This vegan lentil sweet potato tagine evokes the voluptuous flavors of Morocco, with a tantalizing interplay of sweet, spicy, salty, tangy and savory. Serve it over a bed of couscous or quinoa for a cozy, nutrient-rich meal!
Table of Contents
What is a tagine?
The word "tagine" (pronounced tuh-jean) refers both to a Moroccan clay cooking dish with a conical lid and the stew that's cooked in it. A tagine is simple to make but complexly flavored, with sweet, spicy, salty, tangy and savory all doing a delicious tango with your tastebuds. This cozy stew is also a great hunger satisfier.
I have shared with you at least two vegan tagine recipes before, including chickpea tagine and jackfruit "lamb" tagine. This lentil sweet potato tagine checks is just as yummy. It is loaded with good-for-you veggies, rich in flavor and nutrients, and served over a bed or rice or couscous it makes for an absolutely divine dinner.
Why you will love this vegan lentil sweet potato tagine
- Rich flavor and amazing textures. The tagine has so much slow-cooked flavor (without the long time needed to actually slow-cook) from the spices, garlic and onions. The sweet potatoes are silky, the lentils are perfectly tender and hearty, and the sauce is thick and creamy.
- Short cooking time. Tagines are traditionally slow cooked, but this tagine needs just about 15 minutes to simmer after all the ingredients are in the pot -- as long as it takes for the sweet potatoes to become tender. The flavors continue to develop as the tagine stands, so this dish tastes even better the next day!
- Soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free recipe. You can easily make the recipe oil-free (see section on special diets below for instructions).
- Brown lentils or green lentils. You can use a 14-oz can of lentils, or cook ½ cup dried lentils from scratch.
- Extra virgin olive oil or any oil of your choice.
- Vegetables, including onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Spices, including ground cumin, ground black pepper, ground allspice, ground cardamom, paprika, turmeric and cayenne.
How to make lentil sweet potato tagine
Place the onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saute pan or Dutch oven. Add a pinch of salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Saute over medium heat until onions soften, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the spices to the pot: ground cumin, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, ground cardamom and ground allspice. Mix and saute for another minute or until the spices are very aromatic.
Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste.
Add the sweet potatoes and drained, cooked or canned lentils to the pot along with 1 ½ cups of the lentil cooking liquid or vegetable broth or water.
Mix and bring the tagine to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot, turn heat down, and let the tagine simmer until the sweet potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Check for salt and add more if needed. Sprinkle parsley over the tagine. Serve hot or warm.
Tweaks for special diets
- Oil-free: Saute the onions and garlic in ¼ cup vegetable stock until soft.
- Low-carb: Swap out the sweet potatoes with bell peppers or zucchini.
- Adjust the spices up or down to suit your tastebuds. A teaspoon of cayenne could be too hot for some people and not hot enough for others, so tweak the amount to the level you are comfortable with.
- Use the lentil cooking water, if you cooked the lentils from scratch, instead of water or vegetable stock.
- Use green lentils or chickpeas instead of brown lentils. You will have just-as-great results.
- Use a spice mix instead of individual spices. If you have a jar of the aromatic Moroccan spice mix ras el hanout on hand, skip the other spices and use two teaspoons of the ras el hanout. Add more if you want more flavor.
- Refrigerate: The vegan tagine can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days.
- Freeze: Freeze the tagine in a freezer-safe container for up to four months.
- Reheat: Reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave until heated through.
If you make this recipe, please leave a star rating and comment below. I love hearing from you!
Vegan Lentil Sweet Potato Tagine
- Dutch oven or large saute pan
- ½ cup dried brown lentils (or one 14-oz can of brown lentils)
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium red onions (thinly sliced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
- 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- 1 large sweet potato (cut in ⅓-inch cubes)
- 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped, for garnish)
- If using dried lentils, place lentils in a saucepan, cover with two inches of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and let the lentils cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Strain the lentils before using, but reserve the cooking water.
- Place the onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saute pan or Dutch oven. Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Saute over medium heat until onions soften, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the spices to the pot: ground cumin, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, ground cardamom and ground allspice. Mix and saute for another minute or until the spices are very aromatic.
- Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Add the sweet potatoes and drained, cooked or canned lentils to the pot along with 1 ½ cups of the lentil cooking liquid or vegetable broth or water.
- Mix and bring the tagine to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pot, turn heat down, and let the tagine simmer until the sweet potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Check for salt and add more if needed. Sprinkle parsley over the tagine. Serve hot or warm.