Flavorful Moroccan Lentil Tagine With Carrots And Cauliflower

This Moroccan lentil tagine recipe is a hearty, nutritious dish crammed with protein and vegetables. It uses traditional Moroccan spices such as cumin, paprika, and cinnamon. It’s cooked on the stove in a tagine and is entirely vegan. 

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Recipe Information:

Tagine | Cooks In 70 Minutes | Moroccan | Vegan | Healthy

Why A Lentil Tagine?

A tagine is used in cooking, a pot used in many popular Moroccan recipes. Dishes cooked in a Moroccan tagine usually include protein and vegetables, cooked in a sauce and served straight out of the tagine. 

Most tagine dishes you’ll find in Morocco contain meat. However, they can be adapted to suit a vegetarian diet. I got some tips on this while visiting Morocco. We had a vegetarian in our group, so we often asked for other options. 

During this trip to Morocco, I learned how to use a tagine. We went on a tour that included learning about where the tagine pots were made. 

I have adapted this dish slightly to my taste. Although lentils aren’t typically used in Moroccan cooking, I love them, and I think the fusion works well. So this cauliflower and lentil tagine was created entirely by myself while being inspired by Moroccan cuisine

Flavorful Moroccan Lentil Tagine With Carrots And Cauliflower

Ingredients For Carrot, Cauliflower and Lentil Tagine

As with many Moroccan dishes, the base for this lentil tagine recipe uses olive oil, garlic, and onion for flavor. The onions should be finely diced, and the garlic should be crushed using a garlic press. It would be best if you did not have large pieces of onions or garlic in this tagine. 

The Spice

cooking garlic, onion, cumin and spices in a tagine

This lentil tagine recipe uses traditional Moroccan spices such as cumin and cinnamon, which give the dish a rounded, earthy flavor. You’ll find cumin is used in almost all Moroccan recipes. They even have it on the tables in Moroccan restaurants alongside the salt. Cumin essentially replaces pepper as a condiment on the table.  

Type of Lentils

carrot and lentil tagine

It depends on your preference as to what lentils you use in this tagine. Both brown and green work well. However, red lentils can also be used if preferred. They will give a different texture to your finished dish.

Green and brown lentils hold their shape after cooking, adding a great texture, but they take a little longer to cook. The cooking time should be less for red lentils, particularly split red lentils. They take a lot less time to cook.

The good thing about this dish is that there is no need to soak the lentils beforehand. They are essentially soaked during the cooking process. Just ensure that you rinse and soak them before cooking. To speed up the cooking process, you can always soak the lentils briefly while prepping the rest of your ingredients. 

Cooking This Cauliflower Tagine

I chose to add cauliflower to this Moroccan lentil recipe because the large pieces make the dish appear as substantial as it would if it contained chicken or lamb pieces. I usually cut the cauliflower into large, bite-size pieces, but you can do them smaller or larger if you prefer. Just remember to adjust your cooking time accordingly. 

You can use the cauliflower leaves, too. They add a fabulous vibrancy to the tagine and extra fiber and texture. Ensure you remove the bottoms of the leaves, as they can be a little stringy and unpleasant to eat. 

using cabbage leaves in a tagine

Other Ingredients For A Lentil Tagine

Tomatoes are the base for the sauce in this lentil tagine. It’s down to preference whether you want to use canned or fresh diced. I like to use the canned ones as they carry many flavors and save a messy prep job. Also, Eric doesn’t like chunks of fresh tomato in his food, so it works well for us. 

The dish also contains carrots, I recommend getting organic ones, as they carry a lot more flavor, but any carrots will work fine. Dice the carrot into relatively small chunks so that they will cook a lot quicker. 

For the broth, of course, if you’re making this as a vegetarian dish, you’ll be using vegetable broth. If you are not vegan, however, chicken broth also works well. 

Adding Harissa To A Lentil Tagine

Lastly, I like to add a bit of harissa paste to my tagine. This is a Moroccan chili paste made with floral, zesty spices, and it adds a great dash of flavor. You can also garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon or lemon zest if you want to add even more citrus. 

I became a little obsessed with harissa after our most recent trip to Morocco. I’ve used it in many recipes as varied as a Spicy Harissa Pasta Recipe With Black Olives & Capers and a Roasted Harissa Cauliflower.

How To Make Moroccan Cauliflower and Lentil Tagine

Place your tagine on your stovetop over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic, and cook for around 3-4 minutes until onions and garlic begin to soften. (Be careful not to burn).

Add in your cinnamon, cumin, and paprika, mix well until the aromas of the spices are released, and toss in the carrot and lentils. Mix well and season. 

Handy Tip: Don’t be shy with the salt in this dish. It will carry the flavors of the other ingredients.

Sweat the carrots for around 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften, then add in your tomatoes and broth. Mix well, put the lid on the tagine and cook for around 40 minutes until the lentils are cooked. 

cooking cauliflower in a tagine

Adding The Cauliflower

While your lentil tagine is cooking, check it occasionally to see how your lentils are coming along, and also give it the odd stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you notice that the dish has started to dry out, add a little more broth. You can add water instead, but make sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly. 

After 40 minutes of cooking, add in your cauliflower and cauliflower leaves, and stir the tagine. Pop the lid back on, and cook for another 10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked to your desired consistency. 

Add a tablespoon of harissa, a pinch of lemon zest, or a squeeze of lemon juice, and check one last time for seasoning. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. 

moroccan taagine with cauliflower

Moroccan Lentil Tagine with Cauliflower

Yield: 6 Servings

Moroccan Lentil Tagine With Carrots And Cauliflower

Flavorful Moroccan Lentil Tagine With Carrots And Cauliflower

This Moroccan lentil tagine is a healthy and hearty vegan dish crammed with protein and traditional Moroccan flavors. It is made in a classic style tagine on the stovetop and can be served center table as a fabulous side dish. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ small yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces (including leaves)
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • Zest of lemon

Instructions

  1. Place your tagine on the stovetop over medium heat. 
  2. Add oil, onions, and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, and cook for a couple of minutes to release the aromas. 
  4. Add the carrot and lentils, and mix well. 
  5. Season with salt, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomatoes, and broth, stir well, and cover the pot. 
  7. Cook for 40 minutes until the lentils and carrots are soft. 
  8. Check your tagine consistently throughout cooking to prevent your lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you notice it’s drying out, add a splash of broth. 
  9. After 40 minutes, add the cauliflower and cauliflower leaves to the tagine. Cook for around 10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked to your liking. 
  10. Add a tablespoon of harissa and a sprinkle of lemon zest (if using).
  11. Garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 306mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g

This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.

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