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Next Steps Tagine

Claire Wright

In season now

Serves: 4


1 tbsp oil

Diced chicken breast or veggie alternative, about 50-80g per person (optional)

1 bag of cubed frozen squash or sweet potato (or fresh diced squash or sweet potato) - or see other veg suggestions below

1 tin chickpeas

1 tbsp Moroccan spice mix (or use a mix of 2 or more of: 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp turmeric)

1 tin chopped tomatoes (or 1 jar of tomato sauce)

A handful of chopped dried apricots, prunes or dried figs (optional)

Juice of ½ a lemon (optional)

A handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Cooked couscous or flatbreads, to serve


We suggest you do this in stages, slowly, and go as far as works for your family, here’s how your final recipe might come together…


  1. Get a big saucepan or frying pan on a medium heat and add 1 tbsp of oil – give it a minute to get hot, then add the chicken or veggie alternative (if using), cook for 5 mins until browned and add the fresh diced squash or sweet potato or other veg (or frozen later, if you prefer), drained tin of chickpeas and the spices or spice mix. Try cooking fresh veg with the meat to soften first like: diced carrots, onions and/or celery, sliced leeks or mushrooms, diced sweet potato or butternut squash, diced or sliced peppers, cherry tomatoes, diced courgette or aubergine… Alternatively, add fresh leafy greens right at the end before serving so it just wilts in for the last minute of cooking time.

  2. Stir together and cook for another 5 mins, then add the chopped tomatoes, refill the tin with water and pour into the pan, then bring to the boil and turn the heat down fairly low to simmer for 20-30 mins, or until the sauce has reduced a little and the veg is cooked and softened.

  3. If using frozen veg, check timings for cooking on the packaging to know whether to add with the chopped tomatoes and give chunkier veg longer to cook, or whether to chuck in for the last few mins of cooking time for the smaller veggies. Try frozen veg like: diced sweet potato or butternut squash, chopped or whole leaf spinach, peas or sweetcorn, sliced carrots, grilled Mediterranean veg, mixed veg, sliced peppers or mushrooms, cauliflower or broccoli florets…

  4. Stir in the dried fruit and lemon juice (if using), then take off the heat and serve with couscous, warmed pitta breads or flatbreads, and scatter with fresh coriander, if you like.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating. Find out more here.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

Get younger kids rinsing the chickpeas in a sieve, measuring out the spices, using scissors or a butter knife to roughly chop the dried fruit and/or chucking a couple of handfuls of your chosen veg into the pan.

Older kids might be ready to learn how to chop some fresh veg to add at the start of the meal, stir everything together in the pan, and learning to taste (careful, it’s hot!) to determine whether to add the optional extras for flavours such as lemon, coriander, and dried fruit.

Master these skills:

Washing hands,  Weighing,  Tasting,  Mixing


Use arts & crafts as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. While you let your tagine simmer, why not set a child up with:

Carrot Face Mask

Carrot Veg Crown

Cut Out ‘n’ Colour Carrot

Carrot Launcher game

Get Over It puzzle

Find more arts & crafts and puzzles & games on our website.



Why not start with a whole butternut squash and explore the shape, colour and texture through sight and feel. Get your child to describe what they feel and see – maybe it’s hard or smooth, cold or bumpy, and maybe it looks like a big orange pear or a giant’s earring! Cut the squash in half lengthways and see what they think of the look and feel of the inside, too. See if they want to add some chopped squash into the tagine after having engaged with it.

Watch Ruth Platt’s video on sensory activities with butternut squash for more inspiration, or get more tips, games and videos over on our Sensory page.



Why not let your child be in charge of the plating up. Maybe leave out the dried apricot (if using) and coriander until the end, then let them help you spoon the couscous and tagine into bowls and scatter over the dried fruit and herbs.

Get more ideas over on our Roles for Kids page.

Claire Wright

Editor: After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English Literature, Claire worked in various fields ranging from youth work and charities to publishing, before starting up a food-focused website when her first child was born. After being asked to project manage the publication of Veg Power's Crowdfunder book, Claire came on board as a fully-fledged team member in 2018 to take on the role of Communications Manager, then Editor, looking after Veg Power's website, content, recipes and social media platforms.

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