the taste space

Tunisian Vegetable Ragout with Quinoa

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on November 7, 2011


Can I still call this Tunisian if I didn’t use harissa?

I had all intentions of making this with my home-made harissa, but when I found it again in my fridge, it had grown some mold. I guess I was a bit skimpy on the oil used to cover it? Who knows… I will have to investigate another way of saving it. Perhaps in the freezer, frozen in ice cubs trays like I save pesto? I didn’t have time to make more harissa, so I substituted my Aleppo chili flakes instead.


I was drawn to Susan’s recipe at Fat Free Vegan when I saw a nice medley of end-of-summer vegetables (zucchini, tomato and eggplant) with chickpeas simmered in a flavourful sauce including smoked paprika, allspice, cumin and cinnamon.. and (the missing) harissa.  I prefer currants to raisins (texture issues, mainly) and they still added a subtle sweetness to this lovely vegetable ragout. I initially served it with the garlicky quinoa, but later gravitated to serving it overtop chopped Romaine leaves, turning it into a delicious salad. It worked surprisingly well!

While I have posted a few eggplant dishes, I have never microwaved it like I did here. It was a neat way to partially cook it without any oil. It also didn’t have any of the bitter aftertaste people can complain about. When it was combined with all the other veggies in the delicious sauce, you almost didn’t even know it was there.


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Anh from A Food Lover’s Journey and to My Kitchen, My World for Tunisia.

Tunisian Vegetable Ragout with Quinoa

1 medium eggplant or 2-3 Asian eggplants (3/4 lb total), cut into 1-cm cubes
1 large onion, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes or 1-2 tsp harissa
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 medium zucchini (1 lb), quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup vegetable broth
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped)
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Cover a large plate with unbleached coffee filters or paper towels. Toss the eggplant in a bowl with a little salt, and arrange it on top of the filters. Microwave for about 8 minutes on high, while proceeding with the rest of the recipe. (Note: You can skip this step and sauté the eggplant along with the onion. Allow additional cooking time as needed to fully cook eggplant.)

2. Sauté the onion on medium heat in a large non-stick pot until it begins to brown, adding a little water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add all spices, including cinnamon stick, and stir for another minute. Add the zucchini, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, raisins, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the eggplant and cherry tomatoes. Cover and cook on low while quinoa is cooking.

3. Heat a medium-sized nonstick pot. Add the rinsed quinoa, and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the quinoa is fairly dry. Add the vegetable broth and garlic, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Cook until quinoa absorbs all of the water, about 15 minutes. (If quinoa is tender and doesn’t seem to absorb all the water, remove the cover and turn up the heat for a few minutes.) Keep lid on pot and allow to steam until ready to use.

4. Remove cinnamon stick from vegetable ragout. Spread a bed of quinoa on each plate and top with ragout.

Serves 6.

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17 Responses

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  1. Caitlin said, on November 7, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    what a lovely ragout, janet! you can still call it tunisian without the harissa ;) it is such a pain when you count on an ingredient for a recipe, and then you find mold growing on it! ugh ;(

  2. laceythevegan said, on November 7, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    This is my favorite FFV recipe; I make it all the time. I’ve never use harissa since I can’t buy it anywhere around here. I substitute sambal olek and instead of cumin/paprika/turmeric I use a fat free panang curry paste that I like. This is a really great recipe :)

  3. Ashley said, on November 7, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Freezing it in an ice cube tray sounds like a good idea. Though whenever I do that with tomato paste or chipotle puree, I always forget about it and never use it. I’ve never microwaved eggplant before either, interesting idea! I think I’d love this dish with either garlicky quinoa or Romaine. Both ways sound delicious!

  4. Cathy said, on November 7, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    Wow, I think this will be going into heavy rotation at my house! I love Tunisian stews, and the addition of quinoa makes it even better.

  5. Joanne said, on November 7, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    And here we have ANOTHER dish of Susan’s that I’ve been meaning to make! I say you can still call it Tunisian…I doubt that ONE condiment really makes all the difference. Delicious and oh so veggiefull!

  6. Dawn said, on November 8, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Wow this looks amazing. I so would love to make this right now.

  7. anh@anhsfoodblog.com said, on November 14, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Colorful, healthy with lots of spices. I can see myself making this again, and again! Thanks for joining WHB!

  8. [...] Cabbage from Spache The SpatulaRoasted Garlic and Root Veggie Soup from Not Your Parents Granola:Tunisian Vegetable Ragout with Quinoa from Taste the Space:Raw Cinnamon Cashew Spread & a Smoothie from We Heart Vegan:How many hours [...]

  9. lauren @ spiced plate said, on November 16, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Oh my — all my favorite ingredients and spices in one dish! I’m a sucker for ragouts….this one looks especially lovely. Thanks for sharing with us — I’m glad I found your blog!

  10. mrsduby said, on November 16, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    this looks delicious AND healthy !!! is it spicy ?

    • janet @ the taste space said, on November 16, 2011 at 8:50 PM

      I didn’t use the harissa, so it wasn’t spicy at all. Harissa can definitely vary in heat so if you are spicy-averse (like me!) add to taste. :)

      • mrsduby said, on November 16, 2011 at 9:02 PM

        oh great! Thanks so much for replying ….

        something tells me i’ll be making this very soon :)

      • janet @ the taste space said, on November 16, 2011 at 9:22 PM

        No problem. Definitely let me know how it turns out. :)

  11. Corina said, on November 19, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    This looks lovely. I was considering making harissa for my MKMW entry but in the end also made something without harissa. If I do get around to making some at home I’ll make sure I add enough oil now!

  12. Ellen Lederman said, on December 17, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Janet, if I did make your homemade harissa, how much would you recommend using? The full batch? (I love spicy meals.) Would any of the other ingredients be cut out?

    • janet @ the taste space said, on December 17, 2011 at 5:15 PM

      Hey Ellen, My homemade harissa is quite mild, so I would suggest starting with 2tbsp and then see how much more you can tolerate! I would omit the chili flakes but otherwise keep all the other spices. Let me know how it goes! :)

  13. […] Tunisian Vegetable Ragout with Quinoa (from The Taste Space) […]


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