TechyGran is a veteran vegan who enjoys passing along healthy, tasty recipes.
A Delicious Vegetarian Meal
When you come home after a long day at work, wouldn't you like to arrive to something mouthwateringly fragrant, healthy, and satisfying? Well, this recipe for Moroccan vegetable stew in a slow cooker or Crock-Pot fits the bill. It is a welcoming stew featuring wonderful Middle-Eastern flavors, light on the hot peppers and leaning more to the delights of cinnamon with veggies in a comfort food mode. Soft, chewy, and yummy!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
8 hours 40 min
6 to 8 servings (1 cup each)
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped into quarters
- 1 to 2 medium onions (red or sweet), sliced into rounds
- 1 or more sweet red pepper, seeded and sliced into rounds
- 1 eggplant, sliced into semi-circles (leave peel on)
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into rounds
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup sauerkraut (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- Pinch cayenne
- 4 honey or medjool dates, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt (or kosher salt)
- Soak and wash vegetables in large bowl of clear water with 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar mixed in. Scrub and dry off.
- Chop and slice all vegetables (if preparing to put in the pot for supper, it is not a bad idea to do the chopping the night before and then to store in a bowl, covered with a clean cloth and a lid, in the fridge overnight. This saves a lot of time in the morning.)
- Layer all the chopped and sliced vegetables, beans, dates, and sauerkraut (if using) in the slow cooker pot.
- Mix together the various spices and salt. Add to the pot, covering as much of surface of vegetables as possible.
- Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the spices and vegetables. Put the lid on the slow cooker.
- Turn on slow cooker to medium or low and come back to eat it later!
- Cook up a pot of quinoa, brown rice or couscous and spoon the vegetables over the starch. Enjoy!
What Is Moroccan Cuisine?
I first sampled North African cuisine (Morocco is in Northern Africa) several years ago in an Okanagan city in British Columbia—it was either Penticton or Kelowna, I can't recall which. I do remember that we were feeling a little bored by the lack of interesting (and vegetarian) restaurant fare in the small, land-locked city. We were excited when we walked past the small eatery to smell the lovely fragrance of warm spices and fresh-baked flatbreads.
Moroccan cuisine is largely influenced by Berber and Mediterranean cooking.
Berbers refers to original tribes and ethnic groups from the "Berber homeland" in North Africa encompassed by the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River, and from Egypt's Siwa Oasis to the Atlantic Ocean. The Vandal/Roman invaders called the peoples "barbarians," and this name was echoed by the Muslim invaders. We have come to associate "barbarian" with the idea of ruthlessness and cruelty. There might be some link between the modern word and the strength and determination with which the Berbers attempted to defend the borders of their homelands against the streams of incoming colonialists.
Linguistically, the Berber language is part of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The original Berber language, like all world languages, has been reconstituted to include the languages of invaders and colonizers: Arabic, French and Spanish, mainly.
Berber food is described as being similar to Middle-Eastern food, only more heavily spiced. Spices commonly used in tagine (the traditional vegetable stew, as above, only cooked in an earthenware pot over an open fire) generally is spiced with ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and saffron. A more thorough study of the history of Berber foods will show who influenced who (was Berber couscous, for example, introduced into Middle Eastern eating, or the other way around?). That is beyond the scope of this article.
Watch the video below for more details on tagine and baking bread.
Most of us have a pretty good idea about Mediterranean diet and cuisine—or think we have! In fact, "Around 1975, under the impulse of one of those new nutritional directives by which good cooking is too often influenced, the Americans discovered the so-called Mediterranean diet. The name even pleased Italian government officials, who made one modification: changing from diet—a word which has always seemed punitive and therefore unpleasant—to Mediterranean cuisine."1 If you have traveled in the Mediterranean countries (those bordering on the Mediterranean Sea) you will have a good idea of the subtle, and even vast, differences in the diets of various peoples in the Mediterranean countries-- not to mention the liberties taken by those designing and naming the diet as it suits them.
During Medieval times, Moroccan Muslims invaded Spain by crossing the Strait of Gibralter and making their way up the Iberian Pennisula. Over time they converted and intermarried with some Christian Iberians whom Arabs named "Muladi". The 'pastilla' or pidgeon pie made its way from the Iberian peninsula into Morocco, as did many Sephardic Jewish dishes such as various stuffed vegetable dishes (see the stuffed peppers in the tajine in the video about Berbers above). Traditionally Jews do not mix milk and meat together. Couscous and pulses (chickpeas, lentils) are probably contributed to the Moroccan menu via the Sephardic Jewish cooking traditions.
