Trying to eat healthier? Lower fat? Add more fruits or vegetables to your diet? And you want flavor too! Well, then I have the dish for you: a sweet and savory vegetarian tagine full of butternut squash and chickpeas and figs and FLAVOR. It’s so good I just about licked the bowl clean.
Lamb tagine is a favorite around here and a dish I make when the weather is cold enough that only stew will do for dinner. But that’s a recipe for another time. (Not to worry, it will certainly show up on these pages in the future!)
Today’s recipe is all about the vegetables and has the benefit of being really quick to make. It’s a stew for a night when you want stew now while also fitting perfectly into a meatless diet, or at least a meatless night.
And, even though I’m calling it a vegetarian tagine, it is actually vegan. Shhhh. I didn’t even realize that it was vegan until I was going through the ingredients list to type it up.
I’m usually tripped up by some eggs or butter, but not here! The only non-vegan part of the dish is the totally optional yogurt, which itself is only non-vegan if you go with milk yogurt. Get some vegan yogurt to provide the creamy counterpoint to the stew and you will be all set. 🙂
One thing I will mention is to be careful on how many figs you add to the dish.
Figs are very sweet and butternut squash is also sweet and all that sweet can be too much. Since I’m used to making a lamb version instead of this vegetarian tagine, I added a pile of figs the first time I made this. No matter how much I love figs (and I do love figs), there is such a thing as too many figs. 🙂
I cut down the amount to 1/2 cup and got rid of the honey in the recipe – making it vegan – and that was just right for me. If you are not as much of a fig fan or want a little less sweetness, I’d suggest adding part of the figs to start and then putting in the rest after you taste it.
This will allow some of the figs to be a little firmer too, since they won’t stew with the rest of the vegetables.
What’s your favorite stew for the cold months of the year? I have so many I love and this one is now on my list!
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Tagine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, 2-inch dice
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 15-oz cans 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained, about 3 cups
- 1/2 cup dried figs, sliced into 3-4 pieces
- lemon zest from one lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt, optional
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and saute until the onion is soft and turning golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and squash and saute for 5 minutes more, just until the squash is starting to soften around the edges. Add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne. Saute, stirring often, for 30 seconds to toast the spices.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and add the chickpeas, figs, and lemon zest. Increase the heat and bring the tagine to a boil. Lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender and cooked through.
- Stir in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more spices, salt, or pepper as needed. Serve over rice or couscous.
- Other dried fruit would be great in this tagine, such as apricots, dates, or prunes. I happen to love figs and usually have some in my pantry. If you are not a big fan of dried fruits, add just a few to start and then add more later if you wish.
- We like to eat this with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt stirred into the bowl. It provides a great, creamy contrast to the flavors of the tagine.
- To cut down on the prep time, many supermarkets have peeled and roughly chopped butternut squash. This is a 30 minute meal if you don't have to peel the squash since you can dice the onions while the oil heats.