This simple vegan eggplant recipe with chickpeas and tomatoes is all the comfort! And you'll love the Greek flavors thanks to a little extra virgin olive oil and a combination of warm spices including oregano, paprika, and a pinch of cinnamon.
Eggplant is one versatile ingredient you can use in many delicious and satisfying ways.
Roasted. Fried. Stuffed. In hearty dinners like eggplant rollatini, eggplant parmesan or moussaka. You can even make eggplant fries. Yes, I said fries!
You can also turn an eggplant into one wholesome stew like in today's vegan eggplant recipe with chickpeas and tomatoes.
I've been making a lot of simple vegan recipes from pantry staples lately, and this eggplant recipe totally fits the bill--easy, comforting, and it takes one pot.
Why this recipe works? The quick braising process cooks the eggplant to tender perfection, it seriously melts in your mouth. Plus, you'll love the Greek vibes thanks to a little extra virgin olive oil and earthy, warm flavors including oregano, paprika, and pinch of cinnamon.
A few important eggplant tips before we get to this tasty recipe.
Tips for buying and preparing eggplant
Some are intimidated by eggplant's spongy texture. And many worry about the likelihood that their eggplant dish will taste bitter. Regardless of what eggplant recipes you try, a few tips are helpful to follow before you start:
- Choose eggplants with smooth, shiny skin that are uniform in color. If the eggplant skin looks shriveled or somewhat discolored, do not buy it.
- Choose eggplants that are smaller and feel heavy for their size. Smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter and they have thinner skin and less seeds.
- Test your eggplant for ripeness before buying. Lightly press a finger against the skin and if it leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ripe.
- Salt your eggplant before cooking. I've talked about this before. Salt the cut eggplant and let it "sweat" for a few minutes (or an hour, if you have the time) before cooking. Some don't think this step is necessary, but it can help in a couple of different ways: salting will draw out moister and help break down the spongy texture of eggplant. It can also rid the eggplant of some of it's bitterness.
Ingredients for this Eggplant Stew
This recipe takes three humble ingredients--eggplant, chickpeas, and canned tomatoes--paired with a few spices and some extra virgin olive oil. Here's what you'll need:
- Eggplant- about 1 ½ pounds of globe eggplant (that's 1 large eggplant or 2 smaller ones)
- Yellow onion, green pepper, carrot, and garlic- these chopped veggies are sauteed with the spices in extra virgin olive oil to form the flavorful base for this recipe
- Spices and such- dry bay leaf, dry oregano, sweet paprika (or smoked paprika if you prefer), coriander, cinnamon, hint of turmeric, and black pepper. This combination of earthy and warm spices is really what makes this dish so comforting. If you don't have all the spices, don't let that deter you from making this easy dish. You can omit some of the spices and do more of the ones you have. (You can find all-natural and organic spices at our online shop).
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil to cook this vegan stew. And if you want the full Greek effect, drizzle some of this tasty EVOO to finish this comforting dish. (You can learn about this olive oil at our online shop here).
- Chopped Canned Tomatoes- one large can of chopped or diced tomatoes with their juices brings this stew together and provides sweetness and beautiful umami
- Chickpeas- canned chickpeas are a great option here. They're ready to use, no need to soak overnight.
- Fresh Parsley (optional)- If you have it, a little fresh parsley or mint is a great garnish to add to this dish. Totally optional.
Greek-style eggplant recipe: step-by-step
Step 1: Salt eggplant
Cut up the eggplant into cubes or large bite-size pieces. Sprinkle with some kosher salt and leave in a large colander in your sink or over a bowl. Let it sweat for 20 to 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, then rinse and pat dry.
Step 2: Sautee chopped onions, veggies, and spices
Warm up some extra virgin olive oil and add onions, peppers and carrots. Toss around for a few minutes, then stir in garlic, bay leaf and spices (paprika, coriander, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper). Cook just briefly till fragrant.
This is this is where all the flavor in this recipe comes from.
Step 3: Add chopped tomatoes, eggplant, and chickpeas and bring to a boil
Now, pour in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas (and chickpea liquid or water), and eggplant. Bring this party to a boil for a good 10 minutes (this is the start of the braising process).
Step 4: Transfer to oven
Now to finish cooking, cover the eggplant stew and transfer it to a 400 degree heated oven. Let it cook to tender perfection for another 45 minutes or so. Tip: be sure to check on the eggplant stew part-way through cooking, adding a little liquid if you feel it needs it.
Step 4: Serve
When ready, fish the eggplant stew with a generous drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO). Add a garnish of fresh parsley, if you like.
Transfer to serving bowl over my 15-minute couscous or just a side of warm pita bread. A dollop of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and some olives make a great addition here. And, to keep with the Greek theme, you can start with a traditional Greek salad.
More eggplant recipes:
Visit Our Shop
Easy Greek-Style Eggplant Recipe
- 1.5 lb eggplant cut into cubes
- Kosher salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper stem and innards removed, diced
- 1 carrot chopped
- 6 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 dry bay leaves
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon sweet paprika OR smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon organic ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon organic ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 28- oz can chopped tomato
- 2 15- oz cans chickpeas reserve the canning liquid
- Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to "sweat out" any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.
