Merguez Tagine with Lentils

This is a very simple and healthy recipe from Ghillie Basan’s  ‘Tagines and Couscous’ which is a pretty self-explanatory cookbook title. It would not have been what I would have had in mind as a traditional Moroccan dish in terms of flavours. Fenugreek is a key component of curry powder, and has a very distinctive flavour. Turmeric is viewed as being a spice with a number of potential health benefits, and research is ongoing into its uses in the treatment of Alzheimers and pancreatitis associated condition. If the health benefits turn out to be inconclusive, it still tastes good and adds a nice colour, so its really a win-win. The dish seems more like a dal crossed with lentejas but semantics aside, its relatively quick, easy, store cupboard based, and can be a one pot meal with a dollop of yoghurt, or with some flatbread or couscous for padding. If you can’t source merguez sausage, which is fairly likely really, chorizo will do just as well. Serves 4-6 depending on how much you pad it out with other dishes.


  • 300g Merguez sausage
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 x400f tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 225g red or brown lentils
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • Olive oil
  • Greek yoghurt (optional)


  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan with a lid, casserole dish or tagine if you actually have one (I don’t).
  • Saute the onions until softening and add the garlic.
  • Cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the sliced merguez or chorizo and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the spices and toss the onion and sausage mix well in them.
  • Add the lentils.
  • Add the tomatoes and sugar.
  • Pour in enough water to cover the lentils by 2.5cm.
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes on a medium heat, adding more water if necessary (it was for me).
  • Toss with the chopped coriander and serve with greek yoghurt.

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