Soup & stew season is here and our friend Hanan from @Ohmygoodiescc shared her favorite hearty vegan meal for when the temperature drops. This Tomato, Eggplant & Chickpea Stew is the ultimate comfort meal plus it’s easy to make and full of fresh flavors from greenhouse grown veggies!
The temperature dropping means that it is time to break out your favorite comfort meals! And if I’m being honest, nothing can nourish the soul like a big bowl of something warm on a cold winter night! The only problem is there are so many choices! From soups and stews to classic chilis and casseroles. I have so many favorites but whenever I’m craving a meatless meal, this Tomato, Eggplant & Chickpea Stew is always the top contender. It’s so easy to make and you only need a handful of ingredients that you may already have on hand!
This is a dish that has been adapted by many cultures. The Lebanese version, Magh Mor, is made as a vegan dish, whereas the Greek version, Moussaka, also incorporates layers of meat and cheese (similar to lasagna). No matter how you make them, both are delicious options in my opinion!
LOAD YOUR STEW WITH FRESH FLAVORS-
My favorite thing about this vegan option is that you’re still able to taste all the fresh flavors. And despite being on the lighter side, you still feel the cozy comfort when serving this dish. What I find really brings this recipe together are the tomatoes. I really love using the sweetest cherry tomatoes I can find because they lend well to the smokiness of the eggplant. I’ve made this dish so many times and I can say with confidence, Pure Flavor®’s RedRoyals® Sweet Cherry Tomatoes On-The-Vine and Roma Tomatoes have been the best choice. For starters, the RedRoyals® are a perfect size which means no dicing or chopping is required. They also have a bold sweetness to them which makes them ideal for snacking – trust me! The Roma Tomatoes blend perfectly to create a sauce for this recipe. As well, since they both are greenhouse grown, they are always in season, meaning you can add fresh flavor to your recipes even in this cold weather. To top it all off, tomatoes are also loaded with good stuff like potassium & Vitamin C to help keep your family healthy and happy.
BREAK OUT YOUR DUTCH OVEN-
This Tomato, Eggplant & Chickpea Stew can be made in a pot on the stovetop, but I will use any excuse to break out my Dutch oven! I always start by giving the tomatoes a good rinse and then I set them aside. I used 2 Pure Flavor® Craft House Collection® Baby Eggplants but chose to leave some of the skin on by peeling it in a zebra pattern. Definitely not required, but I find this adds to the presentation of the final meal.
Once the eggplant is peeled, to remove some of the moisture, slice them into 2” rounds, lightly salt, and place in a strainer for at least 10-15 minutes. Pat them dry, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet along with an additional package of RedRoyals® Sweet Cherry Tomatoes On-The-Vine, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake on the middle rack at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Set aside the roasted tomatoes for serving!
TIME TO PREPARE YOUR VEGAN STEW –
While the eggplant is in the oven is when I start to prepare the “stew” portion of this recipe. To really enhance the flavor of the delicious cherry tomatoes, I blister them in a pan with some olive oil and sautéed onions. I do like to keep them “whole” instead of creating a smooth sauce. The more rustic the better! Then in with the chickpeas, blended Roma Tomatoes, and seasonings. As soon as the eggplant is done, I start layering the prepared tomatoes & eggplant in the Dutch oven until they are all used up! Cover the Dutch oven with foil and bake for 45 minutes to allow all of the flavors to really come together. This dish is best served warm and I love to top the bowl with some of the roasted RedRoyals® still on the vine! It’s usually a show-stopper when presented like this. My family loves this comfort meal as one of our meatless Monday meals, and I’m certain that yours will too!