Roast vegetable tagine is the vegetarian version of beef casserole. It’s warm and hearty and just the thing you need when it’s cold outside, although it works perfectly well on a mild summer’s evening too. Serve it with couscous and a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream and it’s even better.
The thing about making vegetable casseroles, is the vegetables tend to become soft. If you’re not careful, that could escalate to a bit on the mushy side. And that’s what makes this version so much better. By baking the vegetables, that caramelise and develop a bit of a crunchy exterior, which is my favourite way to eat them. Pumpkin and eggplant work wonderfully well baked in the oven. Or you can switch out the pumpkin for sweet potato if you prefer. Just be aware that sweet potato takes longer to cook. So either make the chunks smaller, or add the eggplant 10 minutes after the sweet potato.
This recipe also includes zucchini which takes less time to cook so be sure to add it to the baking tray 15 minutes after everything else. I also add cauliflower into the mix but choose to cook it in the sauce rather than roast it.
This may sound like a long winded process, but it really isn’t. While the vegetables are in the oven roasting away, you prepare the saucy part of the dish on the stove top, simply adding the vegetables once they are cooked and the sauce is the right consistency. Don’t be tempted to throw the vegetables into the pot before it thickens or you’ll end up with mushy vegetables.
One other thing…I fry a tablespoon of harissa in a small frying pan, then add the chickpeas and mix it all around to coat them and give them a bit of a crunchiness. If there is no harissa lurking in the fridge, or I can’t be bothered making any, I simply add a tin of drained chickpeas at the same time as the vegetables. To give it the spiciness the harissa provides I throw in a couple of whole green chillies after I’ve added the tomatoes and stock and let the flavours mingle. You can choose to eat them or take them out.
This takes about as long to cook as it does to roast the vegetables. So it’s not something you only cook if you have lots of time. The roast vegetables together with the combination of spices is sure to put a smile on your face. Enjoy!
- 400 grams pumpkin or sweet potato, chopped into chunks
- 200 grams (1 small) eggplant, chopped into chunks
- 1 large zucchini, chopped into large chunks
- 100 grams cauliflower, divided into large florets
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cm fresh ginger, grated
- 1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped into 2cm squares
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
- 1 x 400 gram tin chopped tomatoes
- 125 ml stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon harissa or 3 whole green chillies
- 1 x 400 gram tin chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon harissa
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a roasting dish with baking paper (to make washing up easier). Add the pumpkin / sweet potato, a splash of olive oil and lightly salt. Mix all around and bake for around 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Add the chunks of zucchini 15 minutes into the cooking time.
- While the vegetables are roasting, in a large, heavy based pot, heat a splash of olive oil and gently fry the onion, garlic, ginger and capsicum until softened.
- Add the spices and fry for a minute or two.
- Add the tomatoes, stock (and 3 whole green chillies if not using harissa), and salt. Simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add the cauliflower florets and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the roast vegetables, and chickpeas to the sauce. Gently mix together, adding water if the sauce is too thick. Check and adjust the seasoning.
- Serve with couscous and yoghurt sauce.
- cup yoghurt mixed with 1 teaspoon harissa paste. If you don't have any harissa, mix the yoghurt with 1 glove of crushed garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice; or a handful of finely chopped mint leaves.