Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
22 Aug

Moroccan Chicken Casserole

We all know the saying: variety is the spice of life.

Everyone craves variety on some level, especially when it comes to what we’re eating. What is the easiest way to add variety to your meals? Turn that phrase around and you’ll have the answer: Spice is the variety of life in the kitchen.

Take a look at your spice rack. Salt, pepper, maybe some dried oregano. How about paprika and cinnamon? What about cumin, turmeric, or coriander? These aromatic seasonings can enhance anything you’re cooking. If you’re overwhelmed by all the options in the spice aisle, consider using a spice blend such as curry powder, Cajun rub or Chinese five spice. A tablespoon or less sprinkled over meat before you cook it will add a whole new dimension of flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, buy a bunch of different spices and play around with combinations.

A blend of cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon gives chicken and cauliflower a Moroccan twist. The spices mostly add depth of flavor, with just a little bit of heat. If you want a dish that’s truly spicy, that’s where cayenne comes in.

If you’re just starting to add a new variety of spices to your pantry, the spice aisle at a grocery store is a decent place to get started. If you’re really serious about exploring spices, though, you’ll want to look for either a store that specializes in just spices or an ethnic grocery store where you can buy small amounts in bulk. Ideally, buy your spices whole and grind them with a coffee grinder right before use.

Either way, remember this – spices don’t stay fragrant and flavorful forever. They fade over time. If you’ve had a spice for six months or more, stick your nose in the jar. If there’s no aroma it’s likely there won’t be any flavor either.


1 head cauliflower
2-3 pounds of chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped or grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional – the other spices will already add a bit of spiciness to the dish, so only add the cayenne if you want a really spicy dish)
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 cup minced parsley or cilantro
2 tsp salt
1 lemon


Preheat oven to 375.

The base of the casserole is cauliflower grated into a rice-like texture. Chop the head of cauliflower into small pieces. Push the pieces through a food processor using the grating blade. Spread the grated cauliflower out in a 9×13 rectangular baking pan.

Salt and pepper the chicken. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep pan over high heat. Add the chicken, browning well, about 3-5 minutes a side.

Remove the chicken from the hot pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add onion, ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onions are soft. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and all spices. Stir well.

Add red pepper, the can of tomatoes, minced parsley or cilantro and salt. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Pour the chicken mixture over the cauliflower and mix really well, so the cauliflower is completely covered by the sauce. Slice a lemon into thin slices and lay on top of the casserole. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for 25 minutes more.

Garnish with more fresh parsley or cilantro before serving.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Has anyone tried this in the crockpot?

    Nancy wrote on July 7th, 2010
  2. this was delicious. I only used half of the veggies and meat to make a smaller version but kept the spices, ginger, parsley and garlic the same as some people suggested the spices weren’t strong enough. this ratio was perfect. i agree that there was quite a bit of water when it was done. When i was pouring the mixture over the cauliflower before putting it in the oven it was very dry but when it was done it was certainly sitting in water. soooo good.

    Jen wrote on July 27th, 2010
  3. That looks really good & I want to try it for sure, but in the pic, that doesn’t look like cilantro, it looks like italian flat leaf parsley.

    catherine wrote on July 30th, 2010
    • the recipe called for either, but cilantro doesn’t look that different from flat leaf parsley… In fact my grocery store routinely puts them in the wrong places – gotta smell them to be sure :-)

      Andy wrote on August 31st, 2010
  4. This was awesome – great recipe!

    Andy wrote on August 31st, 2010
  5. Made this today. This turned out awesome!

    Eric wrote on September 7th, 2010
  6. I just made this. Yum! I added a bit too much cayenne, but that’s ok. It’s delicious and I seriously would think it’s couscous if I hadn’t made it myself. Co-workers even thought it was couscous. They couldn’t believe it wasn’t!

    Rachel wrote on September 20th, 2010
  7. Made this tonight for the whole family tonight. It was a resounding success. I really enjoyed this one. Yes, it’s a bit of a mess and some work, but it’s worth it. I used six chicken thighs, and am thrilled to have such excellent primal food for lunch tomorrow and Tuesday. :)

    Christine wrote on December 12th, 2010
  8. I decided to cook this casserole tonight. It will be my first Paleo recipe. I’ve been eating all the easy stuff so this will spice it up. Thank you!

    Halie King wrote on January 12th, 2011
  9. Made this for the 2nd time last night. We just love it. So pretty and healthy and tasty. The only thing that isn’t mentioned is raw or blanched cauliflower. The first time I blanched (or 1/2 cooked) the cauliflower and riced it using a ricer. That worked great. Last night I was hurrying so did not cook it. It wouldn’t rice so I chopped. It was still very good. I think a bit better blanched. I used golden cauliflower and the visual effect was very pleasing. Will make this one over and over.

    Debbie G wrote on February 12th, 2011
  10. Prepare this recipe but don’t bake if off in the oven just yet. Put it in the fridge overnight and then bake it off the next day. This allows the flavors to meld together. You won’t be sorry!

    lyndee grace wrote on March 11th, 2011
  11. This dish is currently in the oven doing its thing as I post this. The aroma from the spices is tantalizing. Well worth the time and effort.

    Rachelle wrote on June 12th, 2011
  12. My first paleo meal. This is in the oven with 10 minutes left to go…it’s looking very watery still though. I’m keeping my finger crossed for a pleasant meal.If it bad, my hubby will never let me be for wanting to try eating this way

    ewan wrote on August 7th, 2011
  13. this loooks amazing!!!!

    Giftty wrote on August 8th, 2011
  14. Actually visited Morocco 6 months ago. Will have to give this a try. It looks delicious!

    Deanna wrote on August 21st, 2011
  15. I’ve made it twice already, just had it for lunch…yum!!!

    Lya wrote on August 21st, 2011
  16. Made this twice in two days, love it! Thanks for sharing!

    Ken wrote on October 8th, 2011
  17. We are a newly Primal couple/family and we tried this amazing recipe out on our kids and their friends. Everyone loved this dish. We skipped the cayenne- the casserole was so flavorful! Easy and delicious…no wonder it was a finalist in the recent recipe contest!

    Michelle Blumenthal wrote on October 11th, 2011
  18. I tried this last night and it was absolutely delicious!!! I will be cooking this regularly I think :) Thanks!

    Emma wrote on October 26th, 2011
  19. made this tonight and it was quite good. if i can find some sugar-free raisins i think they’d be perfect in this. the chicken i get at my fav moroccan place usually has almonds and raisins. but the spices were pretty spot on.

    kathy wrote on December 4th, 2011
  20. This was unbelievable – It’s made it in to my stable of favorite recipes and I don’t forsee it leaving anytime soon

    MarcTheEngineer wrote on December 13th, 2011
  21. I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious. Don’t leave off the lemon, it adds a really nice touch!

    Karisa wrote on January 6th, 2012
  22. This is fantabulous ,delicious , yummy nice sheet dude………….…

    Johan wrote on January 31st, 2012
  23. Amazing my mouth is watering this moment.

    Ironhyde wrote on April 22nd, 2012
  24. Just made and have eaten it…really tasty, loved the cauli ‘rice’ although mine was more cauli cous cous.

    Simone wrote on May 22nd, 2012
  25. This was good and I even forgot to add the spices!! Must do that next time.. bet it will be 10X better! :)

    Sarah wrote on October 26th, 2012

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