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Moroccan Chicken with Tomatoes and Eggplant
with cauliflower rice / pine nuts

Active: 30 min Total: 1 hr
Braising (searing and then roasting in a closed pan) is a hands-off cooking technique that yields tender meat. For something different, we suggest trying this dish with chicken drumsticks, but boneless chicken thighs will cook in a shorter amount of time.
Smarts #1: Just about any spice blend will work here (though the final flavor will obviously be very different), so if you already have za’atar, Cajun blend, or even a BBQ rub, feel free to sub those for the ras el hanout.
Smarts #2: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.


Ras El Hanout:
  • Coriander, ground - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin, ground - 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric, ground (opt) - 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom, ground (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
Moroccan Chicken:
  • Onions, medium and red - 1/2 , diced
  • Ginger - 1 tsp , grated
  • Ras El Hanout (ingredients listed separately) - 2 tsp + 2 tsp
  • Chicken drumsticks - 4 (sub boneless chicken thighs)
  • Eggplant - 1 lb , cubed (Japanese or Chinese eggplant if available)
  • Mint - 6 leaves , thinly sliced
  • Pine nuts - 1 1/2 Tbsp (sub chopped almonds or walnuts)
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Diced tomatoes, preferably petite-diced (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
  • Stock, any type - 1/4 cup
Cauliflower Rice:
  • Cauliflower florets - 12 oz
  • Butter - 1 Tbsp


  1. Cauliflower rice - (If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Pulse florets in a food processor until broken up into ‘rice’-sized bits. Cook rice in one of two ways: 1) Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes and then fold in butter. Season with some salt and pepper; or 2) Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add butter. Saute cauliflower in heated butter for ~5 minutes, until tender but still crunchy. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Watch this video for the full how-to on cauliflower rice. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Make ras el hanout - Combine coriander, salt, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Onions / Ginger - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  4. Season chicken - Rub first portion of ras el hanout on all sides of chicken. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  5. Eggplant / Mint - Prep as directed. (Note: You can peel the eggplant first or leave the peel on.)

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  1. Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
  2. Heat an oven-safe Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and saute until golden and fragrant, ~2 minutes. Set pine nuts aside and return pan to heat.
  3. To heated pan, add first portion oil and then chicken. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Set chicken aside and return pan to heat.
  4. Add second portion of oil and then onions, ginger, and eggplant with a pinch of salt. Saute until vegetables are tender, ~7 minutes.
  5. Add second portion of ras el hanout and saute until fragrant, ~1 minute.
  6. Add tomatoes (including liquid) and stock.
  7. Nestle chicken into vegetables and cover pan with a lid.
  8. Transfer to oven and roast, covered, until chicken is cooked through and registers 165 F / 74 C in the thickest part. (This should take 26 to 28 minutes for chicken drumsticks; 18 to 20 minutes for chicken thighs.)
  9. If cooking drumsticks, remove lid from the pan and continue cooking chicken, uncovered, for an additional 6 to 8 minutes to let the chicken drumstick skin get slightly crisp.
  10. If cauliflower rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
  11. Serve chicken and vegetables over cauliflower rice with pine nuts and mint on top. Enjoy!



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