This Moroccan harissa stew is flavored with creamy pumpkin and chickpeas. The stew is flavored with harissa for an extra hit of spice. Using carrots, raisins, and other classic Moroccan flavors, this protein-packed soup will make a great addition to your midweek menu.
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Vegan Pumpkin Stew Recipes
When visiting Morocco, I was inspired by how many vegetarian and vegan dishes there were. During our visit, I have to admit we indulged in many meat-based meals. However, I have since adopted many of them at home into veggie options. We aren’t vegetarians at all, but we try to eat at least 2 or 3 vegetarian or vegan-friendly meals weekly.
Chickpeas and carrots are commonly used ingredients in Morocco food, but because of my love for pumpkin, I have introduced it into many of my Moroccan-inspired dishes.
Other familiar flavors you see being used in Moroccan stews are cumin, cinnamon, paprika, harissa, and garlic, which are flavors I just love for the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory.
Vegetarian Pumpkin Stew
I was inspired to make the decadent stewed pumpkin dish after eating a dish called Batata Hlouwa while visiting Morocco. This potato salad is flavored with honey, raisins, and cinnamon and made using sweet potatoes. The flavors worked so well together that I decided what else I could do with them in the form of a hearty, filling meal.
I also decided to make it a little more substantial by adding chickpeas for protein instead of the sweet potatoes used in the salad and introducing pumpkin and carrot for fiber, freshness, and vibrancy.
Check out some of our other Moroccan-inspired recipes:
Harissa is a popular ingredient used in Moroccan cuisine. It’s so popular in fact that they even have it on the table in restaurants across Morocco, for customers to season their own food with like salt and pepper.
I wasn’t overly familiar with it until my trip to Morocco, and we fell in love with it. So much so that we now use it in a lot of cooking. We are never without a jar of it in our house.
Although this is a chili paste, it’s not overly spicy and gives off an entirely different flavor to fresh or dried chilis.
Moroccan cuisine is not intended to be heavy on the heat but should be warming, slightly spiced, and sweet. Harissa is often served on side dishes such as tagines, stews, and soups. It’s just one of many Moroccan spices that are growing in popularity around the world.
Moroccan Harissa Stew – Ingredients
High-quality olive oil is the first ingredient you’ll want to get your hands on for this vegan Moroccan stew; if you can get hold of Moroccan olive oil, even better.
Mina makes excellent olive oil which you can purchase online at Amazon. It is perfect for cooking all kinds of Mediterranean dishes.
Season and Spice
After warming your olive oil, add shallots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro to the pan. You want your shallots to be finely diced and your garlic and ginger to be minced or grated, so there are no large chunks in the finished stew. I like to use the fine side of a cheese grater for the ginger and a good-quality garlic press.
Regarding the cilantro, the stalks are added to the pan alongside the onions and garlic; this gives the dish a lovely fragrance; just be sure to remove all the leaves as they darken when cooked and give the stew an unattractive appearance. However, be sure to keep them to one side for garnishing your stewed pumpkin later on.
Regarding the spice as I mentioned earlier, this dish uses traditional Moroccan spices such as cinnamon, sweet paprika, and cumin. This combination adds sweetness and earthy, nutty flavors.
Then there is the harissa, the critical ingredient to the finished taste. It should be just enough to add a nice warming kick to your dish without being overly spicy. Of course, if you enjoy spicy food as I do, you can add a little more for extra heat.
The Vegetables For A Moroccan Harissa Stew
Now comes the most vital part of your vegan pumpkin stew, the veggies! For the fiber, protein, and structure, you will need carrots, chickpeas, and pumpkin.
Drain your chickpeas into a colander, but don’t rinse them. This recipe is not needed, as the chickpeas starch will help thicken your soup.
The carrots and pumpkins should be diced into relatively small pieces, small enough to cook quickly but not so small that they disintegrate. Bite-size is perfect! I usually make my pumpkin pieces a little bit larger than the carrot as it’s softer in texture.
Moroccan Harissa Stew – The Final Steps
Before your stew is finished, throw in some raisins and cook for 5 minutes to allow them to plump up. This will add some extra sweetness to your stew; it’s a great surprise burst when you come across a juicy raisin while eating it.
Then, right at the end of the process, add those fresh cilantro leaves you set aside earlier, or, if you wish, sprinkle them on once you have divided the stew into bowls.
Cooking This Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew
Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large saucepan, and add garlic, ginger, shallots, and cilantro stalks.
Saute everything for a couple of minutes until soft and starting to change color, but be careful not to let the garlic burn. Then add the cinnamon, paprika, and cumin to the pan. Cook the mixture until the aromas are released from the spices, and make sure to stir continuously so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
After a couple of minutes, add the carrots, chickpeas, and pumpkin, and stir to combine everything before adding the harissa. Pour in the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the pan to a simmer and cook the stew for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Keep checking back on your stew every 5 minutes to check it’s not burning or sticking. If it starts to dry, add a little more broth or water, but check again for seasoning.
Right at the end, fold the raisins into the stew, and cook for a couple more minutes to allow them to plump up before diving into bowls and topping them with fresh cilantro leaves.
Serve the Moroccan stew alongside some pitta bread or on top of some white rice.
Vegan Pumpkin Stew – Handy Tips: If you like a bit of acidity in your stews and soups, add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end of the cooking process, or stir in some tomato paste during cooking.
Moroccan Pumpkin And Chickpea Stew
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 diced shallot
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp cilantro stalks
- 2 cups diced pumpkin
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
- 1 tbsp harissa
- 2 cups vegetable/chicken broth
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large saucepan before adding the shallots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems. Cook for 2-3 minutes until softening.
- Add the paprika, cinnamon, and cumin, and mix into the oil until the aromas are released.
- Add the carrot, pumpkin, and chickpeas and mix everything together.
- Stir in the harissa paste and stock—season to taste.
- Bring the pan to a boil before reducing it to a simmer and cooking for 20-25 minutes until the carrots are soft.
- Taste again for seasoning, and stir in the raisins. Cook for a couple of minutes until the raisins are plump.
- Serve topped with fresh cilantro leaves and a side of pitta bread or boiled rice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 390Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 421mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 16gSugar: 18gProtein: 15g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.