Sweet Potato Tagine With Dates and Carrots

Vegetarian recipes can be really exciting and this Sweet Potato Tagine is great at breaking down carnivore barriers!

Portrait image of a vegetarian sweet potato tagine garnished with flaked almonds and zaatar on a bed of couscous

Spicy Vegetarian Tagine.

Considering that I am far from being a vegetarian I cook an awful lot of vegetarian food! This simple sweet potato number has rapidly become a firm favourite in these parts.

The savoury flavours of dried mint and sumac offer a savoury contrast to the sweet vegetables.

Then we get a good slug of heat and complexity from harissa paste.

It is all very easy to cook too, 10 minutes of your time and then into the oven for half an hour. After that dinner is ready to roll!

In many ways, this is similar to my almond and butternut squash tagine and mixed vegetable tagine.

Portrait close up image of a vegetarian sweet potato tagine garnished with flaked almonds and zaatar

Can You Make Harissa Paste at Home?

I use harissa paste a lot, it features in everything from my Rabbit Tagine to my Harissa Garlic Prawns.

As a result of this I have given making harissa paste a real good try. I have to say that my results have been disappointing!

I have tried everything from my own experimentation to ALL of the top 10 results on Google and plenty aside.

Nothing has come close to the spicy complexity you get from a good quality store-bought harissa paste.

So in short, yeah you can make it at home. I don’t because as far as I am concerned store-bought is better.

This is coming from a guy that insists on everything from ketchup to curry pastes from scratch.

Portrait overhead image of a vegetarian sweet potato tagine garnished with flaked almonds and zaatar on a bed of couscous

Hints and Tips.

As you can see from the video, I do not use a “tagine” to make a tagine.

I broke mine a very long time ago and never got round to replacing it.

Fortunately, you can make them in a pan.

You do have to be sure that you do not overload the pan, but apart from that anything with a well-fitting lid will be fine.

If you are relatively new to North African ingredients then Zaatar may be new to you.

Zaatar is both a herb and a spice blend, I refer to it here as the spice blend.

It contains toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme, oregano or marjoram and salt. On occasions, it will also contain sumac and other bits.

The herb is called hyssop in English and can also appear in the spice mix.

It varies massively across North Africa into the Middle East and it is glorious.

It is usually used as a seasoning for food after it has cooked and it tastes fantastic. I even make a paste out of it to coat chicken in this zaatar chicken leg recipe!

As for a side dish, for me it has to be either some simply cooked couscous or bulgur wheat.

Sweet Potato Tagine

Sweet Potato Tagine

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Vegetarian recipes can be really exciting and this Sweet Potato Tagine with Carrots and dates is great at breaking down carnivore barriers!


  • 25 g Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 100 g Onion
  • 400 g Sweet Potato
  • 100 g Carrot
  • 1 Tbsp Harissa paste
  • 100 g Dried Dates
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tsp Dried Mint
  • 1 Tsp Sumac
  • 125 ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 50 g Blanched Almonds
  • 1 Tsp Cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 15 g Flaked Almonds
  • Zaatar to Taste


  1. Top and tail then peel and cut the onion into 8 wedges.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and carrot and cut into 1.5-2cm pieces.
  3. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy based pan that you have a lid for over a medium-high heat.
  4. When the oil and butter mix is hot add in the cinnamon stick and onions and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Add in the carrots and sweet potato.
  6. Throw in the Harissa paste, dates, mint, honey, sumac, lemon juice, cumin and blanched almonds.
  7. Pour in the vegetable stock, season, stir then cover with a lid,
  8. Place in the oven for 30 minutes at 180ยฐC or 350ยฐF.
  9. The vegetables should retain some structure but be soft to the tip of a knife!
  10. Just before serving toast off your almond flakes making sure not to burn.
  11. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and zaatar before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 778Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 971mgCarbohydrates: 109gFiber: 19gSugar: 60gProtein: 14g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

17 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. I’m like you, not a big cake or sweet eater but I love the combination of sweet and savoury, especially using dried and fresh fruit. This is just up my street!

  2. Wait, so I can make this without buying a tagine? Because I’m definitely sold on that idea! I also love North African and Arabic food but I almost never make it at home (unless you count baklava?). But the flavors are wonderful and I need to branch out.

    • Of course you can, a tagine adds a little more steam to the mix which alters the dish very slightly but I’ve not noticed a massive difference not cooking in a tagine since I broke my old one. Admitedly the joy of lifting the lid on a tagine at the table is magic but hey, I can live without it.

  3. Looks delicious Brian! Love the sweet and savoury components of this dish and I just happen to have a bunch of sweet potatoes in the pantry just waiting to be used ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Enjoy Dawn, I love this recipe… Me and sweet potatoes don’t really get on but this is one recipe using them that I really do love!

  4. Thanks Natalie… Fruit in savoury courses doe seem to divide people, I happen to love it and use it a lot. Those two dishes sound wonderful, particularly the Diane Henry one, will hunt it down and have a try.

  5. I love all kinda of African food, but I’ve never made a veggie African dish before. I have a tajine and I love it. I’ve only cooked meat in it though. I will have to give this one a try!

    • Really, Onion Tagine is pretty much the classic North African Vegetarian Tagine, I will try and remember to post it up at some point but hunt a recipe down it is unbelievably good!

  6. As much of a baker as I am, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth most of the time so too sweet “savory” dishes bother me. My mother being Middle Eastern though, I do love the sweet/savory balance of the dishes and plan to try this one with a few modifications next month (going vegan all month for in depth recipe testing). I think you should totally plant sweet potatoes… they are so healthy and versatile. You can spice them almost any which way. I’ve made them cubed into small pieces and pan fried for a breakfast hash with a bit of cumin (an alternative to tortillas in huevos rancheros), used them in soups just like pumpkin, made chipotle chili latkes, etc. The only thing I won’t do is make them too sweet or top them with marshmallows because ew.

    • Loving the sweet potato ideas thank you, not sure I would cope on the vegan for a month thing, I am not the most self disciplined person, but you could definitely tweak this and take it in a vegan direction.

      I’ll not mention the sweet potato marshmallow thing as it would make me feel dirty ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Ugh, I am so the opposite. Bring on the cake, but keep the carrots, sweet potatoes and yams, please! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This looks awesome, though. I love pumpkin seeds. And I am very into the way you cooked that quinoa, so smart!

  8. I love sweet potatoes, but I am also not a fan of dates, ha! Brian, I’ve always wanted to try Tagine cooking! There are several Moroccan dishes I would love to try ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m relatively new to cooking North African and Persian style dishes, maybe the last couple of years but the flavours are awesome. If you are not keen on dates you could try dried apricots or prunes which would work just as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I usually just serve sweet potatoes with cinnamon, butter and sugar (ha!) But I need to expand my horizons more since they’re so delicious. I may need to start with this!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I am working on quite a few Sweet potato recipes at the moment so hopefully will have more for you to experiment with in the coming weeks ๐Ÿ™‚


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