I have a secret hidden talent.

It has nothing to do with cherry stems or my tongue or any ability to tie the former with the latter without any use of my hands.

I know, right?  Bad news bears.


And it kinda sorta has everything to do with the fact that….

…I can see the future.

Fo realz.

Two futures, actually.

Wanna hear em?

There’s future number 1 in which we keep eating cookies and sweet potato cakes with reckless abandon until New Year’s Day, when we wake up and realize that we have not a single pair of skinny jeans to wear and, uh, even our leggings with their ELASTIC WAISTBANDS feel kinda snug.  Yikes.

OR there’s future number 2 in which we start to think about our arteries ASAP and conform to a little lifestyle choice that I like to call “moderation”.

Personally. I choose 2.

Because (a) starting up a gym membership on January 2nd is super tacky and so totally last year.  Don’t be that girl.

And (b) after-New Year’s sales are good…but not that good.  Especially not if I plan on continuing to buy cookbooks at the breakneck pace that I do.  Priorities.  You know where mine lie.


So.  How are we going to do this without seeming like the totally lame-o people at Christmas parties who nobody wants to find themselves under the mistletoe with?

First, we are going to make this tagine which is so richly spiced that it will satisfy every craving we thought we were having and is so full of nutrients that it will probably make our skin prettier and our hair shinier (gotta keep our eye on the prize..see mistletoe comment above).

Then, we are going to exercise.  Even if that means walking up the stairs at the mall instead of taking the escalator or carrying that 42″ tv from the checkout to our cars, ten blocks away. If it involves exertion, we are going to do it.

And finally.  We are going to reboot.  Eat.Live.Be.-style!  In case you don’t remember, Eat.Live.Be. was a group that was started by Cate and Sarah last January, the aim of which was to help us support each other in achieving some kind of new year’s goal.  The way we did it last year was that we would post every Monday on a different topic.  Most of the topics were pretty specific, which didn’t seem to work for everyone, so we’re changing it up this year.  First of all, we’ll be posting on Wednesdays and instead of having a highly specific theme, we are going to have broader themes.  There will be more information as the day gets closer, but please email me if you want to take part ([email protected]) or leave a message in the comments!  The theme for next Wednesday is “magazines” so we’re all basically going to write about some topic that’s related to our goals that we found in a magazine.  We’ll also be tweeting like mad about it, so definitely keep track of the goings on there with hashtag #eatlivebe.

What are my goals?  I’ll divulge next week, but let’s just say that I have a back-to-running date of January 1st and a marathon that I hope to rock next November.  In the short term, just hand me a bowl of this tagine and I’ll be good to go.  Future number two is on the horizon, after all.  And I hate being caught unprepared.


Moroccan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine with Quinoa
Serves 4, adapted from Closet Cooking


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp raw ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled until tender
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup green olives, chopped
  • 4 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (only if your butternut squash seems to be on the bland side!)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.  Saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the quinoa, broth, chickpeas, harissa, honey, raisins, olives, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the butternut squash and continue to simmer, covered, for another ten minutes.
  6. Mix in the cilantro.  Add brown sugar until the desired flavor is reached.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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80 Responses to Moroccan Butternut Squash and Chickpea Tagine with Quinoa

  1. Simply Life says:

    I love seeing all your healthy recipes and motivation!

  2. Foodycat says:

    I saw a study the other day – can’t remember where – suggesting that increasing exercise is more effective in isolation than decreasing calorie intake for losing weight. But doing both is an even better idea. Now to do it…

  3. Danielle says:

    This looks great – I can’t find Harissa anywhere around here – I use to get at world market but they stopped carrying it 🙁

  4. Can I please join you for future #2? I need to be in that camp, it is not an option. And if it includes this delicious dish I think I can deal.

  5. Chaya says:

    I have a butternut squash, a huge one but I don’t have chickpeas. Are you sending me to the store to spend money, Joanne? For shame.

  6. Mmmm, this looks great, like a healthy “comfort” food! I can see 2012 being a great year for you with your awesome motivation!

  7. Oh YEAH, Joanne! Your post is so pertinent because while I didn’t just have Thanksgiving, I did have a minor “oh my gosh, I have to stop eating sugar” freakouts. OK, it was pretty major. But today was my day to begin… and here you are with some positive reinforcement and a drool-worthy recipe, filled with all my favourite flavours. 🙂 You go, girl!! I look forward to following your ELB posts. 🙂

  8. Lora says:

    This looks amazing! I love the butternut squash and chickpeas combo. Two of my favorites!

