Stew doesn’t need to be thick, meaty, and time-consuming; instead it can be packed with vegetables, healthy, and an easy weeknight meal. Just sauté some onion and garlic with spices, add harissa and root vegetables, and cook for about 45 minutes to infuse all of the flavors and cook the vegetables through. Sweet raisins, honey, and tangy preserved lemons balance things out in this Moroccan-inspired, one-pot, vegetarian dish. Serve it over couscous and top with crunchy almonds and fresh cilantro.

What to buy: Preserved lemons are a popular ingredient in Moroccan cooking. They’re preserved in a salt-and-lemon-juice mixture and are sold in jars. Look for them in gourmet grocery stores and online, or make your own.

Harissa is Tunisian spice paste that ranges in consistency from smooth to slightly chunky and from fiery hot to mild. It’s available in tubes and jars at many Middle Eastern and gourmet markets, or online. You can also make your own.

This recipe was featured as part of our Easy Weeknight Vegetarian Main Dishes.

  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients (19)

For the stew:

  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound beets, peeled and medium dice (about 3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup harissa, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound radishes (about 2 bunches), stems trimmed and halved
  • 1 (15-ounce can) chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, also known as sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon, or the finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)

For serving:

  • 2 cups couscous, cooked according to the package directions
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


For the stew:

  1. Prepare the squash: Peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler. Trim the top and bottom. Cut the neck from the bulb of the squash. Halve each piece lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside. (You will need about 3 1/2 cups. Save any remaining squash for another use.)
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, measured salt, coriander, cumin, and paprika and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the beets, water, and harissa and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beets are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the squash, radishes, chickpeas, raisins, and honey and stir to combine. Return the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring every 10 minutes and making sure to stir to the bottom of the pot to rotate the vegetables evenly, until the vegetables are fork-tender but still hold their shape, about 45 minutes.
  5. Taste and season with salt as needed. Remove from the heat and stir in the preserved lemon or lemon zest.

For serving:

  1. Spoon the stew over the couscous and sprinkle with the almonds and cilantro. Pass additional harissa on the side.