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Vegetable Tagine

Vegetable tagine (North African stew) is simple, cheap and delicious. It is easy to adapt, simple to add veg to, and can be batch cooked to save time and money for the future, too! We’ve gathered some expert tips and small steps to help you take a basic spiced veg stew from good to great!

Why is Veg Tagine so great?

Veg tagine is simple, cheap and delicious. It’s focus on sweeter veg, dried fruit and flavours such as cinnamon suit children’s palates very well and it is easy to add veg to without changing the flavour or texture of the dish too much. By adding more veg and less meat, you’ll make your money go further all while eating better.

Its adaptability means tagine can be as healthy, cheap, easy and quick as you choose to make it, meaning it’s a perfect basic family recipe to have under your belt to make small tweaks to over time.

You can make a big batch of tagine and freeze for up to 3 months to have it on hand for quick dinners, especially since it is traditionally served with super quick sides like couscous or warmed pitta or flatbreads.

Use the basic recipe, small tweaks and tips below to take your veg stew from good to better!

How are your tagine skills?

Getting
started

I’m just starting out.

Next
Level

I’m ready to take it to the next level.

Engaging
Kids

How can I get my kids involved and interested?

Getting Started

Tagine is simple, cheap and delicious.

Its sweet flavours go down well with kids, and it is easy to add veg to without changing the flavour or texture of the dish. By adding more veg and less meat, you’ll make your money go further all while eating better.

Here is a simple recipe for veg (and meat, if you want) tagine which you can use as a base and build on over time…

Simple Tagine

Claire Wright

Effort:
Complexity:
Cost:

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil

Diced chicken breast or veggie alternative, about 80-100g per person

1 bag of cubed frozen squash or sweet potato (or fresh diced squash or sweet potato), optional

1 tin chickpeas (optional)

1 jar tomato or tagine-style 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

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Not made a tagine before, or not ready to try the next steps? Start here!

Method:

  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, cook for 5 mins until browned, then add the frozen squash or sweet potato if using (or fresh, if you prefer), and drained tin of chickpeas (if using).

  2. Stir together and cook for another 5 mins, then add the sauce into the pan, 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 meat is cooked through.

  3. 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.

There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step.

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.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

The eventual aim, if possible, is to get kids in the kitchen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean they are with you from start-to-end creating mess and rising stress levels! It can be as simple as giving them one small job (stirring, measuring, pouring, grating, chopping…) ideally involving veg. They can come in to do their little bit, and have fun with you for a few minutes. Getting them involved, making it playful and praising them plenty for their involvement, perhaps even serving it as dinner they “made”, makes it much more likely they will eat the food offered, not to mention teaching them important life skills. Find ideas, safety tips, videos and even a free chart in our Kids in the Kitchen section here.

Activities

Activities

While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.

Sensory

Sensory

Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.

Serving

Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

NEXT LEVEL

I Want To Improve My Tagine

If you are feeling confident with your favourite tagine recipe, but you’re wondering if there are some small tweaks you could make for the better, this is for you.

We’ve outlined some simple stages for continually improving on a basic tagine to get you from good to great. Find where you feel your current recipe sits and see if the next step is something you could aim for. You don’t have to go any further, but if you choose to, make sure you are feeling confident with this new stage before you try the next one.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

Better Sauce

Making meals go further

Add veg

Batch cooking

engaging kids

Play is essential!

Think of children helping in the kitchen as a role play game with plenty of fun for maximum effect. One of the best ways to develop a love of veg in kids is to get them involved in the prep of the veg. Not only is cooking an essential life skill for kids to learn, but it’s a great, fun way to get them engaging with healthy foods!

Cooking with kids

Arts & crafts

Games & puzzles

Sensory

Serving

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