Moroccan Mint Roasted Vegetables

Moroccan Mint Roasted Vegetables Recipe

I was on the first flight of the day from Paris to Marrakesh. A full airplane heading south-west, three hours from tarmac to tarmac. Now, I'm not sure if it's just this time of year, but when you look out the window on final approach to Aéroport Marrakech Ménara, you're smacked with pink. The boxy buildings, the desert, the soft winter sunlight filtering through the dusty landscape - it all takes it's cue from a salmon shades of earthy pink. And you're greeted with thousand subtle variations of it. This was my first impression of Marrakesh, and it stayed with me throughout the week I was there. I'm home now, unpacking, but I wanted to share a few snapshots, and a Moroccan-spiced mint roasted vegetable dish I threw together as soon as I got home - potatoes, cauliflower, radishes accented with cumin, mint, cinnamon, and ginger.

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I'm sure some of you are curious about why I was in Morocco. It was actually a trip I've been looking forward to for months and months. I was a participant in this instant photography / Polaroid workshop. There was a pit stop ahead of that, in Paris, to pin down some details related to a project I hope to work on down the line a bit, but I was most excited about packing up my Polaroid Land camera, and my SX-70, to venture to Morocco. My friends Jen Altman, Amanda Gilligan, and Susannah Conway have a book, Instant Love coming out in a couple months, and the retreat dovetailed with the contents of the book.

Moroccan Roasted VegetablesMoroccan Roasted Vegetables

So, these shots here are just off my little digital camera, I'll scan some of the instant film shots to share soon. And I'll be able to tell you more about what I saw - we took in as much as we could. We drove around a lot, wandered the souks in Marrakesh and Essaouira, made this our home base, and shot a lot of photographs.

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I suspect some of the quiet moments will be the ones that will stay with me. The sunrise picture down below was the view from our terrace on the second morning. I tended to wake up each day just after the call to prayer and before sunrise (still on California time). The Atlas Mountains jet skyward in the distance. You hear roosters, and donkeys, and tiny birds chirping. Certainly a nice way to welcome the day.

Moroccan Roasted VegetablesMoroccan Roasted VegetablesMoroccan Roasted Vegetables

A couple notes about the roasted vegetables. I noticed many of the roasted or tagine vegetables I enjoyed in Marrakesh were visibly slathered with herbs and spices. There was a lot of cumin, mint, cinnamon - and never really the same blend twice. All very flavor forward. I'm not sure how authentic this particular attempt is, but it's tasty. And, as I note down below, you can try it with many different vegetable combinations. I simply used potatoes, cauliflower, and radishes because they looked good at my market, but winter squash would be a nice alternative. And, I imagine green beans, asparagus, fennel, would all work beautifully.

Moroccan Mint Roasted Vegetables

As I mention in the main post, I used a mix of what looked good and seasonal at my local market here, but feel free to mix it up a bit. You could certainly do pumpkin or other winter squash here, or straight potatoes (no cauliflower / radish), or green beans and broccoli in the summer. Asparagus and artichokes in the spring, etc.

1 lb / 16 oz / 450 g mix of potatoes, cauliflower, and a few radishes (save the tops)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

toppings: fresh mint, toasted sesame and/or pumpkin seeds, plain yogurt (seasoned with a bit of salt)

Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C. Wash and dry the vegetables, then cut the potatoes and cauliflower into 1/4-inch thick slices/pieces. Trim and quarter the radishes, setting aside the green radish tops.

Place the dried mint, chile pepper flakes, cumin seeds, and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound a bit, long enough to somewhat break up the cumin seeds. Add the ground cumin, cinnamon, and ground ginger. After that, add the olive oil and stir until combined.

Place the potatoes, cauliflower, and radishes in a large bowl. Pour the spiced olive oil over the vegetables and toss gently but thoroughly - until everything is equally coated. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until everything is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and serve on a platter topped with the radish greens, a squeeze of lemon and any/all of the other toppings. A fat dollop of salted yogurt really brings everything together.

Serves 4.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • Ahhh, that's always been in my Top 5 places to visit! These photos help reinforce the need to start addressing my travel dreams soon! And this recipe... so beautifully simple, yet reinforces that even the most simple ingredients can turn into a gorgeous dish if you have a well-stocked spice pantry. I can almost smell the different aromas from here. Can't wait to try this!

    Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well
  • Gorgeous! Love Morocco & It's cuisine!

  • I love this idea. I'm also looking for new ways to roast vegetables, and this was an unexpected and delicious sounding twist. Your post made me not only salivate for tagine, but made me yearn to visit Morocco. Thanks for the post! I am definitely trying this recipe this evening.

    Beth Wittig
  • I didn't find Morocco that friendly towards tourists with cameras, or even vegetarians, for that matter. Loved my trip to Erg Chebbi, though, which was the highlight of my trip. I hope the trip inspires you to create more Moroccan dishes on your blog. :)

    janet @ the taste space
  • I love the sentence near the end of the post where you state "I'm not sure how authentic this is, but it is tasty." I'm always trying new recipes/ideas for international dishes and I wonder how "authentic" they are. But, they're tasty, so who cares, right?

  • I'm excited to see what you have to say about Morocco! I'm a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and I live about an hour north of Marrakesh.

  • I love the fresh take on roasted vegetables - I can't wait to try these mixed with quinoa!

    Abby @ Fig & Fork
  • I love the fresh take on roasted vegetables - I can't wait to try these mixed with quinoa!

    Abby @ Fig & Fork
  • Ah Morocco, you lucky thing! Can't wait to see your film photos :-)

    Emma Galloway
  • It seems like EVERYONE is going to Morocco. This looks absolutely delicious. I love the spices. It might be lunch today.

  • Heidi, thanks for sharing these images. The description of your trip was wonderful. Beautiful writing, really. I'm going to give these vegetables a try. They look excellent. I can't say I cook with mint too often but I do love it. Side note-your rye bread, quinoa patties, and green lentil soup from SNED have become staples around here this winter. I can't get enough of the recipes in that book-seriously, amazing. They have transformed my cooking. I'm cooking my way through the entire thing and I never ever do that with a cookbook! Loving it all.

    HS: So happy to hear you're enjoying the book :)

  • The photos are positively gorgeous, the colors and light are enchanting. Roasting is my favorite way to cook vegetables and this spice blend looks phenomenal. I would never think of combining those different flavors on my own.

  • This looks delicious! Mint is good on everything. I can't believe you just went to Marrakesh; my friend and I are going in early March! I know this isn't what your blog is about (at all), but I have to ask: any advice on how two early twenty-somethings should dress in the city?

    HS: Hi Genevieve. You really see a mix of Western and traditional dress there. My advice is to take your cue from the weather - hot or cold (so you're comfortable), and also be mindful of the Muslim culture. I wore sleeves and clothing that covered my legs (or hit below the knee)...tunic tops, dresses, jeans. I dressed much as I would in San Francisco, but they were in a bit of a cold spell when I was there ;)...have a great trip.

  • Hi! Our friend had just come from marrakesh to visit us in goa. he showed us wonderful pictures too. he had the chance to drive out with a truck into the dessert further into the south of marocco. amazing place to visit for sure! As I can see u took out some inspiration of that trip. interessting flavoure combinations, wonder if your roasted vegetables can take me to a trip into enchanted worlds.

    Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb
  • Your post has brought back brilliant, mouthwatering memories of Marrakesh, You're so right about about the's everywhere ...but it's also about the smells of street vendors cooking merguez, the tastes of sweetness in savoury dishes...and the atmoshphere! Did you go to the main square and into the depths of the market?

    HS: I did - a number of times. Mind-blowing.

    thinking of the days
  • This is a good example of how dried herbs aren't just a poor substitute for fresh ones. They are simply different ingredients with different uses. This dish would be totally different, and probably not as good, with fresh mint in particular. Nice idea to roast radishes, I've never tried that before but it sounds good!

    Michael Natkin
  • I can't wait to see your instant photos Heidi - these ones already look amazing. I also can't wait to try this recipe - the combination of flavours sounds so tasty. Thanks!

  • I've wanted to go to Marrakesh forever!! I love Moroccan food - it's so veggie-friendly and packed with flavor. I've roasted vegetable with mint before - it's delicious!!

    Anjali @ The Picky Eater
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