Moroccans also invaded Sicily in the early 8th Century. They share various fruits and nuts in common in their food preparations, and again I find it difficult to tell from a perusal of various Internet sites to tell, unequivocally, whether the influences were Moroccan to Sicilly, Sicilly fused to Morocco, or perhaps mutual in many cases.
Besides the Berber and Mediterranean influences in their diet, Morocco was also a French Protectorate from 1912 to 1956. It would seem that French influence in the diet was mainly in the form of upping the amount of meat preparations. The French, on the other hand, welcomed many North African influences upon their gastronomy. The same can be said by the Indians who quite often do Indian-North African fusion restaurants, a great thrill for the vegetarians I know.
1Massimo Alberini, Giorgio Mistretta, Guida all'Italia gastronomica, Touring Club Italiano, 1984, p. 37.
Come Home to Deliciousness!
There is a lot more to be said about and for Moroccan food. The very fragrance of it cooking outdoors at festivals makes me joyful! There are many wonderful recipes on the Internet that will provide you with the cuisine bliss you may be looking for. If you are off to work and want to have a delightful comfort meal on your return, just throw together the ingredients here into your Crock-Pot and come home to an aromatic, delicious, low-fat, high-nutrition meal!
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on December 09, 2014:
Why, thank you Au Fait for dropping in, reading, voting and sharing this hub. I adore Middle Eastern food because I find it to be very warming and comforting, as you note. I do believe that it would be pleasant Christmas Eve fare, or great on a blustery day. Do you get blustery days in Texas? We had a huge rain storm last night and our church processed over 45 evacuues from the river- flooded camp site across the road today. It was a privilege to have our building chosen as the reception center and the volunteers who did the registration (for people to be put up in hotels, etc.) liked the fact that our church was so handy-dandy to where the most need was. I think a lot about your hubs on poor and homeless people these days and it would seem that we are getting more and more opportunities to step up and serve. God bless, Cynthia
C E Clark from North Texas on December 09, 2014:
This looks delicious! For some reason I always love something hearty and sort of a comfort food I guess, on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve has always been the main part of Christmas since I grew up. I think this recipe would be perfect for a blustery day or for a family time. Voted up, BAUI, and sharing with followers.
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 06, 2014:
Hi again Jerzimom! There is definitely nothing like "the real thing"! Hope you enjoy the convenience of the crockpot recipe! Thanks for pinning!
Cheryl Fay Mikesell from Mondovi, WI on September 06, 2014:
I ate at a Moroccan once when I visited California a few years ago. It was quite the experience since you got to eat.everything with your fingers. Great recipe. Pinning it.
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on June 24, 2014:
Thanks Cybershelley for your comments and sharing. I actually just cooked this up yesterday and my hubby and I enjoyed it for a couple of meals today (our retirement style of eating lol). Hope you enjoy it!
Shelley Watson on June 24, 2014:
Thank you for this recipe - it's a great simplified, tasty version which suits me so much better. Up, interesting, useful and pinned!
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on April 08, 2014:
Thank you for your kind words. I love Moroccan food cooked in the traditional way with the many spices and other ingredients-- I am flattered to think that you would review this adaptation so favourably. Cheers!
yourbodyweight on April 08, 2014:
My home country favorite food, it takes too long to cook it in here cause we use many more ingredients, but this one looks delicious and healthy as well, voted up
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 16, 2012:
thanks for the coming by LivingFood-- hope you enjoy it!
LivingFood on July 16, 2012:
Recipe looks delicious! TFS!!
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 03, 2012:
Thank you Om Paramapoonya-- I'm pretty much addicted to Moroccan right now and am a little steamed that I'm out of cinnamon and turmeric today! Hope it tastes nearly as good as the restaurant dish!
Om Paramapoonya on July 03, 2012:
Lovely recipe. This looks and sounds very similar to a dish served in my favorite Moroccan restaurant. Bookmarked, rated up and will give it a try soon :)
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 02, 2012:
It is delicious, and easypeasy... let me know if you try it out, how you like it tirelesstraveler!
Judy Specht from California on July 02, 2012:
Sounds delicious. Always looking for something easy to cook in the slow cooker.
Cynthia Zirkwitz (author) from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 02, 2012:
Hi Deep Metaphysical... good question... it's a nightshade like the peppers, potatoes and tomatoes... I'd just throw in another share of those, your favourites of course. I wonder if you have tried the Japanese eggplant? Long tubular plant but without the seeds and a somewhat different texture? I believe you could eliminate any vegs you didn't like and this still stands up well!
Deep Biswas from India on July 02, 2012:
Can I like substitute the Aubergine with something else? Hate Aubergine!