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Ainsley Harriott’s Squash and Sweet Potato Tagine with Lemon and Pistachio Couscous

This Moroccan-inspired tagine, as seen on ITV's Ainsley's Mediterranean Cookbook, is quick and easy, yet makes for a delicious vegan lunch or dinner. If you don't have squash and sweet potato, you can use any root vegetables you happen to have in your fridge.

From the book


Squash and sweet potato work beautifully with earthy, aromatic Moroccan spices and saffron. This is a quick tagine that makes for an easy, yet impressive vegan lunch or dinner. Feel free to mix up the veggies. The zesty couscous is simple to prepare and makes a perfect side to tagines and stews.

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For the tagine:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into 1.5cm pieces
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
a pinch dried chilli flakes
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
a pinch saffron
500g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks
450g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks
500ml vegetable stock
50g sultanas
a handful fresh coriander, chopped
a large handful baby spinach leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the couscous:
200g couscous
300ml hot vegetable stock
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp roughly chopped pistachio nuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


First, prepare the tagine. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan with a lid over a low–medium heat, add the onion and fry for 4–6 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic, ginger and pepper and cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the spices and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring, until fragrant. Add the squash and sweet potato and stir well to coat in the spices. Pour in the stock, add the sultanas and season generously. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil, then cover the pan with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Stir through half of the coriander.

Meanwhile, make the couscous. Place the couscous in a bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock or boiling water. Cover and leave for 5–10 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Fluff the couscous with a fork to separate the grains and let cool a little before stirring through the lemon juice, pistachios and fresh herbs. Season to taste and add a little extra-virgin olive oil, if needed.

Remove the lid from the tagine and scatter over the spinach leaves, cover and leave to wilt for 1 minute before stirring through.

Serve the tagine in warmed bowls with the couscous on the side, sprinkling both with the remaining coriander.


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From the book: Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook

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