Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vegan Moroccan Tagine

We are big fans of dishes that are naturally vegan or can be made vegan by simply omitting an ingredient (we get too much soy as it is). Tagine is certainly a great example of that. In the winter months it seems like majority of our meals come in the form of a stew or a soup (I think that is the case for many vegans), so varying what we have becomes incredibly important. For me, the easiest way to do that is to make sure we "travel" the world with our dinners. Tagine not only ticks that box, but it is also super kid friendly- chick peas and butternut squash are favorites at least in our house, and raisins certainly help as well.

2 tbs olive oil
1 whole onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon basil or thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
pinch of saffron (optional)
2 vegan bouillon cubes
3 cups of water
2 large carrots
2 cans of chickpeas
1 butternut squash
1/4 c raisins
1 can worth of diced tomatoes (or better yet homemade pasta sauce as long as it doesn't have too much sugar added)
2 tbs lemon juice
a few fresh mint leaves

Few notes: I always wait for the onions to get translucent before adding garlic and spices. I also like to make sure to let spices roast a bit before adding the bouillon cubes and water (you might want to add more or less water depending on the cooking time and desired consistency- soupy or stewy). I usually add raisins only 10 minutes before the end of cooking time (this is a large amount and we usually have left overs for lunch the next day- if you intend to make a batch this big with the same intention you might want to only add raisins to 1/2 of the stew toward the end of cooking otherwise they'll bloat up too much overnight). Regarding tomatoes- there any numerous diced tomatoes out there that are packaged in jars, and given that the acidity in the tomatoes leaches out much of the bad stuff from the lining of the can (or so they tell us) getting jars might be a safer option (and usually yummier:). Finally, lemon is a must- it ups the acidity of the dish and given all the sweet stuff in there (raisins, butternut squash, etc.) its necessary. Keep in mind that depending on the type of bouillon cubes you use you might need to add a healthy amount of salt to this baby. Finally, this is commonly served with couscous but we almost always have this with rice rather than couscous since our little ones are rice fiends (added bonus- that way you can serve it to your gluten sensitive friends).

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