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Mushroom and Lentil Tagine

September 29, 2010

Last weekend was a big time veggie weekend.  I guess I was trying to counteract chili samples from the chili cook-off we

lentil and mushroom tagine

went to, and offset all the cupcakes at work last week.  I saw this recipe on for this tagine, based on a Whole Foods recipe.  I love lentils and thought that the mushrooms and the fennel seeds would make this taste a little like sausage, albeit a vegetarian sausage.  I also liked all the veggies in it.  I found the spices a little lacking, so bumped up the quantities and  added some garam masala and smoked paprika for more flavor.

This came together pretty quickly because the chopping wasn’t too intensive, but it needs to cook for a while.  It’s one of those things that can be made ahead because the flavor will get better over time.  If you do make it ahead, add the peppers, spinach and lemon zest at the end so they stay fresh and a little crisp.  The contrast in textures is great.  You want this dish to be thick like a stew, so don’t add too much water and serve it over couscous.  It makes a lot and serves 8 generously.


2 T olive oil

1 1/2 c onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 c celery, chopped

1 c carrots, chopped

4 c assorted mushrooms, sliced (such as button, cremini, beech, shittake, etc.)

1 1/2 c chopped portabello mushrooms (about 3)

1 1/2 T cider vinegar

3 t paprika

2 t ground cumin

3 t fennel seeds, crushed slightly

1/2 t garam masala

1/2 t smoked paprika (hot or sweet)

2 t salt

1 t ground black pepper

1/4 t cayenne pepper

2 c brown lentils

1 1/2 c vegetable stock

2 c canned diced tomatoes

1 c red and yellow bell pepper mixture, sliced into 1/4″ rings, then cut into 1″ pieces

1 lb spinach

lemon zest for garnish

6 cups cooked couscous, for serving


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, garlic, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 10 minute.  Add the mushrooms, cider vinegar, paprika (regular and smoked), cumin, fennel seeds and garam masala.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, ground and cayenne pepper.  Bring to boil, cover and simmer until lentils and tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Taste and adjust for seasonings.  Right before serving, then the bell peppers and spinach and cook  till the spinach is wilted.  Stir in the lemon zest.

Serve with couscous.

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