To American palates, few cuisines taste as brilliantly exotic as Moroccan cuisine. The flavors of this small country on Africa’s Mediterranean Coast are influenced by the rich cultures of North Africa, as well as Arabia, Spain and the wider Mediterranean. The spices of Morocco include cumin, turmeric, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and many others — warming, bold, sweet and savory.

Spices are an excellent way to add big flavor to food without relying on fat and salt. Learning to cook with new spices is a helpful step toward developing a healthy lifestyle in the kitchen. In this recipe, naturally sweet butternut squash, tart lemon and a variety of warming spices come together in a meal that is perfect for chilly nights.

This dish keeps well overnight and may even be better the next day after the flavors have had extra time to meld, making this a great make-ahead meal. Experiment by adding other vegetables your family enjoys. Try adding eggplant, zucchini, carrots or peppers.


1 lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion
4 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or regular
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
4 cups butternut squash, 1 inch cubes or 1 2lb bag pre-cut butternut squash
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or low sodium chicken broth
1 15oz can chickpeas, no salt added


Freshly chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley, slivered almonds.

To Serve

Serve with freshly made whole-wheat couscous prepared following the directions found on the box. Alternatively, substitute quinoa or brown rice.


  1. Using a fine grater or microplane, zest ½ of the lemon and set aside for step 3. Cut lemon in half and reserve.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot with lid over medium heat. Add red onion, garlic and ginger and sauté (but do not brown) until softened, approximately 6-8 minutes.

  1. Add spices and sauté for another 30 seconds before adding diced tomatoes (with their liquid), lemon zest, vegetable broth, and butternut squash. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 25 minutes.
From left to right: Cinnamon, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cumin.
  1. Remove cover and add chickpeas. Simmer for another 15-25 minutes or until squash is very tender but not so soft that it will fall apart. Add juice of ½ reserved lemon and lightly season with salt and pepper. Taste and if desired, add the juice of the remaining lemon half.

  1. Serve hot over freshly prepared whole wheat couscous (or another healthy option). Garnish with mint, parsley, and slivered almonds.

Serves 6.


Calories 149 Total Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 73 mg
Potassium 324 mg Total Carbohydrate 26 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g Sugars 5 g
Protein 6 g