Not a tagine, perhaps a Middle Eastern spiced Ratatouille, that is what my daughter said when I served this up for a weekend lunch. It is best eaten a couple of days after it is cooked, making it perfect as a make ahead meatless dinner. There are all sorts of spices and yes there are whole green chillies too!!


100 ml extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions finely diced

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or use a Microplane

1 generous tablespoon coriander seeds

1 generous tablespoon cumin seeds

1 generous tablespoon of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons mild paprika

½ teaspoon hot chilli powder

600 grams tinned Italian tomatoes

4-5 long green chillies, left whole

1 tablespoon honey

500 ml water


1 kilo butternut squash cut into chunks

2 small sized eggplant, cut into chunks

2 x 400 grams tin of chick peas, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil

100 grams pitted black olives


Dry roast the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds and allow to cool.  Using a mortar and pestle, grind to a fine powder.

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a deep heavy bottomed casserole dish or sauté pan. Sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.

Add all the spices to the pan, stir well and continue to sauté for 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes, chillies, honey and water. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes. Stir from time to time. It will reduce and become a thick sauce.

While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the butternut and eggplant chunks on the tray. Drizzle some oil and shuffle the tray so as all the pieces get the oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes.

When the sauce is sufficiently thick, add the roasted butternut, eggplant, chickpeas and olives. Mix to combine and cook on a gentle heat for a further 15-20 minutes. Serve with couscous or crusty baguette. Serves 6 as a main.

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