Stock up your spice rack and get cooking.

By Antara Sinha
Updated May 15, 2018
Credit: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Robby Melvin

If you’re not already cooking Moroccan-inspired food in your kitchen, one taste of the fragrant, fiery, sweet, savory, and citrusy flavors of this cuisine from the Maghreb region will make it a new favorite at your dinner table. From distinct spice blends and marinades, like Ras El Hanout, harissa, and chermoula, to refreshing beverages like mint tea, it’s hard to get bored with such a vibrant and versatile cuisine. Here are 13 of our favorite Moroccan-inspired recipes—including both traditional dishes and new spins on classics.

Moroccan Beef Daube

Credit: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Robby Melvin

A bright, herbaceous yogurt topping adds a burst of freshness, but earthy spices make this dish a decidedly hearty comfort food. A twist on traditional French beef daube, you can use inexpensive stew beef to make this weeknight-friendly.

Lamb Tagine with Lemon and Olives

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

This is a dish that’s meant to be savored. Briny olives and sweet raisins pair perfectly to complement the succulent lamb, while a bed of warm, fluffy couscous is like a hug in a bowl. The spices in this dish help every element shine: A combo of saffron, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon infuse the lamb with signature Moroccan flavors.

Moroccan Pot Roast

Credit: Photo: Alison Miksch; Food Styling: Cat Steele; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower

This wonderfully tender pot roast is probably a little different from your mom’s traditional recipe. Dried apricots and raisins add a hint of fruity sweetness, while fragrant herbs like mint and cilantro help balance the earthiness of cumin, cinnamon, and paprika. And with only 20 minutes of hands-on time required, this dish makes for an easy way to feed (and impress) a crowd.

Green Shakshouka

Credit: Erin Kunkel

Erin Kunkel

Speaking of trying to feed a crowd, this veggie- and spice-loaded one-dish meal is another excellent option for company. This recipe is versatile enough to work for pretty much any time of the day, and it’s a flavorful, exciting way to highlight budget-friendly eggs as the star of the meal.

North African Veal Shanks

Credit: Photo: Thomas J. Story

This slow-roasted dish is a true labor of love, but the flavor payoff makes it totally worth it. If you can’t get your hands on veal shanks, this recipe works just as well with beef short ribs. Bonus: The layers of spices, herbs, and vegetables will make your whole kitchen smell like a dream.

Harissa Hot Sauce

Credit: Photo: Thomas J. Story

You can find harissa, a fiery Moroccan spice blend, at well-stocked grocery stores, online, or at a North African or Middle Eastern grocer. By whisking it with some vinegar and cayenne, you’ve got a mouth-wateringly spicy sauce you’ll want to drizzle over pretty much everything.

Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Chicken with Sweet Onions

Credit: Photo: Justin Walker; Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

This simple chicken dish is easy enough to whip up on a busy weeknight, but bold enough to shake you out of an uninspired dinner rut. Don’t skip out on the caramelized onions or especially the Ras el Hanout; this Moroccan spice blend is what makes this dish special.

Orange and Fennel Couscous

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

The crunch of fennel and citrusy tang of orange slices makes this couscous a great accompaniment to almost any entrée. Plus, it’s super simple to make—after cooking and fluffing the couscous, all you have to do is stir in all of your aromatics and seasonings.

Chicken with Preserved Meyer Lemon and Olives

Credit: Photo: Ngoc Minh Ngo; Styling: Kelly All

Salt-preserved lemons are an integral part of Maghreb cuisine, and they bring just the right amount of citrusy tartness to this warmly spiced braise. Ginger, saffron, and garlic make this flavor-packed dish deliciously aromatic.

Grilled Eggplant with Moroccan Spices (Aubergines à la Marocaine)

Credit: Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

The cooling yogurt sauce flavored with cumin, cinnamon, and coriander perfectly balances the mild heat of red pepper in this beautiful French-Moroccan side. While you can’t replicate the smoky, charred flavor of a grill, this eggplant dish is also delicious baked or pan-fried.

North African Marinated Lamb

Credit: Photo: Daniel Agee; Food Styling: Mark Driskill; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Bold, bright herbs and spices like cumin, cilantro, paprika, and cilantro make this lamb dish extra vibrant. The best part: If you can’t find lamb, the chermoula-inspired marinade can work with any protein of your choosing, and can even serve as a delicious accompaniment to roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables.

Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce and Caramelized Dates

Credit: Sara Tane

Sara Tane

This veggie side makes for a gorgeous presentation and hits every single crave-worthy note. Herby, nutty, citrusy, crispy, savory-sweet—it’s a vegetarian addition to your table that even the most adamant carnivores will reach for.


Credit: Photo: Gillie Houston

Halwa is the sweet tooth cure you didn’t know you needed. Nutty, sugary, fruity, and surprisingly simple to whip up, it’s endlessly customizable to whatever you have on hand. Add cardamom or saffron for an extra boost of Maghreb flavor.