Tajine el Bey

    Tajine el Bey is a very elegant and refined variant of the Tunisian tajine, although it is very simple to prepare. It has the distinction of being made of 3 separately assembled mixtures to form a layer of meat, a layer of spinach, and a layer made of ricotta.

    This tajine has a very original texture, which melts in the mouth.

    It is presented in the same way as the baklawa el Bey, a pastry made with tricolor almond paste, cut in diamond shapes. The colors that make up these dishes, red and green, are those of the Bey of Tunis.

    Tunisian Tajine Vs Moroccan Tajine

    Tunisian tajine should not be confused with Moroccan tajine which is more familiar to most people and is cooked and presented in the dish of the same name.

    Tunisian tajine is more like a thick omelet, often made with meat stewed in a sauce, cheese, and eggs, cooked in an oven.

    Tajine el Bey Recipe

    It has the distinction of being made of 3 separately assembled mixtures to form a layer of meat, a layer of spinach, and a layer made of ricotta.

    Beys: The Beys were famous for being gourmets, very demanding in terms of gastronomy. It is used to indicate the finesse and elegance in a recipe.

    Rigouta: It may seem surprising to see ricotta among the ingredients of a Tunisian dish. However, Tunisia produces rigouta, an artisanal whey cheese, very similar to ricotta.

    Tabel: or tabil is a spice blend used in Tunisia and Algeria, that is used in the preparation of tajine el Bey, but which can also be used in many other traditional recipes.

    Depending on the cooks who prepare it, other ingredients can be added such as dried mint, bay leaves, dried rosebuds, salt, cumin, turmeric, and cloves.

    The tabel perfectly elevates the meat and spinach in this recipe. The presence of coriander seeds and their citrus scent brings a very pleasant freshness.

    Below is the step-by-step recipe on how to make Tajine el Bey. Enjoy!

    Tajine el Bey

    Sabrina Gérard
    Tajine el Bey is a delicious and refined variant of Tunisian tajine. It consists of 3 layers of stuffing's mounted separately to compose a layer of meat, spinach base and ricotta, representing the 3 colors of the Bey of Tunis.
    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Course Appetizer, Main Course
    Cuisine north african, Tunisian
    Servings 8
    Calories 559 kcal


    • Baking dish (13 x 9 inches)


    • For the meat layer
    • 1 lb beef ground
    • 2 onions grated
    • 3 cloves garlic pressed
    • 2 oz. cheese e.g. mozzarella, grated
    • 4 eggs beaten
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon tabel Tunisian spice blend
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • For the spinach layer
    • 10 oz. fresh spinach rinsed, drained and finely chopped,
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 whole eggs
    • 2 oz. cheese e.g. mozzarella, grated
    • ½ teaspoon tabel
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    • For the ricotta layer
    • 10 oz. ricotta
    • 2 oz. cheese e.g. mozzarella, grated
    • 3 egg whites lightly beaten
    • Black pepper
    • For the mold
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • For the decor
    • 3 oz. walnuts or pistachios, slightly roasted, crushed


    • For the meat layer
    • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown the onions for a few minutes.
    • Add the ground meat and garlic and stir well.
    • Add the cumin and the tabel. Add salt, black pepper and mix well.
    • Cook the meat over medium heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
    • Remove the meat from the heat and let it cool for 15 minutes.
    • Add the grated cheese and eggs and mix well.
    • Gently mix this preparation to obtain a smooth and even layer.
    • Preheat the oven to 350F (180˚C).
    • Butter a baking dish and pour all the ground meat mixture.
    • Using a spatula, even out the surface.
    • Bake for 10 minutes. The surface must harden a little.
    • For the spinach layer
    • In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Sauté the spinach, stirring regularly until all the liquid is reduced.
    • Let cool completely then add the egg yolks, the whole eggs, and the tabel.
    • Season with salt, pepper and stir well.
    • Pour the spinach stuffing in the oven dish, on top of the meat layer, then sprinkle with grated cheese.
    • Bake for 10 minutes.
    • For the ricotta layer
    • Mix the ricotta, grated cheese, and egg whites.
    • Add the ricotta mixture to the spinach layer and bake again for 10 minutes.
    • Let cool and cut small diamond-shaped slices.
    • Sprinkle each with crushed nuts or pistachios or a mixture of both.


    Calories: 559kcal
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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