We'll admit it: We've had our fill of classic comfort foods (think: Tomato basil soup and stuffed pasta shells). Don't get us wrong, we love these heart-warming dishes, but when the weather cools, we want belly-warming recipes to get us through winter. In our search for inspired ways to satiate our comfort food cravings, we set our sights on spice-driven Moroccan (and Moroccan-inspired) recipes. Featuring flavorful and warming spices like turmeric, paprika, harissa, and cinnamon, these dishes have everything we look for in delicious comfort foods–with the added bonus of transporting our taste buds to North Africa. Spanning a vegetarian-friendly, lentil-stuffed eggplant dish to a crispy skillet roasted chicken tagine recipe, these 12 tasty dishes will inspire you to mix up your midweek meals too.
Moroccan Split Pea Soup
The Recipe: Moroccan Split Pea Soup
Why We Love It: Moroccan Zest's bissara, or split pea soup, is "rich and comforting," like a savory hot chocolate, Safa of Moroccan Zest writes. Spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder make this winter-ready dish extra flavorful.
Pro Tip: Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of spices to finish; and serve with bread, feta cheese, and black olives.
Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks With Pomegranate
The Recipe: Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks With Pomegranate
Why We Love It: Feasting at Home's saucy braise of spices (cumin, allspice, cinnamon, fennel seeds) and pomegranate juice (plus orange zest and rosemary for aromatics) means lamb will be warm and succulent. Sear lamb shanks till golden brown first before letting it simmer low and slow in braising liquid. Let rest for 20–30 minutes before serving.
Pro Tip: Bring lamb shanks down to room temperature before searing, writes Feasting at Home.
Gougères Tea Sandwiches With Moroccan Braised Chicken and Pickled Onions
Why We Love It: These bite-sized tea sandwiches from Salt & Wind pack full-on flavor in a manageable package (a cheese puff, to roughly describe gougères); perfect for entertaining a crowd. To braise the chicken you'll need spices like coriander, cumin, and cinnamon; vinegar and sugar to pickle the onions; and a spicy green for sandwich assembly.
Pro Tip: Chicken can be braised up to 2 days ahead, writes Salt & Wind.
Moroccan Lentil-Stuffed Eggplant
The Recipe: Moroccan Lentil-Stuffed Eggplant
Why We Love It: Saucy Moroccan lentils are spiced with a combination of turmeric, paprika, and cayenne—bringing just the right amount of heat to this recipe from Minimalist Baker. Vegan parmesan cheese lends a salty, nutty flavor to stuffed eggplant. Did we mention they cook up in just 30 minutes?
Pro Tip: You can make this dish two ways: As pictured or in roll-up form. "In my opinion, the roll-ups are a prettier presentation that requires less cooking time," confesses recipe creator Dana of Minimalist Baker. "But the stuffed eggplants look like a seriously hearty entrée when plated. You can't lose either way!"
Golden Turmeric Carrot Ginger Soup
The Recipe: Golden Turmeric Carrot Ginger Soup
Why We Love It: While squash tends to steal the spotlight when it comes to winter produce, carrots get their moment to shine as a base ingredient in this delicious blended soup recipe from Broma Bakery. And, coconut cream complements the spiced soup without adding any dairy to this vegan-friendly recipe.
Pro Tip: "This golden turmeric carrot ginger soup is the absolutely perfect soup to dip crusty baguettes in," advises Sarah of Broma Bakery. "It's thick and vegetal and bursting with flavor," she says. "The turmeric imparts a warmth, plus is anti-inflammatory," she adds.
Skillet Roasted Moroccan Chicken and Olive Tagine
Why We Love It: In Half Baked Harvest's recipe, chicken is seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and cooked to crispy, juicy, flavorful perfection in a skillet. Plus, the saltiness of the olives and sweetness of the dates add another level of depth to this dish.
Pro Tip: Make this a one-pot meal by tossing the veggies in the same skillet with the protein. "Not only does this make for quick and easy cleanup, but the squash gets roasted in the chicken's fats, which makes for the most delicious veggie side," says Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest.
Moroccan Lentil Quinoa Soup
The Recipe: Moroccan Lentil Quinoa Soup
Why We Love It: Feasting at Home's lentil soup recipe is easy to make using pantry and produce staples most people keep in their kitchen rotation. Root around your kitchen for: Red lentils, quinoa, bell and poblano peppers, and a host of spices (cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, coriander).
Pro Tip: Add raisins for a touch of sweetness.
Moroccan-Inspired Sweet Potato Salad
The Recipe: Moroccan-Inspired Sweet Potato Salad
Why We Love It: A blend of sweet dates, tart lemon juice, and tangy Dijon mustard is the perfect complement to this surprisingly hearty sweet potato salad recipe from The First Mess.
Pro Tip: "If I had thought of this at the time, I would have added some cooked quinoa or millet to the mix—about a 1/2 cup of dry grain cooked," divulges Laura of The First Mess. While we think this salad makes for a tasty side dish, we have to agree with Laura's suggestion of adding grains to turn it into a filling main.
Easy Moroccan Chicken
The Recipe: Easy Moroccan Chicken
Why We Love It: A Moroccan-inspired spice combo (think ginger, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, and allspice) adds depth of flavor to Food Faith Fitness' one-skillet chicken recipe. Add cauliflower, stewy tomatoes, and crunchy pistachios, and dates.
Pro Tip: This recipe is paleo-friendly; and, "You want to use a meat mallet or rolling pin to flatten the chicken to an even thinness. This helps it cook evenly without over cooking!" recommends Food Faith Fitness.
Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Glow Bowl
The Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Glow Bowl
Why We Love It: Pinch of Yum's vegetarian-forward bowl hits the spot when we want Moroccan flavors in a slightly less hearty format. Protein-packed chickpeas, simmered in fire roasted tomatoes, keep us full; while a cucumber salad and optional scoop of yogurt or hummus keeps things refreshing.
Pro Tip: Serve chickpeas over couscous or quinoa.
Crock-Pot Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup
The Recipe: Crock-Pot Moroccan Lentil and Chickpea Soup
Why We Love It: Red harissa, smoked paprika, cumin, and cinnamon come together beautifully after spending a few hours stewing in a slow cooker with lentils and chickpeas. Follow Half Baked Harvest's lead and add whipped goat cheese to balance out this spicy dish.
Pro Tip: This soup "is incredible, and the very best part is that literally all of the ingredients get thrown into the Crock-Pot and you are done," confesses Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "No browning meat, no making extra things when you arrive home, just ladle the soup into bowls and eat." It couldn't be easier.
Moroccan Passionfruit Mint Tea
The Recipe: Moroccan Passionfruit Mint Tea
Why We Love It: Salt & Wind's Moroccan-inspired iced tea recipe includes a tropical, fruity twist. Take green tea, add lots of mint, cinnamon and cardamom, and passion fruit juice. Plus, honey for a hint of sweetness. If you're making this during colder months, try it hot.
Pro Tip: Garnish with a sprig of mint.