Sara Moulton's Moroccan Vegetable Stew

In Time for Your Vegetarian Holiday Feast

GMA Recipes Dinner
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: min

So many vegetables and so many "meaty" ones go into this stew that when I served this to my husband, the carnivore, he did not exclaim as I expected he might, "Where's the beef?"

It is a very satisfying stew flavored in the Moroccan style with "sweet spices" as well as cumin and ginger. The classic accompaniment would be couscous and there is a fast cooking -- 5 minutes! -- version you can find in the supermarket. My favorite part of this dish is the garnish or the harissa, a Tunisian chile paste. I have a homemade version (see below) or you could just top this off with your favorite hot sauce. This last touch really completes the stew.

Harissa is Tunisian chile paste which is used as a condiment most often with couscous dishes. It can be added to any dish that needs a little heat, such as the Moroccan Vegetable Stew. It would perk up a thick fish soup or dried bean dish or add a perfect touch of heat drizzled on grilled meat, fish or poultry.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (4 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (use a microplane)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 6 medium parsnips (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch
  • chunks
  • 1 15 1/2-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can vegetable broth
  • Harissa (recipe below)
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 small zucchini (12 to 14 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 5-ounce package washed baby spinach, coarse stems removed
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • Rinsed and dried chopped fresh cilantro or mint
  • Harissa
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers in water, drained or 2 medium red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • Cooking Directions

    Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the ginger, cinnamon stick, cumin, and allspice and cook 2 minutes. Add the parsnips, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, prepare the Harissa. Add the chickpeas and zucchini to the stew; simmer 5 minutes longer. Add the spinach and raisins and simmer just until spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the cinnamon stick.

    Ladle the stew into bowls and top each portion with some of the Harissa and cilantro.


    Combine the peppers, oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add additional salt and some black pepper, if desired.

    Makes 1 cup

    * Courtesy of Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: cumin, ginger, onion, cinnamon, parsnips, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas, zucchini, baby spinach, raisins

    Course: Appetizer/Starter, Dinner, Lunch, Soup, Vegetable

    More Info: Vegetarian

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