Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

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I am not an expert on middle eastern food, so I can’t tell you whether this recipe is an “authentic” tagine, but I CAN tell you that it’s tasty, relatively healthy (if you’re concerned with things like that; sometimes I try to be) and pretty easy to put together.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what tagine itself was, so I did some research on trusty Wikipedia: “Moroccan tajine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry, or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also used. Common spices include ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron.”

Tagines are also traditionally cooked in a volcano or cone-shaped earthenware pot like this one that I found on Google Images:

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It looks pretty cool, but I didn’t have one, so I just used a regular saucepan and lid. My version of tagine was vegetarian, but I imagine it’d be pretty easy to add in some chicken or beef to this dish. I’ve made this recipe twice now; the first time I paired it with quinoa, and the second (this most recent time) I just used regular white rice. Both tasted great.

This was also my first time purchasing and using tumeric as a spice, and I loved it. The original recipe also called for 1 tsp coriander, which I left out because my budget is limited and I could only buy one new spice this time around. One day…

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Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine (adapted from here)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I did not include this)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved (I used cherry)
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

First, prepare your rice or quinoa according to their package instructions. These can cook without any attention from you while you work on the tagine itself.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes or until tomatoes begin to release their liquid. Add chickpeas and zucchini. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 6-10 minutes. You want the mixture to get a little stew-like and you get that by trapping the steam and returning it back into the pan. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve zucchini mixture with your choice of grain.

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We put the leftovers in a tupperware in the fridge and ate it for lunch 2 days later. If anything, it got better! I think it had more time to stew in the spices and juices in the fridge, and after popping it in the microwave for a minute, it tasted awesome. This is a really fast dinner option that could easily be a great lunch the next day, or even a few days later.

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