North African recipes borrow from the cooking cultures of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa itself. Their flavors offer a mix of warm, comforting, and simple meals worth trying out, no matter where you’re from. But what exactly constitutes fascinating popular North African cuisine? Don’t worry, we will explore this soon. We don’t only look at what is traditional African food, but we go deep into the specifics of each region. Here you can also find the best meat alternatives for vegetarian African food. Read on to discover more!
What is traditional African food in the North?
Let’s not just generalize on flavors but cut to actual North African cuisine that is loved by all.
Firstly, North Africans enjoy mint tea in small glasses any time of day. Moroccans serve this tea to conclude a sumptuous meal. Mint has a calming effect on the nerves. Therefore, this is usually useful to relieve the stresses of the day. And of course, it helps with colds too.
Now if you move over to the left, past Algeria, and into Tunisia, you’ll find Harissa paste. In fact, many North African recipes use this red and hot paste. And yes, this paste is also the perfect condiment for vegetarian African foods. It is a garlicky chili paste to add tantalizing flavor to basic meals. Serve this alongside bread, stews, and starchy dishes to get the alluring taste of North African flavors.
Next, we have wheat flatbread. It is relished and used in Algeria as the square-shaped m’semen or in Morocco as disc-shaped, leavened khobz. Serve tasty m’semen with mint tea or coffee for breakfast, and tangy khobz alongside a bowl of savory dishes.
Tagine is a unique symbol of North Africa. It is said to originate in Libya, among other countries. The name refers to both the cooking vessel and the dish, which is also called maraq. The ceramic or clay cooking vessel has a cone-shaped lid, and in it is made the most amazing vegetarian African food. In simple terms, a tagine meal is the equivalent of a slow-brewed one-pot dish. Spiced, yet sweetened with some dried fruit.
Lastly, we can’t forget the couscous. The staple of North African diets, and a traditional Berber dish (The Berber are a group indigenous to North Africa who were there before the arrival of the Arabs). Couscous is a very good source of plant-based protein among the popular North African dishes, making it a great vegetarian African food. Pair this with lentil soup to make a warm, healthy, and filling meal. With this, you won’t be needing to find the best meat alternatives because it doesn’t lack anything!
Speaking of spices, what is traditional African food without some dried and grounded herbs and spices? No, there aren’t really any special spices they use, just the same old ginger, cardamom, and cumin. And paprika, garlic, and cinnamon… you get it. But still, their choice of combinations makes North African cuisine special. You can read more on the use of spices in Africa in this article about Benin in the West, or move over to the South for spices in Zimbabwe.
Other ingredients are seafood, lamb, beef… animal products. But with seitan, tofu, and all these other best meat alternatives, you’ll level up your vegetarian African food recipes.
Explore North African cuisine for yourself
Nonetheless, the rich, exotic flavors of North African recipes are better off experienced than explained. So take your plate and explore with us as we eat amazing delicacies from Africa’s Northern region. Simply plant-based recipes. Check out our other region-specific pages at the top of the page for more info on the differences in African cuisine. And don’t forget to subscribe! Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Check out our Instagram page for real-life inspirations 😊.