Low Calorie Main Dish Vegetarian

Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine

June 23, 2014

It should come as no surprise that I’d make this Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine. It’s got a lot of my usual suspects: zucchini, chickpeas, spices, a little weirdness. I refer to the cinnamon as part of the weirdness. I love finding recipes with something you wouldn’t expect. This dish packs a hearty punch and at 278 calories per serving, that is a steal!

Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine

So, how’s it taste?

I was really excited to see how the spices would transform this dish. When you add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric to the onions, it’s heaven. Next comes the tomatoes, which I found are added too soon. I’ve complained before that I dislike when tomatoes get cooked to death and you’re left with just the skins. That’s what happened here, so I’d definitely add them toward the end of cooking next time. You don’t need them for their liquid to make a sauce because the zucchinis will do that. I did cook mine a bit longer because the zucchini were still quite crunchy after 5 minutes. My poor tomatoes disappeared even more with the extra cook time. Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine

The dish was still pretty tasty, and this may sound odd, but it felt very clean. It was earthy and comforting, almost better suited for a winter meal. The aroma of the spices cooking with the onion didn’t come through on taste to the final product though. I couldn’t detect the cinnamon at all and I think the turmeric could be reduced next time, so the other spices can shine through. It left me feeling like the dish could’ve used a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Perhaps adding the tomatoes later would provide that something it was missing. Overall I’d give it a good rating. The zucchini was delicious with the chickpeas and I loved the nuttiness of the quinoa. A different way to eat my current favorites is always a welcome change!

Yield: 4 servings

Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine


1 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 cups Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (15 oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Bring 1 cup water, quinoa, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes or until tomatoes begin to release their liquid. (I would add the tomatoes more toward the end of cooking, so they don't cook down and disappear into the dish.) Add chickpeas and zucchini. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve zucchini mixture with quinoa.

per serving (1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup zucchini mixture): 278 calories, 6.5g fat, 11g protein, 46g carbs, 8g fiber

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  • amy @ fearless homemaker June 23, 2014 at 6:56 am

    This looks SO delicious – totally my type of meal! And excellent pictures, lady!

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks! I’m really starting to enjoy the photography part…finally!

  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice June 23, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I love the combination of spices in here, Leah! And that’s a good tip about the tomatoes. I don’t like when they’re overcooked, either! Beautiful pictures, too!

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Yeah, tomato skins only = bad, lol. Thanks, Gayle!

  • Natalie @ Tastes Lovely June 23, 2014 at 9:25 am

    The flavors of this sounds delicious! I’m so intrigued with the spice combination. Bet your kitchen smelled heavenly when this was cooking!

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      I seriously think they need to make savory-scented candles. 😉

  • Alexandra June 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Always a fan of MOAR chickpeas! 🙂

    And ditto to Amy. Love the new board! Looks perfect with this dish, and that pop of color with the napkin. Workin’ magic with that new lens!

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      I was cracking up posting this thinking about our chickpea convo. I just love ’em! I’m having fun with the photography stuff for sure!

  • Annie @Maebells June 23, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Yum! You think of such fun flavor combos I would never think of! I love all the good stuff you packed in this dish for so few calories!

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      So excited about the calories in this one! Love when it’s tons of food and still low. 🙂

  • Shannon June 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Shut your face about this photo!! I mean, really. It’s spectacular.

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Aw, this comment made my day. Totes gettin’ my learnin’ on!

  • Lesley Eats June 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I like the Moroccan thing you’ve got going. I love a good vegetarian tagine. The only thing I would do differently is maybe just replace the tomatoes with plump (or rehydrated) golden raisins. 🙂

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Ah, that’s it! I should’ve called you. 🙂 I seriously think the golden raisins would make this dish spectacular.

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy June 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    I love adding cinnamon to things like curries. Most of my Moroccan dishes have a hint of cinnamon in too. This sounds really good.

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Cinnamon is so good in savory dishes. Really unexpected & tasty!

  • Cailee @ http://hellohealthyeating.com June 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Wow!! YUM! This looks amazingly delicious and healthy! And to think… less than 300 calories?!! Who needs frozen diet dinners! This looks so much better 🙂

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Right! The calorie count blew my mind. Way better than those frozen meals!

  • HappyForks June 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Perfect lunch or meal after training. A lot of fiber and only ‘healthy’ fats. Don’t forget that chickpeas are excellent sources of aminoacids and iron which are really important for vegetarians, vegans and people who exercise.

    • Leah Short June 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Ooo, had no idea these were good for folks who exercise (like me!). No wonder I love them so much!

  • Isadora @ she likes food June 23, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I love the weirdness that you added! It is so fun experimenting with different spices! I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables lately and this looks like the perfect way to pack them into the diet!

    • Leah Short June 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

      It really is! I love sneaking in veggies any way I can.

  • Laura @ Laura's Baking Talent June 23, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    The flavors sound amazing. Intrigued by the mixture of spices you used. Thanks for sharing.

    • Leah Short June 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks, Laura!

  • Olivia - Primavera Kitchen June 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

    OMG this is DEFINITELY my type of dish for lunch. Love all the spices you added. I bet it tastes as good as it looks on the picture 😉

    • Leah Short June 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks, Olivia!

  • Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! June 25, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Leah, you have done it again. I am a spice girl through and through and am loving how many you managed to use in one dish. I bet this is a giant flavor party in your mouth :). Cannot wait to whip this up!!

  • Katie June 25, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I love all the veggies! This would be great lunch and you can’t beat the calorie count!

  • mary @ minutes per mile June 25, 2014 at 11:50 am

    this looks fab. thanks for sharing! i made a similar dish (in winter — you’re right, this is for cold months!) that had raisins and carrots for a bit more weirdness. it was pretty good.