Make Ahead

Warming Winter Squash Tagine

March 11, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinstein
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

A tagine is both a Moroccan dish and the vessel in which it is cooked. I don't own a tagine, but I love to make tagine, nonetheless. This dish provides substance, spice, and warmth for very little money and not a great deal of effort. Plus, it tastes even better when made ahead of time. The results are a delicious showstopper, ready for a feast to celebrate any occasion. —allyeats

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 medium winter squash (such as butternut or kabocha), chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 can chick peas, drained
  • 1 handful dried apricots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  1. Heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan with a well-fitted lid (or a tagine, if you have one!) over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft but not browned, about five minutes. Add the spices and stir until they are fragrant -- they should really be swoon-worthy.
  2. Add the squash and stir all the vegetables together to coat them in the spices. Add the chick peas, apricots, and enough water to come almost to the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-30 minutes, as long as it takes for the squash to be squashable with a wooden spoon but not so long that everything is falling apart. Add salt to taste.
  3. While the tagine is simmering away, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread the couscous out in a shallow baking dish. Cover with boiling water and let sit for five minutes, until the couscous soaks up all the liquid. With a fork, stir in some salt to taste, plus the chopped almonds and the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Put the dish in the oven to warm through and get a little brown and irresistibly crunchy on top.
  4. Once the couscous and tagine are ready, dish up, top with chopped parsley, and present to your adoring friends.
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25 Reviews

Bradley April 26, 2020
Just made this for dinner and it was super delicious and very easy. The hardest part was preparing the kabocha squash...those suckers are hard as rock. Once I got past that, no problem. I also found that a 1/2 cup of dried garbanzos (soak and drain, please) = 1 can. Also, I didn't have any couscous in the house (what was I thinking?), but brown rice did just fine. Add a slice of homemade sourdough bread with butter, and we are happy campers. There was nothing wrong with any of this, and I hope to correct the couscous situation soon.
Tara T. January 18, 2016
When making ahead do you combine everything or make the couscous when ready to serve? Hoping to try this one this weekend!
allyeats January 19, 2016
Hi Tara! You could definitely make the tagine ahead of time; it will taste even better that way. For the couscous, I would soak it ahead of time and then add the olive oil and put it in the oven to get a little toasty while you reheat the tagine. They should take about the same amount of time.
Katherine B. October 24, 2015
Made this dish tonight using an acorn squash. It was delish. Left out the dried thyme, added more cumin and cinnamon, plus salt. Loved the crunchy couscous. Accompanied the meal with a Spanish Rioja.
allyeats November 6, 2015
I'm so excited to be getting back into the season for this dish!
Doug March 7, 2015
Ally, thanks for the terrific recipe. I made it without the dried apricots, and substituted tamari flavored almonds--the result was sublime!
allyeats March 19, 2015
Oh I'm so glad you liked it!
Bluejade November 15, 2014
Great warm vegetarian recipe on a cold night. I cooked this in a 12-inch pan and used almost all of a large butternut squash.I put in about 1 to 1 1/2 cups water. It took about 30 minutes to cook. I am wondering if you could provide the amount of squash in cups; that would be helpful. Next time, I think I will use a mix of garbanzo beans and white navy beans. I may also add a 1/2 cup of chopped sweet red pepper. I had Asian Sweet Chilli Sauce on the table to use for an extra kick. I think many types of dried fruit could be used: cranberries, pears, or prunes would all add to the flavor as well. Thanks for inspiring me!
Barbara January 29, 2014
What i did for this because we dont eat much couscous - I used one box of the plain Near East couscous, spread it in one layer in a 13x9 and then used the stated amount of boiling water stated on the box. No soupiness and enough to feed my family of three with left overs
KarenG January 29, 2014
So disappointed in this recipe. We found it bland and watery. The best thing about it was the couscous. Will not be making it again.
allyeats January 29, 2014
Hi Karen,
I'm so sorry to hear that the recipe didn't turn out well for you. Perhaps I should have put a specific amount of water, but it really depends on the size of pan you use. The tagine should be pretty thick, like a stew, not brothy. I agree that with too liquid a sauce, it would lose a lot of its complexity. I hope you'll try it again some time with less water. Thanks for the feedback!
Barbara January 27, 2014
I made this tonight. Delicious. My 12 year old came for seconds
allyeats January 27, 2014
Yay for kids loving vegetables!
Jane T. December 19, 2013
I made this for my now vegan daughter home from college on winter break. I wanted to make her something delicious and nutritious. She said it was the perfect winter food and she didn't know the name of the dish! It was yummy and fun to make. I think I got to much water in the tagine and the flavors could have been a tad stronger. Great recipe for the vegans in your life and everyone else too
allyeats December 19, 2013
Glad you enjoyed it! My husband and I don't eat much meat, and I love meals like this that are vegetarian without being too austere.
ortolan November 16, 2013
I should also say that I cooked my tagine in a dutch oven, which caramelized the vegetables a bit. Here's what mine looked like--it has less of the crisp, bright, steamed beauty of allyeats's photo, but all of the depth of slightly caramelized vegetables:
ortolan November 16, 2013
Okay, I served this over tricolor couscous and it is an AMAZING recipe. perfectly spiced and balanced, so delicious, easy to make. This is easy one of my favorite recipes of all time. Thank you!
allyeats November 17, 2013
I'm so glad you liked it!
ortolan November 14, 2013
I'm going to make this and serve it over "cauliflower couscous!" Very excited, will update on the results.
allyeats November 15, 2013
Ooh, I haven't tried cauliflower couscous. Sounds great.
LeeLeeBee November 14, 2013
This recipe looks fantastic and I'm planning to make it tonight!
allyeats November 14, 2013
I'd love to hear how it turns out!
LeeLeeBee January 12, 2014
Whoops, I forgot to reply! Although I made the mistake of adding too much water, this recipe was great! I might add a little cumin next time, but it's going into our rotation.
aargersi November 14, 2013
Congratulations! This looks wonderful. Adoring friends :-)
allyeats November 14, 2013
Hey, thanks!