Leftovers tagine

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve often heard people complain about being sick of eating leftovers after Christmas and never really understood it.  I love meals made up of leftovers: it is as if past me has considerately done half of the cooking for present me, as well as giving me a rather virtuous feeling of not letting things go to waste and getting the best value out of the food I have bought.  Leftovers can also be a great source of creativity: you have a set selection of main ingredients and the challenge of coming up with a fresh and interesting way of presenting them.  Turkey curry is a common option after Christmas: I wanted to keep the spicy theme so it didn’t taste like Christmas dinner again but try something a little different.  This tagine is very quick and easy to make and, although I have made it with only vegetables here, you can add in any kind of roast meat as well.  I have paired it with a carrot and beetroot salad with a zingy cranberry dressing as a fresh antidote to richer Christmas fare, as well as using up some extra cranberry sauce.

Leftovers tagine

Cooking time: 20-50 minutes (depending on whether you already have leftover roast vegetables)

Dietary info: vegan (unless of course you add leftover roast meat), gluten-free – if you are using a commercial cranberry sauce just check that it is vegan or gluten-free

Serves: 2-3

  • 1 leftover roast carrot, or raw carrot cut into batons
  • 1 leftover roast parsnip, or raw parsnip cut into batons
  • 200g leftover cooked brussel sprouts, or raw but washed and any tough or very dirty outer leaves removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200ml water, plus extra if it dries out (plus 100ml extra if the vegetables are raw)
  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Put the onion in a frying pan with enough water to just cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and most of the water has evaporated.
  2. Add the spices and salt and stir to coat the onion.
  3. Add in the carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce and water and cook for about 5 minutes, uncovered, until the vegetables are heated through and the sauce has thickened enough to coat them nicely.
  4. If you don’t have any leftover roast vegetables then you can either steam the vegetables separately (5 minutes for the carrots and parsnips, then roast for 20-30 minutes, 10 minutes steaming for the brussel sprouts), or just add raw vegetables to the saucepan, add 100m extra water and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not mushy.  Serve with a fresh salad (see carrot and beetroot salad below) and extra cranberry sauce, or cranberry harissa dressing (see below)

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • The tagine can be completely made ahead, kept in a sealed container in the fridge then just reheated on the night.
  • The carrot and beetroot for the salad can be prepared ahead and kept for a few days, covered, in the fridge then just dressed on the night (it can even be dressed in advance but is just at more risk of going a bit soggy).
  • The cranberry harissa dressing can be made ahead and kept for at least a week in a sealed container in the fridge.

Some tasty little twists and extras…

  • This tagine can be used to use up any leftover roast meat or vegetables, or leftover steamed or boiled vegetables e.g. roast turkey or chicken, roast potatoes, steamed cabbage, carrots, peas etc.
  • Is is also a good way to use up any vegetables that you have around the house that are starting to look a bit sorry for themselves (e.g. aubergines, squash, peppers, courgettes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, beetroot, celeriac, any other root vegetable etc.). Just add them when the onions are soft and cook them until they are starting to soften but are not mushy.  If you have vegetables that need very different cooking times you will need to add the ones that need the longest cooking first then add the softer ones just as the harder ones start to soften e.g. hard root vegetables or squash will need longer than softer vegetables such as courgettes or sugar snap peas. If you are not sure how long the vegetables will need, steam them separately and just add them all, cooked, at the same time.
  • If you are not a fan or brussel sprouts replace them with shredded savoy cabbage, calvo nero or broccoli, or just leave out altogether.

A fresh, tangy salad is a lovely accompaniment to this tagine and is a good pick-me-up in the season of winter colds and heavier winter food.  This one makes good use of winter vegetables and leftover cranberry sauce.  See my Christmas spice vegetable stew for my cranberry sauce recipe.  If you use a commercial variety, or a homemade variety with more sugar than my version, you probably won’t need to add any more sugar to the dressing.

Carrot and beetroot salad with cranberry harissa dressing


  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 beetroot, grated (I used yellow beetroot but you can also use normal beetroot)

Cranberry harissa dressing

  • 3 tbsp cranberry sauce (see my cranberry sauce recipe here)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2-3 tsp harissa (depending on how spicy you like it) – if you can’t find harissa use a 1/3 tsp each of paprika, chilli, coriander, cumin, garlic, dried mint and salt)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • A pinch of sugar or sweetener, to taste, if you are using my cranberry sauce recipe or another virtually unsweetened sauce, a commercial / sweetened sauce probably won’t need any more sugar
  1. Steam the grated beetroot for 3 minutes, until just softening (you can skip this step if you prefer raw beetroot).
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Mix the carrot and beetroot together and dress with about half the cranberry harissa dressing.  Serve with the remaining dressing to drizzle over on the table.

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