Chickpeas plus eggplant means super healthy and super tasty.
Here’s a healthy stew that features two classic ingredients in the Mediterranean diet: eggplant and chickpeas. Both of these ingredients are fiber powerhouses, and chickpeas are a wonderful source of meatless protein. The best part? This stew recipe comes together in a slow cooker, so you won’t have to babysit a pot on the stove.
In this episode of To Eat With Love, our Mediterranean diet cooking show, nutritionist Fiorella DiCarlo, RD, CDN, shows how to prepare this eggplant chickpea stew by adding roasted eggplant, tomatoes, sauteed onions, and chickpeas to the slow cooker, as well as rehydrated porcini mushrooms. For a healthy twist, don’t throw out the water you used to soak the mushrooms—if you add that to the slow cooker as well, it can take the place of salty broth.
This Mediterranean vegetarian stew needs just a few more finishing touches. You’ll add minced garlic, oregano, and a dash of salt. (Use this trick to make mincing garlic a cinch.) Finally, you’ll add the two ingredients that will help give this stew fantastic Mediterranean flavor: a whole cinnamon stick and sage leaves. Cinnamon is widely used in savory Middle Eastern dishes and gives these dishes a nutty, aromatic flavor. (The cinnamon stick and sage leaves should be removed before serving.)
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 cups hot water
- 2 large eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
- 1 small (1-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked overnight and drained
- 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Instructions1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine dried mushrooms and hot water in a bowl. Stir well and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve lined with a paper towel and set the liquid aside. Finely chop the mushrooms. 2. Meanwhile, peel eggplants, if desired, and cut in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides liberally with 2 tablespoons oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker. 3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper, bay leaf and the chopped mushrooms; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid and chickpeas. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the eggplant. 4. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are very tender, about 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Stir in tomatoes and parsley. Variation: Turn 3 cups of leftover stew into Eggplant & Chickpea Baked Pasta. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar 2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli according to package directions. Drain and rinse. Combine ½ cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Note) and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Toss the pasta with 3 cups stew, 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, ¼ cup chopped fresh mint (or basil) and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a large bowl. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake until the topping begins to brown.
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.