Warming and flavorful, this eggplant and tomato stew with chickpeas and harissa is sweet, lightly spicy and perfectly comforting.
This one-pot stew is made with oven-roasted aubergine which is added to a slow-cooked lightly creamy cherry tomato sauce with garlic, harissa and chickpeas. Made with basically 7 ingredients, this super simple vegetarian stew is a great morrocan-style inspired vegetarian option for an easy midweek meal.
Eggplant: nowadays most eggplants have been bred and cultivated so that the no longer need to be salted to remove the bitterness. This is a terrific time saver.
Tomatoes: canned cherry tomatoes bring ultra sweet, ripe juiceiness to the sauce and a wonderful texture thanks to their thin skins. I love to use Italy‘s number one brand; Mutti (unpaid mention!). They are incredibly fresh tasting and deliciously sweet in flavor.
Garlic: six cloves, yes! Since the tomato sauce is slowly cooked, this mellows out the flavor while adding depth of flavor.
Harissa: I like to use harrisa spice mix rather than paste. If you choose to use the paste, you can reduce the olive oil slightly. Choose a brand you know and love.
Chickpeas: if you have time, prepare dry chickpeas. A pressure cooker is a great way to speed up the prep time! And, they are, of course, superior in taste and texture, but canned chickpeas are absolutely fine and a great time saver.
Cream: adds a little richness. To keep this recipe vegan, use a plant-based alternative and of course, skip the optional feta as topping.
How to adapt this eggplant and tomato stew recipe
- This easy vegetarian stew recipe can easily be adapted to add a little more depth of flavor. If desired, try adding a teaspoon cumin. Or try ras el hanout for more North African flavours.
- Add some greens for extra nutrients. Stemmed and chopped Italian lacinato kale is a great choice.
- Trade out cream for a vegan alternative, or try using creme fraiche for a little extra richness and tang.
- Switch out chickpeas for cooked black (beluga) or French green (puy) lentils.
What to serve with this vegetarian stew
Serve over steamed rice, couscous, bulgur wheat, millet, quinoa or on its own with some crusty bread. Alternatively, you could also serve it over steams greens, roasted vegetables or cauliflower rice.
If you like soups and stews, be sure to check out one of these recipes:
- Butternut Squash Stew with Chickpeas
- Minestrone Soup with Rice and White Beans
- Vegan Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew with Tofu
- Turmeric Ginger Lentil Soup
Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Chickpeas and Harissa
- 2 medium eggplants, cut into same size cubes, about 3 cm (550-600 g)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon harissa spice mix
- 2 x 400 g cans cherry tomatoes (e.g Mutti brand)
- 1 x 400 g can can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons cream (or vegan cream alternative)
For serving (optional)
- flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- crumbled feta or sheeps cheese
- cooked bulgur, rice, quinoa or grain of choice
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the cubed eggplant onto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using your hands, toss well so that all pieces are lightly coated in oil; add a little more if necessary. Spread out in a single layer, careful not to crowd too much. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes; until softened and beginning to brown. Halfway through give everything in the pan a good toss and spread out evenly.
Meanwhile, in an large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, over medium to medium low heat. Add the garlic and gently fry until golden (2-3 minutes).
Add the harissa spice mix and cook for 10 seconds. Increase heat to medium then add the canned cherry tomatoes and cook, reducing heat slightly to maintain a light simmer, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the chickpeas, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally gently stir in the cream and roasted aubergine. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow flavours to deepen. Taste and adjust flavours as needed.
Serve as is garnished with fresh parsley and feta on the side (if using) or over bulgur, rice or grain of choice. Enjoy!
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 4-5 days. They can either be reheated on the stove or enjoyed cold.
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