  9. I’m definitely interested in taking part! I’m also interested in fitting into my skinny jeans again – this recipe looks like a delicious way to get there!

  10. Katerina says:

    I will take option 2 as well. I just bought two pairs of jeans and they are really tight so I do not even think of adding a single gram Joanne. This dish looks delicious and healthy, I have visited Morocco and let me tell you the flavors are unique. Great combination of ingredients!

  11. Yum, I just had chickpeas for lunch, could do with another helping but its gone. Seeing the future is a great skill. If you see numbers such as lotto numbers and stock prices, please share with me privately:)

  12. MMM. i can def inhale a bunch of this stuff!
    did i mention how much i adore chickpeas???

  13. bellini says:

    Healthy and delicious is just the bonus Joanne.

  14. MM says:

    Bad news bears…still laughing at that. Stealing, by the way, because “that sucks” is also so last year.
    Great color in this dish. Your food is always so pretty. I like that this is on a nice bed of spinach. My favorite veg.

  15. Mary says:

    What a lovely dish. It is always so nice to see healthy and delicious come together in one bowl. You seem to have a knack for it. Have a great day, Joanne. Blessings…Mary

  16. Kristin says:

    I like future B too! This looks amazing and looks like it could fall under future A. This will be added to my list of recipes to try. Which by the way I LOVED your chickpea pot pie! Delish!
    Holy Cannoli Recipes

  17. Nicole, RD says:

    LOL! I love the skinny jean and leggings portion of this post. The skinny jean ordeal is depressing enough, but the leggings. Le sigh. I think I’ll choose moderation with you. Besides, moderation like this is 110% enjoyable. Look at those flavors!!

  18. What a great vegetarian main dish! Looks delicious!

  19. Haha, I’m totally in on future number 2. I don’t have much experience with Moroccan dishes, but yours looks delicious. I’m really curious to try it, I love everything in it(except the olives, but I’m sure I can leave those out, right?), especially all those spices. Plus quinoa and chickpeas is always an awesome combo in my books 😀

  20. Miriam says:

    Moderation…what’s that? :), the meal looks fabulous! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  21. Pam says:

    I’ve only had Moroccan food once… I really need to give it another try. This one looks really tasty Joanne.

  22. I love your blog today, funny and truthful! I also love your recipe. I never had anything like that before, but I love all the ingredients, so my guess is I’ll love the recipe. I’m definitly going to join your Eat.Live.Be group, I need to reach my goals, I already know what they are.

  23. Karen says:

    I’m not used to cooking with these flavors, but they do sound intriguing. Love butternut… maybe this is the recipe to try out something new!

  24. Butternut squash, Chickpeas, & Quinoa… Yes please! Looks delicious :)!

  25. ~Bee says:

    I STILL have not tried quiona. I’m a bad blogger foodie, oy. It’s seriously on my list though! I have a box and everything! This looks so so good and flavorful too 🙂

  26. Rebecca says:

    Recipe bookmarked for a Future Soon To Be. 🙂 I read along with at lot of the ELB posts this year and thought it was a great idea; I was sorry to see it sort of peter out. Perhaps I could try it when you start over? I don’t own any skinny jeans, though.

  27. Jenna says:

    Yes! Moderation! I need to keep repeating that to myself during the holidays. So far so good–I ate only until full on Thanksgiving, and no unbuttoning of pants occurred (well, I was also wearing a skirt with an elastic waistband, which helped). Excess just never feels good in the end.

  28. Kim says:

    I woke up this morning, went to the gym, and swore to myself that I would begin eating in moderation. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that 1/2 cup of chocolate ice cream is moderation…my mind is totally evil that way.

    This meal looks delicious though. I’ve been all about butternut squash lately. I’m just itching to make it again. I’m loving the idea of combining it with any bean, especially chickpeas.

  29. Yaey I love your plan to be committed to being healthy during the holidays! I’m definitely struggling right now so will appreciate the inspiration and motivation. 🙂 And of course can’t wait to see more delicious healthy dishes like this one. The olives in it sound delicious!

