You’ve probably heard some version of this refrain over and over: To make food taste better without compromising nutrition, spices are key. But if you’re not quite sure how to use them, navigating those endless rows of seasonings at the store can seem pretty intimidating.
One delicious way to get it right? Make more of your dishes Moroccan! From cumin-heavy couscous and saffron-infused rice to harissa-spiked salads and cardamom meatballs, these 23 Moroccan recipes prove that North African cuisine knows its way around a spice rack.
Salads and Soups
Salads don’t always have to start with a pile of greens! Using shredded carrots instead of the usual kale/spinach/lettuce, this salad is brimming with eyesight-boosting beta-carotene, but you don’t need 20/20 vision to see that it’s also packed with tons of other nutrients from the chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, and fresh parsley that are tossed alongside the veggie.
Loaded with root veggies and chickpeas, seasoned with spicy harissa, and garnished with yogurt swirls and fresh herbs, this plant-based purée manages to be rustic and elegant all at once. Thanks to its filling, wholesome ingredients, and its easy Instant Pot prep method, it’s a no-brainer for busy weeknights.
Wondering how a soup that’s free of meat, dairy, gluten, and grains can still taste good? Two words: Moroccan seasonings. Dashes of cinnamon, cumin, allspice, and paprika add spicy, warming depth to this naturally sweet acorn squash and date blend. Whether you’re vegan, Paleo, or on the Whole30, you need this on your menu.
Combining watermelon, feta, and cucumbers with olive oil, parsley, and red onion, this salad is a tasty marriage of everyday Mediterranean and Moroccan ingredients. The flavors take the whole fusion thing a step further, since the fruit, herbs, and salty cheese make for the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
This eggplant-based dish is the Moroccan answer to both French ratatouille and Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, keeping the garlic and olive oil, but swapping out creamy tahini for lots of tangy tomato action. And like any good salad, it’s best served with bread on the side.
It isn’t a Moroccan meal without legumes. Using red lentils makes this soup especially authentic, but don’t worry if you have to use another kind. The garlic, cumin, and paprika will still give it plenty of North African flavor.
Don’t let ingredients like pomegranate seeds, tahini, and the classic Moroccan Ras el Hanout spice blend make you dismiss this salad as too "out there:" Not only is it incredibly easy, taking only about 10 minutes to put together, but every crunchy, creamy bite is well worth any extra effort it might take to find some of the items called for.
Soups that can double as main meals are a busy cook’s dream come true. This one, full of nourishing goodies like shredded chicken, quinoa, and squash, scores even more points for being extra delicious due to the cinnamon and cumin, and extra easy with the slow cooker’s help.
Morocco’s flagship grain is traditionally meant to be eaten only on Fridays, but when there are delicious recipes like this to be had, why limit your consumption of it to just one day? With plenty of chickpeas, veggies, and spices, this dish will have you going back for more multiple days this week.
A Moroccan rice dish isn’t complete without saffron, but just a few of these magenta strands go a long way to making this simple side really fragrant. Packed with dried fruits and nuts, kicked up with coriander and cardamom, and ready in 30 minutes, the final product is as exotic as it is easy.
We’re doing all sorts of things to cauliflower these days: ricing it, puréeing it into sauce, sticking it in smoothies. This recipe, however, reminds us that simply roasted florets are just as tasty, especially when topped with a creamy tahini drizzle and lightly toasted pistachios.
This gluten-free recipe is a delicious example of Moroccan cuisine’s ability to expertly incorporate fruit into savory dishes. With orange segments scattered into the pile of quinoa and almonds, each crunchy, nutty spoonful also comes with just enough juicy fruit flavor.
Next time you’re bringing the potato salad to a potluck or picnic, take a break from the often bland, mayo-drenched classic. This version, opting for healthier Greek yogurt plus olives, herbs, and Ras el Hanout for some much-needed zing, is much more interesting.
When chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans often take the spotlight, white beans get left in the lurch a bit. Moroccan cuisine does right by them here with the traditional loubia, where the protein-rich legumes are stewed in a richly spiced tomato sauce and sopped up with big hunks of bread.
Popular throughout Africa, this wheat variety is particularly tasty served up Moroccan-style with golden raisins, dried apricots, and orange zest. If you’ve never had the grain before, this is a freekeh’n delicious way to get acquainted.
Proving that eggplant doesn’t always have to be puréed or fried, this fun-to-eat side leaves the roasted halves intact. The dish looks fancy, but all it takes is a sheet pan and an oven for it to come together—even the spiced chermoula “sauce” on top is a no-cook recipe.
This may look like a Paleo spin on Italian pasta, but all the flavors couldn’t be more Moroccan. The sweet potato noodles are seasoned with cumin; the ground turkey is sautéed with chili powder and fennel; and instead of a marinara, there’s a parsley-studded yogurt sauce tying it all together.
These meatballs get their North African twist from the lamb at their base along with cinnamon, cardamom, and cilantro in the mix, and a tahini sauce on top. To round out the authentic effect, serve them on rice or couscous instead of pasta.
Chicken and a refreshing carrot slaw make these burgers lighter than your usual beef-and-cheese-filled buns, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on flavor. In fact, with paprika, harissa, plenty of garlic, and fresh mint, these give the standard Big Mac a serious run for its money.
You’re probably unlikely to find tacos anywhere in North Africa, but that’s exactly why fusion food is so much fun! As it turns out, stuffing tortillas with harissa-spiced potatoes and lentils, and topping 'em off with avocado, is a pretty killer way to marry Mexico with Morocco.
Tagine actually refers to the funkily shaped clay pot in which stew is slow-cooked, but let’s be real—not everyone has one of those. Still, get all the taste of the traditional dish in this skillet version: Butternut squash spirals provide a slightly sweet contrast from the bold, paprika-spiced tomato sauce, and succulent chunks of beef make it a complete meal.
Dried fruit, olives, and cumin instantly give any dish some Moroccan-inspired magic. Here, those ingredients (and a few others) join chickpeas and chicken for an easy 30-minute skillet meal, giving you a welcome alternative from your usual grilled chicken breast dinner.
Lamb is basically the chicken of Moroccan cuisine—it’s that frequently used. While you’ll traditionally find it in a stew, this recipe finds another use for it, turning the ground meat into a savory stuffing for baked sweet potatoes. With peas and spinach also in the mix, each serving of this dish is a perfect balance of protein, carbs, veggies, and fiber.