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Moroccan cuisine is some of the most colorful, flavorful, diverse cooking you might ever come across. To put it simply, Moroccan food blends sweet and savory ingredients with a variety of pleasant, earthy spices. Since Morocco is located on the North African tip, the food here is influenced by Egyptian Mediterranean cooking to the east, Portuguese and Spanish cuisine to the north, French cooking from its past European colonization, and varied African foods to the south. Also, for centuries, Ara…

people have been known to bring spices from their travels around the world and with trade from China.

Couscous with meat and vegetables can be considered the national dish of Morocco, but it’s worth it to explore as many Moroccan recipes as you can. In the Moroccan culture, cooking isn’t just for a special occasion. Breaking bread is customarily a communal activity all over Morocco. The entire dinner party shares a variety of main courses served with bread for scooping up lentils, veggies, and sauce. And as a side note, since Moroccan food is typically low in fat and sodium, there are tons of healthy recipes for you to sample.

Moroccan Tagine

Tagine is probably the most recognizable dish in Moroccan cuisine. A tagine is an earthenware cooking vessel, and that also happens to seal heat, so your food stays warm longer. Chicken tagine or lamb tagine is similar to a stew with veggies, olive oil, sauce, and lots of seasonings. It’s prepared by simmering on the stovetop for several hours. What’s so special about this world-famous dish is that there are so many ways different Moroccan recipes to explore with your own family tagine set. One of the most simple tagine dishes is chicken with lemon and olives. It’s classic Mediterranean fare made with saffron, turmeric, ginger, and preserved lemons and olives. Some chefs from the region swear by rubbing your chicken down with lots of seasonings, like garlic, paprika, cumin, and pepper and allowing the meat to marinate for a few hours before combining your remaining ingredients in a simmering skillet.

Lamb is very popular in Moroccan cuisine. And it’s delicious when cooked with spiced prunes in a sauce made with butter, olive oil, onions, and honey. This dish is flavored with ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and pepper. You can top it with toasted sesame seeds, pine nuts, or fried almonds. While it is popularly served for special occasions in Northern Africa, you and your family can enjoy it whenever you want.

Not everyone owns a tagine, and that’s OK. You can make tagine recipes in a crockpot, too. But after the family finally gets to sample your Moroccan-style tagine recipes, don’t be surprised when you run out and buy your own set.

Moroccan Couscous

Not only is couscous considered one of the national dishes of Morocco, but it’s also part of a unique family tradition in the country. It's like our weekly Sunday night family dinners. To make an authentic Moroccan couscous dish, you will want to shop for the freshest vegetables you can find. These six veggies are typically used in Moroccan cooking: carrots, eggplant, parsnips, zucchini, and cabbage. Before serving, top your couscous with chicken or beef, lentils, and chickpeas, and place plenty of khobz (a type of flatbread) on the table for everyone to use to scoop up their savory grain, veggie, meat, and sauce dish.

Moroccan Legumes

Moroccan cuisine is chock full of dishes featuring with beans, chickpeas, and lentils. So if you’re a fan of lentil soup, then you have to try your hand at a hearty Moroccan lentil stew. You’ll want to go to your specialty market to pick up lots of fresh herbs, vegetables, and seasonings, like paprika, oregano, cumin, butternut squash, onion, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, and spinach. This savory soup has very little prep time and is finished cooking in under one hour. Before serving, spritz some lemon juice over the piping hot soup.

Chickpea chicken is another easy-to-make Moroccan dish that will fool your family into thinking you’ve been slaving for hours. You need turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cayenne to coat the chicken. And then combine garbanzo beans, green onions, soup broth, pitted green olives, and ginger for simmering with the cooked chicken. This entree goes well with lots of different grain or vegetable side dishes, like a juicy orange salad or even heaps of dried fruit. If this spicy Moroccan chickpea tagine is too spicy for you or your guests, use less cayenne pepper.

When your family is sitting around a large table and enjoying your authentic feast, be sure to serve Moroccan mint tea using loose gunpowder tea, spearmint leaves, and plenty of sweetener.

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