This gluten free appetizer has all the flavor of the traditional Moroccan cigar, but modified to be a gluten free appetizer with accessible alternatives you can find in your grocery store. These Moroccan Cigars come together easily and are made with a rotisserie chicken, California Prunes, grain free tortillas, warming spices, and avocado oil. This Moroccan appetizer will be the perfect flavorful finger food for your guests to try something new, fun and flavorful. It’s sweet and complex from the California Prunes, complemented by the savory aromatic traditional Moroccan spice blend. These were a staple before Shabbat dinner at my Moroccan family table, usually made with ground beef which is an easy substitute if you prefer. You’ll love this inspired Moroccan appetizer.
This post was made in partnership with California Prunes as we love and eat prunes regularly in our home.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Easy to put together, but a total show stopper.
Rotisserie chicken makes this an easy and satisfying appetizer for your guests.
It’s a flexible format – substitute ground beef or lamb if you prefer.
Use gluten free phyllo dough if you can find it for a flakier bite.
A rotisserie chicken is such an amazing convenience item to help create magic when you’re running low on time and energy. You can take a shortcut to creating a fun Moroccan themed appetizer, dinner, or date night.
While this Moroccan appetizer is traditionally made with ground beef and a flakey dough, since going gluten free and having gluten free family, I love to make these. The flavors are sweet, savory, fragrant, and warming. It’s the perfect way to make something noteworthy and special without starting the process from scratch.
This recipe reflects not only the flavors of my family celebrations, but my Moroccan heritage too. It’s a total win to have flavors and food from our Moroccan family traditions adapted to fit various dietary needs – a total win!
California Prunes are the best dried fruit for Moroccan food as it gives the sweet, sticky element that many Moroccan dishes call for but prunes have a complex flavor profile highly complimenting the shallots, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, paprika. It’s the perfect way to round everything together without being overpowering in the sweetness.
The flavor complexity and nutritional superiority of the versatile California Prune can lend itself to endless applications around your kitchen to level up your appetizers and meals such as this recipe, but also cheese boards, deserts, and midday snacks! Stock your pantry with California Prunes to enhance everyday recipes with antioxidants and fiber that help with blood sugar regulation and digestion!
Do I need to make Moroccan Seasoning?
NO, you can use any store bought ras-el-hanout blend if you prefer and are looking for more ways to make this easy and accessible on any time frame.
What toppings or dressings do I serve with these Moroccan appetizers?
The possibilities are truly endless, and I encourage you to be creative. I made a harissa and tahini dressing for those who might want a spicy bite as well as a cooling coconut yogurt, green onion, parsley and cilantro sauce. Both are delicious paired with the Moroccan Cigar bite!
Herbs are a lovely way to balance the richness in the bite, so I continued to dip in the herby dip, while other guests loved the bite of the spice. Both recipes are below!
Optional Delicious Moroccan Inspired Sauces:
Dairy Free Yogurt and Herb Sauce
4 ounces coconut yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 green onions, white and light green parts finely chopped
1 handful of cilantro and/ or parsley, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
Harissa Tahini Sauce
4 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp harissa sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: add all the ingredients (minus the water) to a small bowl and whisk, adding in cold water 1 tbsp at a time until smooth, creamy and well combined.
This gluten free appetizer has all the flavor of the traditional Moroccan cigar, but modified to be a gluten free appetizer with accessible alternatives you can find in your grocery store. These were a staple before Shabbat dinner at my Moroccan family table, usually made with ground beef which is an easy substitute if you prefer.
Moroccan Cigar Appetizer Ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup shallots, thinly sliced(approximately 4 medium shallots)
3/4 cup California Prunes, finely chopped
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped well (3-4 cups of meat)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups water
Grain Free tortillas, 14-16, both almond flour and cassava flour work great.
Avocado oil for frying, amount equal to 1-1.25 inches deep in the skillet
2 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped for garnish
How To Make Moroccan Cigar Appetizer
Step 1: Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, and sautee the shallots until they’ve softened, approximately 3-4 minutes.
Step 2: Add the chopped California Prunes into the pan, and add a little oil if necessary, followed by the dry spices, ginger, garlic, and water. Bring this mixture to a low simmer so it reduces a bit and prunes soften and get jammy.
Step 3: Add the chopped chicken to a large bowl, and let the prune and spice mixture cool a bit before you add it to the chicken. Mix it well so the chicken is all coated with the spice mixture. Test it for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your preferences.
Step 4: Preheat a medium skillet over medium low heat. Especially with grain free tortillas, they need to be warmed before you attempt to roll them. Using olive oil, or avocado oil spray warm the tortillas for 20 seconds or so on each side until they are pliable.
Step 5: Working in batches, put approximately 2-3 tbsp of the chicken mixture into the tortilla on the end closest to you, and tightly roll it up, placing it seam side down.
Note: While traditionally these cigars are sealed on all sides, the grain free tortillas crack when attempting this. When working with the tortillas, I found it was best to simply tuck the meat mixture in on either end.
Step 6: Preheat your medium skillet coated with 1 ¼ inches of avocado or other neutral high heat cooking oil to 350 degrees. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Carefully add 3 of the cigars at a time, seam-side down into the skillet with tongs. They will cook for approximately 1-2 minutes on the first side, and then rotate them when the tortilla is golden and crispy.
Step 7: Prep a rack over a sheet tray. As the Moroccan Cigars are done frying, remove them to the tray and keep them warm in the oven.
Step 8: Cut them in half on the diagonal, place them on a tray with your chosen dipping sauce(s), sprinkle with parsley and serve!
Recipe Tips & Variations
For best results, serve immediately.
Prep the sauces ahead of time, or buy ready made sauces!
Prep ahead by having the California Prune, spice and chicken mixture made ahead.
Substitute gluten free phyllo dough, egg roll wrappers when accessible.
Storing & Reheating
Storing: This complete dish really is best fresh, butyou can compile them and fry them slightly and finish frying to reheat. The airfryer can be a great tool to help speed this up!
Reheating: Use the air fryer or convection setting on your oven to reheat these to make them crispy. If using the oven, place them on a rack to allow air flow.
Freezing: These can be frozen on a sheet tray to keep them separate. Once frozen, you can place them in a zip top bag in the freezer to air fry on a night when you’re craving a little Moroccan flair!