Seven-spice butternut tagine recipe

Butternut squash is considered a superfood for its ability to boost immunity, support eye health, aid digestion and enhance ongoing cognitive function.

Few dishes can boast being both moreish – in that you just cannot ever have enough – and Moorish, as in pertaining to north African cuisine. Tagine is one of them. Try this delicious recipe.

By In Praise of Veg author Alice Zaslavsky

Serves 6

You’ll end up with more spice mix than you need, but the leftovers will stay fragrant in a jar for up to 2 months. Although ‘tagine’ actually refers to the specialty dish the ingredients are cooked in, there’s no need to shell out for more kitchenware: any cast-iron or shallow flame proof casserole dish with a lid will do.

Ingredients for butternut tagine recipe

1 medium butternut pumpkin (squash)
⅓ cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped, stems finely ­sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
¼ cup (50 g) sultanas or chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons dried barberries (optional)
400 g (14 oz) tin chickpeas, drained and ­rinsed
2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus extra to serve
2 red capsicums (peppers), cut into wedges
good pinch of salt flakes
½ cup (80 g) walnuts, lightly crushed
mint leaves, to garnish
lemon zest, to garnish
flatbreads or couscous, to serve

Ingredients for seven-spice mix (makes ½ cup) recipe

2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Method for seven spice butternut tagine recipe

Combine all the seven-spice ingredients in an airtight jar, giving it a shake to evenly distribute the spices.

Preheat the oven to 180°C(350°F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Using a sharp knife, chop your pumpkin in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds, then cut into quarters. Coarsely grate 1 cup (150 g) of the pumpkin and set aside, then chop the rest into 3­cm(1¼ inch) cubes.

Heat ¼ cup (60 ml) of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole or cast-iron dish over medium heat. Add the onion and parsley stems. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, or until the onion has ­softened and become translucent. Sprinkle in 1 ­tablespoon of the spice mix, scrape in the grated pumpkin, garlic, sultanas and barberries, if using.

Cook ­for 2 minutes, or until glossy and incorporated.

Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, and an extra 400 ml (14 fl oz) tin full of water.

Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, then transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour, or until the sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile, toss the diced pumpkin in a bowl with the capsicum and remaining olive oil, then spread across the baking tray. Scatter with salt flakes and roast for 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is cooked through and slightly golden.

Fold the roasted pumpkin and capsicum through the tagine. Scatter with the walnuts, chopped parsley leaves, mint leaves and lemon zest. Drizzle with extra olive oil and pomegranate molasses, then serve immediately with flatbreads or couscous.

Shortcut Instead of roasting the pumpkin and capsicum from scratch, use left-over roast veggies.

Double duty Heat the leftovers in an ovenproof dish, crack an egg or two in, and serve with toasted leftover flatbreads. Or, scoop any left-over couscous on ­top and reheat in the oven for a tagine ‘gratin’.

Recipe by Alice Zaslavsky - In Praise of Veg

Images and text from In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky, photography by Ben Dearnley. Murdoch Books RRP $65. To see more visit

Back to feed
Not yet a cardholder?

Start earning cashback today
with a Citro Card

It's easy:

1. Download the Citro App on the App Store or Google Play
2. Apply for your Citro Card
3. Link to your bank account and activate your Citro Card
4. Earn cashback to spend on whatever you want, whenever you want.

For a limited time only, enjoy the premium Citro membership for free!

Get more out of life.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Learn how we collect and use your information by visiting our Privacy policy