A delicious, vegan Harissa, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine, served with Lemon and Coriander Couscous – quick and simple enough for a midweek supper but impressive enough for a dinner party.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have been really inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recent programme on superfoods. Jamie went to some of the healthiest places on earth to discover their secrets, as well as studying nutrition and talking to food and nutrition experts. The result was a brilliant TV series, which you can still watch on 4 OD and a great recipe book: Everyday Super Food. (You can read my review here.)
As a result of watching this programme and then reading the book, I was inspired to cook more healthily and in particular, make more meals with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are apparently one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet: full of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants and, according to Jamie, they are one of the reasons why residents of Okinawa in Japan are so healthy and often live into their 90s and beyond.
I began by creating a vegan Sweet Potato Chilli, and was so pleased with the result that I began to wonder what I could make with this delicious vegetable. An idea began to form in my mind for a simple tagine, flavoured with harissa, ginger, coriander and cumin and involving chickpeas and wholewheat couscous for healthy vegetable-based protein, then sprinkled with beautiful pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves. I also decided to jazz up the couscous using almonds, coriander and lemon. The result is delicious, satisfying and vegan/veggie friendly.
This is not a difficult recipe, but if you wanted to simplify it further, you could serve it with plain couscous and lose the pomegranate seeds and it would still taste great (though wouldn’t look quite so pretty!). If you need to make this gluten free, this tagine works brilliantly with brown rice too. And if you haven’t got any harissa, you could substitute for ½ to 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes, depending on how hot you like things.
If you would prefer a non-vegan version of this tagine, why not try adding chicken or lamb? Add 2cm chunks of chicken (thigh works particularly well) or lamb after you have added the cumin and coriander and brown for 5 minutes before continuing with the recipe. The chicken will be cooked after 20 minutes, but you may find you want to cook the lamb version for longer…I suggest you pop it in the oven and cook for 1 hour at 160C.
I love this meal with a zesty New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but if you prefer red wine, it would also go well with a Spanish Garnacha or a Southern French Grenache. If you add lamb to this tagine, I suggest a red wine would work better.
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 750g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
- 2cm ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste (or to taste – I used Tesco Ingredients)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes, plus half a can of water
- 1 tin chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
- Juice of half a lemon
- 100g pomegranate seeds (or seeds from half a pomegranate)
- 200g wholewheat couscous (or normal couscous, if you can’t find wholewheat)
- 300ml boiling water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 25g flaked almonds
- Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a wide, deep saucepan. Add the sliced onion and cook on a gently heat, with the lid on for about 5 minutes, until softened but not brown.
- Add the ground cumin and coriander seeds and cook for 1 more minute with the lid off.
- Add the sweet potato, grated garlic and ginger, and cook for a further minute, before adding in 2 tablespoons of harissa, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 tin of tomatoes and half a tin of water. Bring to the boil and then turn down low and simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.
- While the tagine is simmering, you can start making the couscous (see recipe below).
- After 10 minutes, add the chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid off.
- When the tagine is cooked, add 3 tablespoons of roughly chopped coriander and the juice of half a lemon.
- Serve sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and coriander and with the Lemon and Coriander Couscous
- While the tagine is cooking, make the couscous. Place the couscous in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover with a lid (I find a plate works well, or you could use tin foil) and leave for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, fluff the couscous up with a fork and cover and leave for another 5 minutes.
- After the couscous has had 10 minutes in total, add the chopped coriander, juice and zest of 1 lemon, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 50g of flaked almonds, plus salt and pepper to taste.
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