In my quest for new ideas for vegan recipes, I’ve realized that I need to explore other cultures that are less dairy-dependent than the cuisines of Italy and France – my two long-time favorites. Our fridge was short on fresh veggies, so I needed to make a pantry-centric dinner one night last week . . . and started looking for inspiration at recipes from Morocco.
I decided to call this Chicken-Free Tagine, even though I didn’t have the gorgeous tagine (or tajine) pot I read about – just my super-versatile skillet. So, even though this wasn’t made in an “authentic” way, I discovered I really didn’t need to invest in a $199 tagine pot from Sur La Table in order to experiment a bit with a new cuisine!
I decided that Gardein Chick’n Scallopini would be the best plant-based stand-in for cluck-cluck chicken in this recipe. I like this product because it is vegan and gluten-free, and kind of resembles a flattened boneless chicken breast. Each scallopini weighs in at 71 grams, and delivers 9 grams of plant-based protein for a mere 100 calories.
Since I wanted to up the protein content of this meal, I decided to pair the main dish with some whole grains and legumes. Probably the Moroccan dish all of us are most familiar with is couscous. I used organic whole wheat couscous (which is still super quick to cook), and added canned organic garbanzos, organic raisins, and slivered almonds, for some sweetness and crunch. My guesstimate is that a serving of the couscous side delivered another 7 to 8 grams of protein, bringing the total protein in the meal up to a respectable 16-17 grams of plant-based protein.
My Chicken-free Tagine, may not be authentic, but I’m glad I didn’t wait until I owned a tagine pot to invent it. It has a delicious mix of flavors, colors, and textures and my family really enjoyed it. In fact, it was so quick and easy to prepare that I can confidently classify it among my 30 minute weeknight meals.
Do you have ideas for other cultures I should explore in my quest for new vegan recipes? Please let me hear from you!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2-3 stalks organic celery hearts, thinly sliced
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Zest and juice of one organic lemon
- 1 cup organic whole wheat couscous
- 1½ cups boiling water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 15-ounce can organic garbanzos, rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup organic raisins
- 1 package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini, frozen
- ⅓ cup halved green olives
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- Heat a large skillet. Add the olive oil and saute the onion slices until translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
- Add celery, roasted red peppers, and artichoke hearts. Salute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the white wine, turmeric, smoked paprika, optional cayenne, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest. Let cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the couscous in a small lidded saucepan, and cover with boiling water. Stir in the salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 5-6 minutes. Taste to make sure it is done and turn off the heat. Stir in the drained garbanzos and golden raisins, cover, and let the flavors mellow while you turn your attention back to your skillet.
- Place the four frozen scallopini in the skillet and cover with the hot sauce. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat for two minutes. Turn each of the scallopini over the cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Add the green olives and chopped parsley to the skillet; taste and correct seasonings.
- Turn the heat on under the couscous for just a minute or so and then garnish with the slivered almonds.