This dish draws inspiration from a traditional Middle-eastern Eggplant and Chickpea stew but I have added a few of my own twists to it. I make this stew or a variation of it quite often. For one, I love eggplant and my husband loves chickpeas so this is one stew that works for both of us. Also, it is a dish that can be used as the main course (works perfectly for Meatless Mondays) and if you omit the addition of feta cheese at the end, it is can work for those following the vegan diet and it can be a great side dish. I like to serve it as a bed for grilled fish and the flavors of both combine really well. The last time I made it, I ate it with a bowl of boiled Quinoa and it made for a very filling and nutritious meal. It is packed with lots of flavor because I add aromatics like garlic, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, coriander and cumin during the cooking process and at the very end I add olives, fresh mint, Feta cheese and pomegranate seeds.
1. 1-1.5 lbs of eggplant (I used a Sicilian eggplant but you can use any kind of eggplant)
2. ½ medium sized red onion
3. 4 cloves of garlic
4. 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
5. 2 tablespoons of honey
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
8. 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
9. ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
10. 1 16 oz can of chickpeas
11. 1 16 oz can of tomato sauce
12. 1 bell pepper (I used a yellow one, you can use any kind)
13. 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes (I buy the jarred one from Trader Joe’s which are preserved in olive oil)
14. 3-4 tablespoons of small sized olives (I had a mix of Nicoise and small green olives)
15. 3-4 tablespoons of cubed sheep’s milk feta
16. A few sprigs of fresh mint
17. Some fresh pomegranate seeds
1. Peel and chop the onion in small diced pieces.
2. In a large heavy bottomed pan, add the olive oil and start heating it on medium heat.
3. Add the onions to the pot and stir.
16. Wash and coarsely chop the mint leaves and add them to the stew. Turn the heat off.
17. At the very end, add some cubes of feta cheese (if you are going for the vegan option, omit this step).
18. Serve the stew while it is piping hot, with a liberal sprinkling of pomegranate seeds on top. You can serve it with flat bread of any kind (like pita bread or focaccia) or with some saffron rice or fluffy couscous or some boiled quinoa.