Friends, I’ve been dreaming of this dish for so long and it’s finally here (after much toil and experimentation).
Whenever we travel abroad, I always try to order eggplant dishes because I love seeing how other cultures prepare eggplant. I try to study the spice mixtures and cooking methods to see how they create such delicate, perfectly seasoned dishes.
This recipe is a hearty stew inspired by the flavors of a Moroccan dish called zaalouk – which is a warm salad of cooked eggplant and tomato. I added chickpeas to mine (optional) to make it more of an entrée. Served over rice, it’s near perfection.
My version is certainly inspired, and I loved experimenting with the concept of zaalouk to create something that made my taste buds sing (and hopefully yours, too).
This 10-ingredient dish starts with eggplant that’s cubed and roasted until golden brown. While that’s happening, onion and garlic are sautéed with smoky spices like paprika and cumin and then stewed in fire-roasted tomatoes.
Maple syrup balances the dish with a little sweetness while harissa paste adds a spicy, smoky flavor. All that’s left to do is add your chickpeas and let it simmer.
What are Moroccan Spices?
Some of the spices common in Moroccan cuisine are cinnamon, cumin, ginger, paprika, saffron, and turmeric. A blend called Ras El Hanout is also commonly used in Moroccan cooking. It includes spices such as anise, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, and peppers. (source)
We hope you LOVE this dish! It’s:
Easy to make
& SO satisfying
This would make the perfect dish for slow weekend dinners, or you could make it ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week! We loved it served over rice, but it would also be delicious over quinoa, steamed greens, roasted vegetables, or cauliflower rice.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Moroccan-Spiced Eggplant and Tomato Stew
- 1 large (~550 g) eggplant (unpeeled and cut into bite-size pieces // ~7 cups cubed eggplant as the recipe is written)
- 2 Tbsp olive or melted coconut oil (if avoiding oil, omit)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil (if avoiding oil, sub water)
- 1 large white or yellow onion (thinly sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 2 14.5-oz cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional // well rinsed and drained // or sub cooked lentils)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp harissa paste (or sub another favorite hot sauce or chili garlic sauce)
FOR SERVING optional
- Cilantro or parsley
- White rice, brown rice, or quinoa (or sub cauliflower rice* for grain-free)
- Fresh lemon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add diced eggplant, drizzle with avocado or olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat and roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping / tossing near the 20-minute mark.
- In the meantime, heat a large rimmed pan or pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (or water) and onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until soft and slightly caramelized.
- Add garlic, cumin, and paprika and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute more.
- Add tomatoes and their juices as well as water (or vegetable broth). Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- Remove cover and add (rinsed, drained) chickpeas (optional), maple syrup, and harissa paste and stir to coat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat.
- Remove roasted eggplant from oven, turn oven off, and add eggplant to the tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir to combine and cover. Simmer over medium-low / low heat for another 10 minutes to allow flavors to deepen.
- Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more maple syrup to balance the heat, cumin, or paprika for smokiness, salt to taste, or harissa paste for spice.
- Serve as is or over rice or grain of choice (or pasta or roasted vegetables) with wedges of fresh lemon and fresh chopped parsley or cilantro. Additional harissa paste can be added as garnish for additional heat.
- Store completely cooled leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat on the stovetop, adding more water or vegetable broth as needed to rehydrate.