Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Vegetarian's Guide to Moroccan Food

As someone who's been a vegetarian my entire life, sometimes it's hard to find local fare that I can eat when traveling. Morocco is notorious for its meat dishes, but I was still able to get a taste (er...many dishes worth) of their cuisine. Whether or not you eat meat, here's a guide to Morocco's best vegetarian dishes.






MOROCCAN SALAD

Moroccan salad tastes an awful lot like bruschetta, which is a good thing in my book! Composed of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley, it's a great starter dish or light snack. A salad will set you back about 7-10 dh.


MOROCCAN SOUP

I'm not a huge legume lover, yet even I'm obsessed with this soup! Generally, Moroccan soup has chickpeas, lentils, onions, celery, and other vegetables, so it's both filling and nutritious. You need to be a bit careful when ordering Moroccan soup, though, as some restaurants put meat in it. Make sure you double check! Ten dh should be your maximum price.


COUSCOUS

If Morocco is known for a single dish, it's couscous. Stewed vegetables sit atop a bed of these microscopic grains, these vegetables often being eggplant, carrots, zucchini, and onions. Carnivores, fear not--there are plenty of couscous dishes with meat in them. Expect to pay 40-60 dh.


TAGINE

Tagine is another dish with North-African origins. It's essentially a vegetarian couscous dish with potatoes instead of couscous grains, and it's cooked in a traditional clay pot over a fire or in an oven. (With their lids on, I think the tagine pots look like miniature teepees--check them out!) Tagines almost always come with bread, allowing you to scoop up any remains. While they are tasty, there isn't much variety for vegetarians, as the same types of vegetables are always used. After 10 days of eating tagines, I was so sick of them, despite their deliciousness! Any vegetable tagine that costs over 50-60 dh is overpriced.


BEVERAGES

Without a doubt, Morocco has the best drinks. Mint tea is a traditional beverage that one takes at meals, in between meals, and with company (so, all the time), and it's loaded with sugar and fresh mint leaves. Even though I own a Moroccan tea set and mint leaves, the tea tastes 1000 times better in Morocco than when I make it at home! A glass will usually cost 5-7 dh.


No matter how many glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice you've had in your life, you haven't lived until you've tried the orange juice in Morocco. They literally just squeeze oranges and pour the juice into a glass, yet it tastes so much better than any other fresh juice I've ever had. (My two visits to Morocco have confirmed this.) In Marrakech, a glass only costs 4 dh at Place Jemaâ el-Fna', meaning you should drink orange juice until you burst.


Finally, there's avocado juice. I know that sounds bizarre, but it's so good, and I don't even like avocados! (I know, I know...I'm an anomaly.) Milk is often added to make it a bit more smoothie-like, and it's fruity without being overly sweet. Plus, it's loaded with nutrients.


DESSERTS

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that nearly all of the desserts in Morocco are vegetarian. Unfortunately for me, I'm allergic to nuts, so I generally avoid Middle-Eastern and North-African pastries altogether. Fruit is considered a dessert here, so I had that option at least. The fruit mostly consisted of clementines, oranges, and bananas, but at one restaurant they served us sliced oranges with cinnamon sprinkled on top. So unexpectedly delicious.


Moral of the story--vegetarians, don't be afraid to try Moroccan cuisine! And regardless of your dietary preferences, I think everyone can find something in this post that they like.

For those of you who have tried Moroccan fare--what's your favorite dish?

2 comments:

  1. Love this! I've no plans to go to Morocco but I'm always looking for some new international recipes. Go life-long vegetarians!

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear what you have to say!

 
BLOGGER TEMPLATE BY DESIGNER BLOGS