This recipe is for all of you who don’t particularly like eggplant, but are intrigued by these odd, purple (or white, or striped) vegetables. Or perhaps you’re like my daughter who kept getting eggplants in her produce box and just let them rot rather than cook them. So, the last time I was visiting and found an eggplant in her refrigerator, I made this recipe and convinced her, her husband, and her cousin that eggplant could be pretty good after all!
Eggplant with Chickpeas
I don’t often buy eggplant, but when I do, this is probably my favorite way to prepare it. This recipe was inspired by a Lebanese dish I once had the pleasure of trying. We use one medium eggplant, but the smaller varieties also work well and will save you the step of degorging (see Technique tip at the end of the recipe).
30 to 45 minutes
Trim the top of the eggplant by removing a thin slice. Do not remove peeling, as it adds color to the dish. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl.
Degorge the eggplant if larger than 2 inches in diameter.* (There are varieties that are long and narrow like a cucumber.) To degorge, sprinkle salt over the cubes and toss to coat well. Let stand about 30 minutes while you continue to work.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a colander.
Chop onion. Heat oil in large skillet over medium to medium-low heat, and add onion. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion is soft and translucent.
Mince garlic, then add to onions, along with cumin. Cook and stir 1 minute.
Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, and vinegar.
If salted, rinse the eggplant cubes thoroughly in a colander. Add to the chickpea mixture. Simmer about 20 to 30 minutes uncovered. If the mixture gets too dry, add up to 1/4 cup water.
Stir in cinnamon, allspice, and pepper. Add salt only if needed. (It depends on whether you degorged the eggplant, and how well you rinsed off the salt.) Cover and simmer another 5 minutes, or longer if desired.
Add chopped parsley (or mint) just before serving. Garnish with extra sprigs if desired.
Salting and rinsing (degorging) the eggplant is not necessary when using baby or small varieties (up to 2 inches in diameter at the thickest part). Salt pulls out excess moisture in large eggplants, as well as any bitter flavor in the seeds.
- For a vegetarian meal, serve with brown rice or pita bread, and our Cucumber Raita or a dollop of Greek yogurt.
- Serve with chicken or beef as a side dish.