Several years ago, my sister shared her recipe for moroccan spaghetti with me. I used to make it all the time! It was in a tomato sauce like traditional spaghetti but the meat was replaced with chickpeas and it had such a unique combination of herbs and spices – garlic, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, parsley, cilantro, and mint. I had originally planned on making my own gluten free version of the dish but since boneless, skinless chicken thighs were on sale at the same time I was craving the spaghetti, I decided to come up with a completely different recipe using similar flavors.
As an added bonus, my husband never liked the spaghetti recipe but he absolutely loves the moroccan chicken stuffed sweet potatoes. I assumed he was going to hate it so I was really surprised when he ate it four days in a row. He doesn’t eat anything four days in a row so that just added to my disbelief. I guess that means I can start making this on a regular basis!
Although all my recipes are dairy-free, some of my most popular recipes are vegan and vegetarian so I decided to make a vegan version for my meat-free readers. After all, the original recipe was vegetarian with chickpeas for the protein source. I’ve chosen to use chickpeas for the vegan version as well but if anybody’s either strict “pegan” or paleo-vegetarian, another option would be to toast some cashews with a little coconut oil in a skillet. It’s seriously the most amazing topping on meals like this one.
I made this recipe two weeks in a row but I ran out of sweet potatoes the second week. Instead, I served it over some rice I already had cooked. Since sweet potatoes take so long to bake, it saved me some time. You could also serve it over cauliflower rice or even steam a bag of frozen diced sweet potato in the microwave for a few minutes. I do like the presentation in the baked sweet potato the best though.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs *see notes for vegan option*
- 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 C diced eggplant
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped, fresh mint (about a small handful before chopping)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped, fresh cilantro (about a small handful before chopping)
- 1/2 C dried apricots, cut into fourths or just roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake until soft in the middle, 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size.
- Meanwhile, dice the chicken thighs into small, bite sized pieces and season with about a half teaspoon of salt.
- Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat then add the chicken. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and set aside, leaving any remaining fat in the skillet.
- Lower the heat to medium and add another 1/2-1 tablespoon of coconut oil, if needed. Add onion and eggplant to the skillet then season with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.
- If you are picky about your eggplant getting mushy, you can remove the onion/eggplant mixture and set it aside now. Otherwise, you can leave it in the skillet.
- With the skillet still over medium heat, whisk in coconut milk, cinnamon, cumin, cilantro, and mint. Stir in diced apricots and add the chicken back to the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes, until slightly thickened. If you removed the onion and eggplant, stir that back in after simmering. Remove from heat.
- Once the sweet potatoes are out of the oven and cool enough to handle, slice them open and fill with the chicken mixture. Garnish with extra fresh mint or cilantro, if desired, and serve.
Vegan variation: Substitute the chicken with 2 C prepared chickpeas. Skip steps 3 and 4 and stir the cooked chickpeas in during step 7.
If you want to save some time, instead of serving this in baked sweet potatoes, you can instead serve over rice, cauliflower rice, or just steam a bag of frozen diced sweet potatoes and add the moroccan chicken on top.