by contributor Julian De Zorzi

Moroccan Chickpea and Pumpkin Tagine with Mint and Preserved Lemon Infused Israeli Couscous; Harissa; Toasted Almond, Cilantro and Parsley Pesto



  • • 2 cinnamon sticks • 1 1/2 tsp cloves • 3 tbsp coriander seeds • 2 tsp cumin seeds • 1 tbsp ground turmeric • 6 cloves garlic, crushed • 3 1/2 ounces ginger, grated • 1 red Serrano chilli pepper, chopped • 3 tbsp olive oil • ½ white onion, chopped lengthwise • ½ red onion, chopped lengthwise • 1 can crushed tomatoes • 1 tbsp tomato paste • 1 lb / 500 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into large chunks • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas, about 1 lb., soaked overnight, drained, and cooked for 1 -1 1/2 hours until tender (or 1 ½ cans chickpeas, washed and drained) • 6 fingerling potatoes, peeled and quartered • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into rounds • ½ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped • ½ cup dried dates, roughly chopped • 2 small preserved lemons, roughly chopped • water • salt and pepper to taste

Israeli Couscous

  • • 2 ½ cups Isreali couscous •  4 cups water • Salt • Small hand-torn bunch of mint • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped

Toasted Almond, Cilantro and Parsley Pesto

• ½ cup raw almond pieces, toasted • 1tbsp olive oil • Small bunch parsley • Small bunch cilantro • 2 tsp lemon zest • 1 tbsp lemon juice • salt and pepper to taste • Harissa


  1. 1. Toast the cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cloves in small pan until fragrant. Combine with tumeric, ginger, serrano pepper and garlic and grind in coffee grinder (a mortar and pestle works well too).
  2. 2. In a clay Tagine pot (or Dutch oven) add oil and onions and sauté, 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to become translucent. Add spice mixture and sauté 1-2 minutes. Add Tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 5-7 minutes at medium-high heat. Bring tomatoes to a light boil and reduce heat.
  3. 3. Add pumpkin, chickpeas and potatoes and cook an additional 10-12 minutes on low- medium heat. Add enough water so that all ingredients are just barely submerged in liquid. Add carrots. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. 4. As the Tagine cooks, bring salted water and couscous to a boil. Turn off heat and allow couscous to sit covered in pot and absorb water, 5-10 minutes. Once all water is fully absorbed, add mint and lemon and set aside.
  5. 5. For the pesto, start by lightly toasting the almond pieces. Once toasted, combine with oil, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  6. 6. Uncover and test to see if potatoes are cooked through. When they are cooked through, add apricots and dates and cook at low heat for 3-5 minutes, uncovered. Add preserved lemons and cook for 3-5 additional minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. 7. To serve, spoon Tagine over couscous. Line the sides of each plate with the pesto and a few dollops of harissa and serve.