Moroccan Recipes with Preserved Lemon

Once you've sampled preserved lemons, you'll understand why they've become such a popular – and essential – ingredient in Moroccan cooking. Here's a list of recipes which call for this tangy, salty, and delightful addition.

If you're planning to make your own preserved lemons, be aware that they need a full month to cure before they're ready to use in cooking and salads.

  • 01 of 19
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    Moroccan Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives is perhaps the most popular of Moroccan dishes which use preserved lemons. Along with saffron and ginger, they provide key flavor to this and other tagines.

  • 02 of 19
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    Moroccan Lamb or Beef with Olives and Preserved Lemon. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Surprisingly easy to make, this traditional dish may be prepared with lamb, beef, or ​goat meat. The recipe explains procedures for using a conventional pot or pressure cooker but also links to the preparation method when using a clay or ceramic tagine.

  • 03 of 19
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    Classic Moroccan Fish Tagine. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Use fresh or preserved lemon in this traditional fish and veggie tagine. A Moroccan marinade called chermoula adds plenty of flavor, but you can make things a bit fiery by adding cayenne or chili pepper.

  • 04 of 19
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    Cauliflower with Moroccan Spices. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Moroccan spices and preserved lemon transform a head of cauliflower into an exciting side dish full of flavor and color. You might also consider offering it as a light vegetarian entree.

    Continue to 5 of 19 below.
  • 05 of 19
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    Moroccan Spinach Salad with Preserved Lemon and Olives. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    I don't normally like steamed or sauteed spinach, but this cooked salad boasts such incredible flavor that it's become a personal favorite. Seasoned with olive oil, garlic, herbs and spices, it should be offered as a dip with wedges of Moroccan bread.

  • 06 of 19
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    Moroccan Beef Tagine with Carrots, Olives and Preserved Lemons. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Zesty seasoning and tangy preserved lemons contrast perfectly with the natural sweetness of carrots. If you like things fiery, offer a little harissa on the side.

  • 07 of 19
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    Moroccan Tagine with Cabbage. Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Cabbage may not make it onto your shopping list most weeks, but do give this dish a try. It's a surprisingly delicious way to prepare this Vitamin-C abundant vegetable.

  • 08 of 19
    Moroccan Lamb Tagine
    simonlong/Moment/Getty Images

    Although many Americans have never tried cardoons, in Morocco they're quite popular, particularly when prepared in this classic tagine recipe with preserved lemons and olives. How to Clean Cardoons shows how to prep the vegetable for cooking.

    Continue to 9 of 19 below.
  • 09 of 19
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    Moroccan Tangia. Flickr/Josh/CC By-NC-ND 2.0

    Although you'll sometimes find tangia recipes calling for a conventional pot or pressure cooker, the traditional way to prepare this stewed meat dish is to slow-cook it in an urn-like clay pot called a tangia. If you don't own a tangia, you can use a casserole or other oven-safe dish instead.

  • 10 of 19
    Moroccan salad and brochettes. Erg Chigaga sand dunes, Sahara desert. Morocco
    Mauricio Abreu/AWL Images/Getty Images

    Roasted pepper and tomato salad is a popular offering in homes, restaurants and roadside grills. It can be eaten as a dip or used as a sandwich filler along with meats. My sister-in-law's version includes a little bit of minced preserved lemon rind for extra flavor.

  • 11 of 19
    chicken tagine
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    The addition of preserved lemon is optional but recommended in this chicken dish with nigella seeds. The seeds impart oregano-like flavor, and have the added benefit of being very healthy for you.

  • 12 of 19
    Chicken Potatoes and Olives
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    I learned to make this delicious family-style meal from a Moroccan friend many years ago, and it has remained a family favorite ever since. Preserved lemon is optional for those who like its tangy, lemony flavor.

    Continue to 13 of 19 below.
  • 13 of 19
    Lamb Pea Tagine
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This tagine combines a number of vegetables with meat to make a complete, one-dish meal. Zesty Moroccan seasoning, preserved lemon, and olives add to the natural good flavor of the veggies.

  • 14 of 19
    Beef with carrots and chickpeas
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Another veggie-laden tagine that calls for preserved lemons and olives for extra flavor. Use lamb, beef, or goat meat. If using dried chickpeas as most Moroccans do, remember to soak them the night before.

  • 15 of 19
    Lamb,eggplant and confit citrus Tajine
    Hall, Jean-Blaise/Getty Images

    Another tagine where preserved lemons are optional but recommended. Meat is stewed with onions, tomatoes, and partially-pared eggplant. The traditional Moroccan seasoning includes ginger, saffron, turmeric, cinnamon, and pepper.

  • 16 of 19
    Lamb green beans tagine
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Although they're not shown here, potatoes are a common addition to this classic tagine of green beans. Beef or goat meat may, of course, be substituted for the lamb.

    Continue to 17 of 19 below.
  • 17 of 19
    Moroccan artichoke salad
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Artichoke hearts and bottoms are a favorite vegetable while in season during winter months. Here, they're simmered in a tangy sauce with Moroccan spices, garlic and preserved lemon. Olives add color and flavor.

  • 18 of 19
    lamb tagine
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This delicious family meal features kid-friendly potatoes stewed with lamb or beef until tender. Robustly seasoned with Moroccan spices, the sauce is given unique lemony flavor by the addition of preserved lemons.

  • 19 of 19
    Chicken tagine
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Fragrant, delicious and easy to throw together, this tagine gets baked in the oven rather than being prepared stove top. For casual meals, patates frites are often served right on top!