  30. Michele says:

    That does look delicious even though I can’t pronounce it! You are SO right about the jeans though. Thank you for bringing me back to reality from my sugar-induced coma. Haa Haa

  31. Selina says:

    How is it possible you just keep on getting funnier (but always tell the truth), and coming up with delicious looking recipes. In fact, I honestly think I could smell all the spices in this by looking at the picture. 🙂

  32. Swathi says:

    I love this recipe as it is spicy and easy to make since I don’t have quinoa in my hand I will try with some other grain.

  33. I love that bowl and especially what is in it! Another starring role for Butternut squash.

  34. Gloria says:

    Love quinoa Joanne and this look georgeous, what nice colou:)

  35. Christina says:

    Well, you’ve officially ruined pasta night in the best possible way. I’m making pasta for everyone else and this for me. I happen to have everything on hand, it must be fate!
    I’ve been doing a major sugar reduction campaign in my life for about 2 months now. That plus exercise and my pants are falling off.

  36. Nisrine says:

    I love your use of quinoa in a Moroccan dish. Sounds delicious.

  37. jb says:

    All of this moroccan food lately is really hitting the right note with me, and especially with the butternut squash. It’s feeling pretty wintery out right now, so I might give this a try tonight!

  38. Luuuuurve butternut pumpkin. This looks awesome. I agree – moderation. I was that girl 2 years ago with the gym membership but have smashed it all year so need to be good haha

  39. I love everything about this recipe – Moroccan inspired seasonings make me swoon…lovely photos too Joanne.

  40. Delicious, I love all the wonderful flavours in this dish. Also love the concept of moderation. Can’t wait to hear about your goals.

  41. Thank you for bringing skinny jeans into the equation — they are some of the best reasons to eat well (aside from, y’know, health)! I just made a moroccan-style dinner last night. Such an excellent way to change it up in the kitchen!

  42. Christina says:

    Yep, it’s delicious. If I didn’t run the risk of exploding I’d eat the whole thing! Didn’t have the harissa, but used Tahini instead. Yum.

  43. Amy says:

    Hey, I can work up quite a sweat if I beat flour, eggs, sugar, and chocolate chips together by hand. Doesn’t that count as exercise? Sigh. I suppose not. Damn you.

  44. Megan says:

    Future 2 sounds like a good plan to me too. I quit the gym a while ago because I wasn’t going and I kept telling myself I would run or work out at home, and I haven’t done it. It’s time to get back on track.

  45. Johanna GGG says:

    I enjoyed the posts – great food for thought and that is probably the sort of food I should be indulging in – that and your lovely tagine

  46. Haha damn girl, you weren’t kidding when you said you could read minds!!! So apparently I’m not the only one who is obsessing over their skinny jeans! Just today, I tried my fave pair of jeans and yeah, they felt tighter than…um they should. The worst part, I still have Christmas baking to do. *sigh*
    Anyways…this looks like THE perfect go to after-New Year’s recovery plan. Mmmmm…sounds gooood! :))


  47. Deborah says:

    I am all about eating in moderation, and eating as healthy as possible, so that I can splurge on days like Thanksgiving and Christmas without feeling guilty. In fact, my goal is to lose 5 more pounds next month!! This dish sounds amazing!

  48. Anonymous says:

    wish i had a blog so i could join on the journey w/ you all as i could certainly use the support and movitation. best of luck to all who do participate.

  49. I love that you used harissa in this recipe. Hard to find where I live tho:( I think this sounds lovely. You kept in light but flavorful. What more could you ask for.

  50. Oh Joanne, how I needed to read this today. I’ve been so discouraged this week, my illness back with a vengeance knocking out all my well laid plans of health and fitness. But I’m taking heart again today. I can’t do it all yet, or even much, but I can do something, little things, just like you said. And I will. 🙂 LOVE this tagine. xo

  51. This sounds so delicious and love the ingredients used here:)

  52. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Everytime that I come here, I get excited just by reading the titles of your posts! And this is no exception, wonderful creation, Joanne.

  53. Hannah says:

    Just my kind of dish! Love that golden hue, too. The reminder about this “moderation” thing is also quite timely… Nothing like a little holiday madness to throw everything out of whack, eh?

  54. Goodness, I’m in need of some moderation too. It’s getting a little crazy around here with all the food.

    This looks FANTASTIC,

  55. Shannon says:

    This sounds delicious!!! I’ll do my heavy lifting in the kitchen with le creuset pots 😉

  56. Hi there! =)
    This looks deliciou. I am not very familiar with maroccan food, well I know tabouleh and coucous in general and thats it. I d love to try this dih out, if I d get at least half of the ingredients. thanks for sharing!

