One of my all-time favorite summer vegetables is eggplant. I absolutely love how versatile it can be- from eggplant rollatini and parmesan, to babba ghanoush or curried eggplant, this fiber-filled veggie is a staple in my kitchen throughout July and August.
Although the temperatures have been brutal in NYC, I dared to turn on my stove to make an eggplant stew. I find it very helpful to cook up a large batch of one recipe and use it in different forms throughout the week at lunch and dinner, and a stew defintiely fits the bill for that. Luckily, Danny has turned into a major egg-head and this is one of the few stew recipes he enjoys, especially when there's lots of melty mozzarella thrown in!
Aside from all its deliciousness, eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber, high in vitamin C and the B vitamin folate, and contains a good amount of the mineral manganese, which is crucial in many reactions for proper nutrient metabolism. Despite what Tom Brady may have you believing, there are many, many benefits to consuming this nightshade!
Read on for the stew recipe, as well as two variations on how to serve it up. If you happen to make it, feel free to tag @eat.well.together on social media and I'll show off your creation!
Eggplant Stew- makes about 3 cups
1 large to medium sized Italian purple eggplant, cut into cubes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp each-dried oregano, basil
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
Olive oil and salt
Cut eggplant into cubes, about the size of playing dice. The smaller the cube size, the faster it will cook. Mince garlic clove, and roughly chop whole onion. Set aside.
To a hot saute pan, add 3 tbsp olive oil, then toss in garlic and onion. Saute for a few minutes, careful not to let the garlic start to burn.
Add in cubed eggplant and mix with wooden spoon. The eggplant acts like a sponge and will soak up the oil quickly- resist the urge to add more as you'll soon add in the tomato sauce and use that as your softening secret, rather than more oil.
After five minutes, pour in tomato sauce and stir all together. Let mixture simmer on low heat for a few minutes, then add dried herbs and a pinch of salt as you like.
Cover and let cook for another 10-15 minutes until eggplant is softened. I am constantly taste-testing my food for "doneness" and I recommend you do the same for eggplant- there's nothing worse than undercooked, chewy eggplant! When cooked to desired softness, turn off heat and prepare the rest of your meal components.
One way to serve this stew is by mixing it with 1 cup of cooked quinoa, a thinly sliced baked chicken breast, and a hefty handful of spinach leaves. Mix it all together and top it with shredded mozzarella or parmesan if so desired (I highly recommend!).
For a slightly different take, make this into a meal for "bowl night" by adding olive oil massaged kale, a few spoons of quinoa (or any other grain you have cooked up, such as faro or brown rice), some sliced kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of ricotta salata cheese. This is a great option if you're wanting a meatless option during the week.