons and also add some extra tagine paste for added depth.
To do as a one pot meal I add small chopped new potatoes.
It's a next level vegan stew dish.
    Thanks for your kind words, Tony! Delighted to hear that you enjoy this dish and adding potatoes is hardly ever a bad idea ;) ! x Ania
Jennifer Kazandjian:
Hi ,just wondering if you can make this in advance and freeze??
    Hi Jennifer,
    Yes, absolutely! Although it is worth bearing in mind that freezing tends to dull flavours so you may want to be a touch more generous with your spicing and seasoning. x Ania
Delicious, such a lovely depth to the flavours. Thank you!
    Thanks Andy! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it! Ania
Absolutley delicious and a joy to make :)
    Thanks so much, Jena! I'm delighted to hear that! Ania
I made this today, and it was so good! I ate it with some cooked spelt for extra bite. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
    Aw, thanks so much, Elle. I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to let me know! Stay safe! x Ania
I wanted to cook it, but google doesn't know the answer... How much (in ml or just glasses) is "2 tins worth of water"?
    A 400 g / 14 oz tin holds about 500 ml / 2 cups of water. Hope that helps! Ania
Delicious and a joy to cook because of the fragrances. I did not have butternut so I added sweet potato instead...
Also sadly could not wait to order preserved lemon and so had to make due with salt and a little lemon juice. Still very tasty. And beautiful.
I added 2 tbsp or so of sunflower seed butter and it made the tagine taste richer!
    That's great to hear, Kyrie! I'm glad you enjoyed it and sunbutter sounds like a lovely addition indeed! x Ania
Miriam Knorr:
This recipe was so delicious! I added dates instead of rasins and used fresh coriander and mint on top 👌🏼. Thank you!!!
    Thanks, Miriam! I'm so pleased to hear that! And thank you for taking the time to rate this recipe – I really appreciate it! Ania
Wow. This is my new favourite dish. I subbed currants for raisins - just a preference of mine, and tinned cherry tomatoes. Served with brown rice. It's just lick-the-bowl good! Thanks so much!
    Thanks, Yvette! I'm glad to hear that! Ania
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