Lemon Veggie Tagine

The first time I ate preserved lemons was in the Lemon Chicken Tagine recipe that came with my Le Creuset tagine and WOW was it a revelation! Lemony but also a mouthwateringly salty flavor, not at all the sour tang that usually accompanies lemon. Since I am currently on a vegan kick I took out the chicken and added a bunch of healthy veggies! This makes a great main course whether you are vegetarian or not. It can be served alongside whole grains if desired, try brown rice or brown rice noodles. Also, I had one taste tester request for this dish to be spicy. Feel free to toss in some roasted red pepper flakes if you want it with a kick. This can be done after it is dished up so not everyone has to have it spicy. Notes: - Degorging the eggplant is a very important step and shouldn’t be skipped. I made this once without doing it and the whole tagine tasted awfully bitter. If you do not want to use eggplant you can replace it with extra zucchini and carrots. - If following an Engine 2 diet, omit the olive oil and and use steam sauté technique with vegetable stock. - If you are using home-cooked beans instead of canned, great! Just measure out 1.5 cups, that's about how much is in a can. - This recipe makes 2 large servings or 4 small servings, depends on how hungry you are! If you serve it with brown rice or brown rice noodles then it is definitely 4 servings. - If you don't have a tagine you can use a saucepan or dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. If the lid has one of those vent holes in it to vent out steam, or doesn't fit properly just make sure to keep an eye on the liquid level so this doesn't burn. It is a stew so it should cook in a good amount of liquid.

Makes: 2-4 servings

Preparation time: 20m
Cooking time: 20m
Total time: 1h20m


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (Engine 2: omit this and use steam sauté technique with vegetable stock)
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 5 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 large carrot (chopped into 1/4" thick rounds)
  • 1 celery stalk (diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (divided)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 preserved lemon (this should be 4 pieces/quarters if you followed my recipe for preserving lemons)
  • 2 cups chopped eggplant (about 1 medium globe or Italian eggplant)
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt (e.g. coarse kosher salt)
  • 1 zucchini (chopped into 1/2”thick half moons)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained )
  • 2 cups hearty greens (arugula/chard/collard greens/kale/spinach/etc)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Equipment: tagine (or saucepan with lid), colander or grate to drain eggplant on


  1. Heat the olive oil in the tagine over medium high heat then add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery then sauté until they are just beginning to brown (3-5 minutes).
  2. Add the turmeric, 2 tablespoons of cilantro and vegetable stock then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Rinse the lemon pieces in cold water then cut away and discard the flesh. You will be cooking with the lemon rind. Slice the rind into thin strips and stir these into the dish.
  4. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables soften. Keep the heat as low as possible to maintain the simmer.
  5. Meanwhile, chop the eggplant into 1” cubes and degorge it. This is done by generously sprinkling salt onto the chopped pieces and letting the water drain from them. Place the salted eggplant in a colander or on a grate above a bowl or sink to let the liquid drain away. Let the eggplant sit in the salt and drain for about 20 minutes then rinse off the salt in cold water and gently squeeze out any excess liquid.
  6. While the eggplant is degorging, chop the zucchini into 1/2” pieces, and drain the garbanzo beans.
  7. After the 30 minutes cooking time is up, stir in the eggplant, zucchini and garbanzo beans, making sure they are well mixed in. Then cover, turn up the heat to return to a simmer. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Once the simmer is reached you can turn the heat back down to the lowest temperature needed to keep it simmering. You will end up with a lot of eggplant sitting above the sauce so every 10 minutes give it a stir just to make sure all of the eggplant has a turn in the sauce.
  8. The sauce consistency should be thick, if you have a lot of liquid left then remove the lid, and cook uncovered for a few minutes to thicken. Just do not let all the liquid cook off, this is a stew after all.
  9. Toss the hearty greens in cook for about 30-60 seconds just to wilt them.
  10. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of cilantro and parsley.
  11. Serve with brown rice or brown rice noodles.

See recipe for INLINE-LINK-START title="How To: Preserve Lemons" href="../../howtos/how-to-preserve-lemons" target="_blank">How To: Preserve Lemons INLINE-LINK-END