  57. Great post, you have things under control! The quinoa looks delicious, and so good on top of the spinach, nice hearty, healthy dish!

  58. i am so excited to make this! i have all the ingredients, and it looks like the perfect “get out of a rut” dinner for me!

  59. You are my squash queen! Looks delicious. I love a tagine.
    Good for you for thinking ahead. I am in a Cheerio coma right now, thinking that I should eat it out of smaller bowls. It is just too fun to pour.
    That being said, I do need some motivation in my life.
    Can you come over?

  60. Claudie says:

    Absolutely awesome post, that’s the attitude to have!
    Love your recipe too (and considering how much quinoa I cook, it’ll be of use!!).
    But… did you seriously carry a 42″ tv for ten blocks?

  61. Harissa – this is something I haven’t tried. I only saw it for the first time at Whole Foods last week but it felt strangely expensive for what it was. Gotta see if they have another brand.

  62. Lynn says:

    Joanne, eat, live, be sounds like fun. I would love to hear more about it. I have been a slacker blogger lately and need to get back to a better routine. Maybe weekly topics would be just the thing 🙂 Thanks for always sharing your exercise and healthy eating nudges. They help!

  63. I am right there with you in future #2…. all of this Thanksgiving/Pre-Holiday food is not good for my waist line!

    I will definitely add this to my menu to avoid future #1… scary!

  64. Elizabeth says:

    I was craving Middle Eastern food hardcore last night. And beeeans.

  65. vianney says:

    I loved eat, live be, so many great recipes I have tried. I am trting moderation this year, ahh crossing fingers/toes I will make it..

  66. Sounds like a fun new direction for the group! I look forward to reading =) And I suppose I would choose option number 2…but I’d drag my feet about it ;P

  67. Mary says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. What’s the difference between eating healthy now or in January really? I can indulge and then have to work even harder to get back in shape or I can stay on track NOW. Paying for it later is never a great option, even if it does taste great for a while.

    The spices here sound incredible together. I think I need to try a loaded with meat and vegetables version for myself!

  68. Rachel says:

    Moderation, healthy dishes to out-to the unhealthy ones – sounds like a plan! I like to tempt my fellow Christmas party goers with yummy food that is actually good for them…like this!

  69. grace says:

    you’ve tossed quinoa together with cinnamon, you wily minx, you. lovely!

  70. That Girl says:

    This is perfect timing, because now that the baby is here I can actually participate in Eat.Live.Be for real – with goals that aren’t completely compromised by trying to grow another human.

  71. Carolyn Jung says:

    Does that ever look nourishing and hearty! And you did a gorgeous job on the plating.

  72. Nicole says:

    Looks so beautiful. I’ve never made anything Moroccan before, but this might be my first try!

    I may be interested in the Can you let me know more details when they’re available?? Thanks 🙂

  73. Reeni says:

    I’m in serious trouble! I’m already at the tight pants point. . . I’m upping my treadmill time immediately and then making your jam-packed-with-flavor-and-absolutely-delicious tagine!

  74. I definitely prefer future number 2 but it is sadly easy to get sucked into future number 1. Have to start eating healthy now and increasing the workout time before the holidays hit. Your butternut squash and chickpea tangine dish is a great place to start 🙂

  75. Shelby says:

    Oh I am definitely making this recipe! I love chickpeas and quinoa and the combination of spices (love the sweet and heat mixture) sounds divine. Grumpy won’t touch it but I have a feeling I won’t care. lol. (He doesn’t eat chickpeas and I can’t figure out why!)

  76. Joanne – thank you so much for your donation to my team in training page!

    I liked Shabby Apple on Facebook – and I showed my daughter those dresses, she’s 10 and a girly-girl! So cute – and the prices aren’t that bad either!

    Great recipes and photos!! Have a great weekend, I’m off to go running now

  77. Dawn says:

    All my favorite ingredients! Chickpeas…Quinoa…Butternut….In love!

  78. Natalie says:

    so happy for you that you’ll be running again soon! and yes, i’m all about moving and eating well this season so i can indulge on the desserts 🙂

  79. Lora says:

    I just made this for dinner Joanne – OUTstanding. Will make it again next week for my mom.

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