My spicy chickpea stew is a hearty vegetarian recipe that'll warm your belly with delicious, Moroccan-inspired flavors. Gently simmered with creamy chickpeas, tender eggplant, onions, juicy tomatoes and lots of warming spices, including harissa and smoked paprika, this chickpea stew recipe is the ultimate in vegetarian comfort food!
Chickpeas and Spice, and Everything Nice
Though my hubby and I are not vegetarian, I must admit that I really appreciate the challenge of creating delicious recipes brimming with veggies and other non-animal forms of protein to fill our bellies with.
From time to time, we like to take a break from meat, but still long for delectable dishes that are substantial, warming, cozy and satisfying, and filled with an abundance of flavor—basically, dishes in which we never miss the meat!
My spicy chickpea stew with eggplant is a vegetarian dish that I developed recently when I craved something saucy, spicy, and gloriously aromatic that we could enjoy spooning over couscous or rice on a chilly evening, and it's become a favorite of ours ever since.
Filled with creamy chickpeas, slices of tender eggplant, onions, garlic, and chunks of tomatoes, all simmered in a mildly spicy harissa-infused sauce, this mouthwatering stew has such a wonderfully silky texture.
This is a fantastic dish to curl up with on a “meatless Monday” or any day of the week when you're craving something a little bit different.
My Recipe for Spicy Chickpea Stew with Eggplant
The aroma and the layers of flavors and textures in this delicious chickpea stew is what makes this a beloved meatless recipe in our household.
It calls for very simple ingredients, ones that we often already have on hand in our pantry, which is a plus when I get a last minute craving.
I like to use lots of aromatics when preparing this chickpea stew, and incorporate a couple of sliced onions to soften with the eggplant slices before sprinkling in a hefty little combo of harissa, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander and black pepper.
And if we crave an extra spicy version of this stew, I'll even add in some cayenne pepper for more kick, or just sprinkle that into individual serving bowls as desired.
To create the rich, silky sauce, I like to use good-quality, whole, canned tomatoes that I chop by hand into chunks (along with their juices), plus a little touch of vegetable stock and lots of rich olive oil for that wonderful flavor.
I even like to add a touch of freshly-squeezed orange juice for mild sweetness and citrus flavor.
Then, I give things about an hour to very gently simmer and meld together, to create this unbelievably delicious little vegetarian delight!
Here's a peek at my recipe for spicy chickpea stew with eggplant: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I add some olive oil to to a large pot or deep pan; and once hot, I add my sliced onions and eggplant along with some salt.
- After a few minutes, when the eggplant and onions begin to soften, I sprinkle in the spices and add the garlic, and saute for a moment or two longer.
- Then, I add in my fresh orange juice, the chopped tomatoes plus their juices, the vegetable stock, as well as some good-quality, organic chickpeas, and allow the stew to very gently simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Once the stew has simmered for an hour and the chickpeas are creamy and tender and the eggplant supple, I drizzle in more olive oil, sprinkle in my finishing flourish of chopped mint, cilantro and parsley, and serve over couscous or rice.
Spicy Chickpea Stew with Eggplant
by Ingrid Beer
This rich, spicy chickpea stew with tender eggplant and tomatoes is infused with harissa, smoked paprika, citrus, and fresh mint!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 397 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2 teaspoons harissa seasoning (not packed in oil)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 small white onions, quartered and sliced
- 1 medium eggplant, quartered and sliced into bite-size pieces
- 8 cloves garlic, pressed though garlic press
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice (the juice from 1 medium-large orange)
- 1 (28 ounce) can organic, whole tomatoes with juices, roughly chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
- 2 (15 ounce) cans organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- In a ramekin, combine the harissa seasoning, the smoked paprika, the cumin, the coriander and the black pepper, and set aside.
- Place a pot or a deep, wide pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about ¼ cup of the olive oil. Once hot, add in the sliced onion and the eggplant, along with a couple of good pinches of salt, and stir to combine, cooking the onions and eggplant for about 5-6 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Add the garlic and sprinkle in the spice mixture from the ramekin, and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes longer.
- Next, pour in the orange juice, add the chopped tomatoes with their juices, and add the vegetable stock/broth, along with the chickpeas, and stir to combine. Drizzle in some additional olive oil for silky richness and flavor.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and very gently simmer the stew, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and very gently as to not break up the eggplant.
- After an hour, remove from heat and fold in the chopped cilantro, parsley and mint, and drizzle in some additional olive oil. Check to see if additional salt/pepper is needed.
- Serve the chickpea stew over rice, couscous or quinoa, or with a side of flatbread such as pita, lavash, or naan.
Tips & Tidbits for my Spicy Chickpea Stew with Eggplant recipe:
- Smaller eggplant for tender results: When choosing eggplant, look for an eggplant that is longer rather than wider for smaller slices. I like a medium-size eggplant, and simply cut that in half length-wise, then cut those halves in half again to create bite-size slices. You can even substitute a couple of Japanese eggplant (long and slim) if you desire.
- Good-quality canned chickpeas and whole tomatoes: Organic chickpeas and organic whole tomatoes with juices is my pick when preparing this recipe. These are not only healthier, but have a deeper flavor, I find. You can substitute diced tomatoes if you prefer, but I like to be able to chop the whole tomatoes by hand to create rustic, bite-size chunks for texture.
- Freshly-squeezed orange juice for best citrus flavor: Since this recipe only calls of ⅓ cup of orange juice, I like to use a fresh, medium-large orange and give that a squeeze with my little juicer for fresh flavor. The orange provides a very mild kiss of citrus flavor, plus a natural hint of sweetness.
- Terrific sides to serve with chickpea stew: Typically I'll serve this stew with some fluffy basmati rice, or even couscous or quinoa to soak up the delicious sauce. Another comforting option is a thick, soft flatbread, such as pita or naan, or even lavash.
Hungry for more comfy-cozy vegetarian recipes? Check out this Cauliflower Curry, this Vegetable Pasta with Mozzarella, this Spaghetti Squash Casserole, this Potato Gratin, this Mushroom Pasta, or these Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Artichoke!