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.
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:
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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.)
- 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!