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Top Simple Recipes for Healthy Eating #6: Turkey & Tomato Tagine

Posted by Catherine Taylor

Top Simple Recipes Healthy Eating Turkey As February drags on, the rain keeps up its unremitting drizzle and I still have to wear my fingerless panda-themed gloves at my desk, I find myself whistfully thinking of sunnier climes... Well, unfortunately I'm not jetting off any time soon, but there are other ways to bring sunshine into your life and that is through the evocative power of taste and the food of sun-blessed nations.

So I've turfed up this satisfying North African-tinged plate of goodness, another one of our simple recipes. Its meaty, spicy earthiness will allay those cravings to stock up on stodge, while remaining nutritious and low in fat. The star of the show is the turkey – being even lower in fat and calories than its more popular cousin chicken, but still high in protein. And of course, vital vitamins come from the vegetables and tomatoes, while garlic, spices and fresh herbs pack in the flavour. As for the couscous, this is a nice lower-calorie alternative to rice, but if you really want to maximise the health benefits of this recipe, why not opt for protein-, fibre- and mineral-packed quinoa?

Turkey & Tomato Tagine

Serves 4


For the meatballs:

  • 450 g/1 lb fresh turkey mince
  • 1 small onion, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the sauce:

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 150 ml/¼ pint turkey stock
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • freshly chopped parsley
  • freshly chopped herbs, to garnish
  • freshly cooked couscous or rice, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas Mark 5. Put all the ingredients for the meatballs, except the oil, in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Shape into 20 balls, about the size of walnuts. Put on a tray, cover lightly and chill in the refrigerator while making the sauce.

2. Put the onion and garlic in a pan with 125 ml/4 fl oz of the stock. Cook over a low heat until all the stock has evaporated. Continue cooking for 1 minute, or until the onions begin to colour. 

3. Add the remaining stock to the pan with the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened and reduced. Stir in the parsley and season to taste. 

4. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the meatballs in two batches until lightly browned all over. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. 

5. Pour the sauce into a tagine or an ovenproof casserole. Top with the meatballs, cover and cook in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is bubbling. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs and serve immediately on a bed of couscous or plain boiled rice.

Now you've got another healthy and inspiring recipe to help you keep slim and smiling for the year ahead. For more great healthy and low-fat recipes to help you on your way, check back next week for the next recipe instalment in my series of Top Simple Recipes for Healthy Eating


  • Read about the numerous health benefits of turkey here

  • Why not try replacing the couscous with quinoa? Here are some basic facts about quinoa on the BBC Good Food guide

  • Check out our great value, full colour, illustrated book Low Fat: Healthy Eating here

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Topics: Quick and Easy Recipes, healthy eating, cookery

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