- In a large braiser, heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.
- Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.
- Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about ½ cup of water at a time.)
- When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of Private Reserve EVOO, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.
- Slow-cooker instructions: you can prepare the recipe up to step #3 as written. Then transfer ingredients to your slow cooker. Add 1 cup water and the remaining ingredients from step 4. Cook on low for 4 hours or until eggplant is very tender.
- Visit our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and all-natural and organic spices used in this recipe.
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2018 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!
I've made this dish a few times now and I'm obsessed! The cinnamon and paprika spice combination is really delicious. It's a hearty and filling stew, and I add a bit of red chili for some heat.
Absolutely delicious !
This was delicious, super easy to make and an inexpensive meal. This recipe made at least 8 servings, in my estimation. My husband and I had this for dinner, I took at least 2 portions to my son and just packaged up portion for daughter and son-in-law and still have enough for another night, which I plan on freezing. I loved the flavors! For my son, who loves the heat, I made a harissa Greek yogurt sauce. I'm not sure how that turned out, but he'll eat anything!
Thanks so much for taking the time to review, CherieDe!
I've had a hard time cooking eggplant in the past, could you be a little more specific about how big the cubes are supposed to be?
Hi, Emily! We aim for 1 inch cubes here.
I've made this recipe a few times now and each time I've chopped the eggplant up pretty small, maybe a few centimeters length, sort of like a loose dice. It has been amazing every time I make it! Hope this helps!
I don't ever let eggplant sweat and recipes turn out great. This was a hit with my family, thank you very much! I switched the diced tomatoes to fire roasted which made it even tastier. It had great flavors and nutritious, I will be making this again.
So delicious. I’m eating it from the pot!
Excellent Recipe! Best thing about it... If you somehow get graced with having leftovers of this, it gets better and better as the flavors infuse overnight.
I highly recommend pairing this as a brunch dish with some over easy eggs spilled over the top! It's next level.
Ooo! Great idea! Thanks, John!
Could leftovers be frozen.
Hi, Renee. You absolutely can freeze leftovers for later. Thaw in your fridge overnight and add a little liquid when reheating.
I'm a confirmed carnivore, but my partner eats very little meat. I've been looking for recipes we can both enjoy, and this one is perfect: hearty enough for me even without meat, but vegetarian for him. I served it over couscous and topped it with mint and feta, and it was perfect. I've always liked cooking with North African spices, but I don't always get the proportions and quantities right when doing it on my own. This recipe (and the others I've tried from this site) provides the perfect balance of ingredients. It was a huge hit, and we can use for a company meal for our vegetarian guests. Thanks!
Awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a lovely review!
This was very easy to prepare, and it tasted delicious! What a beautiful combination of spices! I sadly did not have fresh parsley or mint on hand, but I definitely will next time! I topped mine with some Greek yogurt and some chopped walnuts. I think I will try toasted pine nuts instead next time.
Sounds delish, Kim! Thanks for sharing your additions!
Recipe sounds delicious - how to covert to insta pot directions-
Hi, Sharon. While we haven’t tried this particular recipe in an instant pot, I think you could, using the sautee option first, then cook on manual 20 mins or so. Again, this is just my guess. Would love to hear your feedback if you give it a try!
This is one of my faaavorite recipes!! The one recommendation/addition I would make would be to drizzle balsamic vinegar over it at the end just to give it that little kick— it’s amazing! 😊
Love that idea! Thanks, Esther!
Hi Suzy - love eggplant, not a fan of chickpeas. Is there anyway to make this without the chickpeas or their aquafaba?
Sure! You can replace them with another type of bean you enjoy :).
Fantastic flavors! I love eggplant but my tongue seems to be allergic to it, unless it’s cooked like this. Smooth, full of flavors, warm your heart recipe. I made it in a cast iron pan
This was delicious, although I doubled the spices (except salt) after tasting it. I only had one can of chickpeas, but that was plenty. And I used a Rachael Ray trick--a tablespoon of vinegar after it came out of the oven to brighten the flavors just a tad. I didn't have the ingredients to make tzaziki, but I crumbled a little feta over the top with the parsley. I even made pita (NYT recipe, so easy). I will definitely make this again.
Ooo! Thanks for sharing that vinegar tip!
I'm cooking this right now, but I have a question. Why would you drain the chickpeas only to throw the chickpeas and the liquid together into the pot? And once before I tried including the liquid (aquafaba) and it gave everyone gas, which it is well known to do and that's why you're usually instructed to drain well and discard the liquid. That's often the only way some people can eat beans without distress afterwards.
Hi, Joan. Good catch. Yes, if you ware using the chickpeas and the aquafaba, no need to drain, since as you noted, you do add the chickpeas and the liquid in one step. If you'd prefer to use water instead of the aquafaba, then you would drain them.
Such a great recipe with perfect flavours! I’ve made this with ground beef, with chicken, without chickpeas and other variations with the same spices and it always turns out amazing!!