The Mediterranean diet is world-renown for its health benefits. Moroccan food gives classic Mediterranean ingredients an exotic twist, with plenty of Spanish-influenced dishes. The result is a vibrant and flavorful array of healthy dishes. Read our list to discover 10 healthy Moroccan foods and ingredients.
Couscous is the backbone of Moroccan cuisine. Eaten without any utensils, this traditionally communal dish brings families by encouraging everyone to dig in, hand by hand. Couscous is a grain similar to rice, frequently served with vibrant vegetables and a hearty broth. Common couscous toppings include nutritious choices like chickpeas, pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, squash and tomatoes. Couscous is a great source of fiber, protein, essential vitamins and trace minerals. Traditional preparation calls for the vegetables to be steamed, a cooking method that preserves nutrients.
RAS EL HANOUT
Morocco is full of spice markets, and almost all of them offer Ras el Hanout. Ras el Hanout, or “head of the store,” is a popular spice mix that no Moroccan kitchen is complete without. This vibrant spice mix consists of cumin, saffron, ground ginger, cinnamon, coriander, salt, cayenne, allspice and ground black pepper. These bold spices can be a great addition to almost any Moroccan dish, adding flavor and a wide range of health benefits. This spice mix is good for treating inflammation, insomnia, asthma, anemia, and digestion.
MOROCCAN MINT TEA
Whether you are in Casablanca, the Sahara Desert or the Tangier Rif Mountains, this you can find a spot to drink a cup of this refreshing tea. Served blazing hot, this minty tea is made with gunpowder and fresh mint leaves. Moroccan tea is typically served after and between meals, aiding in digestion.
This simple, yet zesty dish is packed with iron, protein and fiber. Lentils are low on the glycemic index and keep you feeling full without an excess of calories. This dish can either be served on its own or with beef. Lentils are both easy and relatively cheap to prepare. But this simple dish is not shy of flavor. It’s packed with bold flavors like garlic, Moroccan spices, tomatoes and onions.
Chickpeas are used in numerous Moroccan dishes, adding both savory flavor and a plenty of protein. They are also high in fiber, which aids digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Like many other legumes, chickpeas are prepared by first pre-soaking and then boiling.
In Morocco, the most popular dried fruits are dates, prunes, raisins and apricots. These dried fruits are either eaten on their own or as an addition to traditional dishes. They are packed with calcium, iron, vitamin A, magnesium and potassium. They are also high in sugar, so make sure to over indulge.
This popular side dish is prepared with lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil. This light and zesty dish contains high amounts of both vitamin A and vitamin C. Carrots also contain a powerful antioxidant called falcarinol, which has been proven to reduce tumors in rats by one-third.
Moroccan fish tagine is an honorary dish, served to guests of honor. It’s prepared with your choice of whole fish and marinated with a popular Moroccan marinade called charmoula. The base of this marinade consists of garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, and Moroccan seasoning. This special meal contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been proven to lower cholesterol, treat inflammation, and improve blood pressure.
Wild honey is popular throughout Morocco and comes in several different varieties. Carob honey is especially great for digestion. Lavender honey can help treat anxiety. And let’s not forget about Thyme honey, which improves blood pressure. Locally sourced honey can also help with allergies.
Moroccan snail soup is a popular street food. The snails are usually eaten out of the bowl with a toothpick. After the snails have been devoured, the earthy and nutritious broth is gulped down. The soup broth is flavored with a variety of different spices, some of which have antioxidant properties. Snails are a low calorie source of protein with an excellent source of essential minerals.