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This hearty chickpea and eggplant stew is packed with flavor, fiber, & plant-based protein but made entirely of affordable kitchen staples! Stovetop & Crockpot methods below!

completed Eggplant Stew [With Tomatoes + Chickpeas] against a white surface
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Hearty Tomato, Chickpea, and Eggplant Stew

Although we do most of our stew-making during the cooler months, with a focus on summery eggplant (aubergine), this chickpea eggplant stew in a tomato-based sauce is a hearty, savory, nutrient-rich stew that creates a bowl of satisfying, comfort food we happily enjoy year-round.

Plus, it’s so simple to pull together (and adapt) this stewed eggplant recipe. It requires just one pot, simple and inexpensive pantry staples, a bit of chopping, and under an hour to pull together on the stovetop. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and vegan.

Once simmered low and slow on the stovetop or in a crockpot, this stewed eggplant combines melt-in-the-mouth tender eggplant in a flavorful, nutrient-dense tomato sauce, made heartier thanks to fiber and protein-rich chickpeas. It also stores, freezes, and reheats well – perfect for weeknight dinners.

Looking for more delicious eggplant recipes? Check out our maple-soy glazed sautéed eggplant, crisp eggplant stacks, or hazelnut eggplant pasta.

The Ingredients

ingredients for Eggplant Stew [With Tomatoes + Chickpeas] against a white surface
  • Eggplant: It’s best to use smaller eggplants (which have fewer seeds and less chance for bitterness). Make sure it’s firm with smooth, shiny skin.
  • Chickpeas: (Garbanzo beans) Use canned or home-cooked chickpeas/white beans (like cannellini). Canned lentils (brown or green) would also complement it well.
  • Mirepoix: This stew uses the classic trio of onion, carrot, and celery to add depth.
  • Garlic: Adjust the amount to taste. You could use garlic powder in a pinch.
  • Oil: Any neutral cooking oil will work, though we particularly like olive oil.
  • Tomato sauce: We used tomato basil marinara sauce. Another tomato sauce would work, tomato passata, or high-quality canned tomatoes (whole or crushed).
  • Seasonings: You only need a few pantry staples for heaps of flavor.
    • chili powder (or cayenne pepper/ red pepper flakes)
    • cumin
    • sea salt
    • black pepper
  • Broth: We used vegetable bouillon cubes + water, though a rich pre-made vegetable broth will work, too. Use reduced-sodium broth if preferred.  
  • Lemon: We prefer fresh lemon juice, though bottled works in a pinch to brighten the flavor of this rich tomato eggplant stew. Alternatively, a splash of vinegar (red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar) will work.
  • Parsley: Just a little fresh parsley is a wonderfully fresh, herby addition to the stew.

Eggplant Stew Recipe Variations

Whether you want to add to the stewed eggplant recipe or adapt it to a different flavor profile (which is easy to do by swapping out your selected herbs and spices).

  • Other spices: There are several you could experiment with.
    • Smoked paprika
    • Coriander
    • Dried oregano/ Italian seasoning
    • Cinnamon
    • Turmeric
  • Spinach/Kale: Spinach can be added at the end, stirring it in to wilt. Alternatively, add kale/chard in the last 5-8 minutes of cooking, as they’ll take longer to wilt.
  • Other Vegetables: There are several veggies you could add to this eggplant tomato stew for extra texture, flavor, and nutrients.
    • Zucchini
    • Broccoli/ cauliflower
    • Peas/ green beans
    • Mushrooms
    • Roasted bell peppers
  • Sweetener: If the tomato product you use is fairly acidic, a small amount of sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup will help to balance the flavor.

For more of a Mediterranean eggplant stew recipe, you can use a combination of dried oregano or Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and experiment with optional add-ins like zucchini, olives, capers, etc.

How to Make Chickpea Eggplant Stew

  • 1) First, drain and rinse the canned chickpeas, chop the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, mince the garlic, and thinly slice the onion, celery, and carrots.
  • 2) Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-based pan (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat with ¼ cup of oil. Once hot, add the eggplant and season it with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they soften and brown on all sides, then remove it from the pan and set aside.
  • 3) In the same pot, add another tablespoon of oil along with the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Cooking the vegetables until they’re lightly caramelized will help to add even more flavor depth to the eggplant chickpea stew. Make sure to de-glaze the pan afterward, scraping up any bits from the bottom to add all that flavor to the stew.

  • 4) Then, add the spices, stir well, and sauté for a further minute. Add the vegetable broth (or bouillon cubes + water) and stir well.
  • 5) Then add the marinara sauce, eggplant, and chickpeas. Bring the eggplant tomato stew to a boil, cover with a lid, then lower to a simmer to cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 6) Stir in the lemon juice and minced parsley, then try it and adjust any of the seasonings to taste. Enjoy!

FAQs

Do I have to salt eggplant for a stew?

Salting eggplant is primarily used to remove bitterness and/or draw out moisture from the ingredient. However, as that bitterness has largely been bred out of eggplants, it’s unnecessary for this recipe, though you can if preferred.

To salt the eggplant, chop it, place it in a colander, then sprinkle liberally with salt and leave it to drain for 30 minutes. Wipe away excess salt.

Can I reduce the amount of oil?

Eggplants act a little like an edible sponge, soaking up lots of oil while they cook. Unfortunately, if you reduce the amount of oil, you won’t achieve the same melt-in-the-mouth texture, though, and it will burn easier so requires close monitoring.

Can I make eggplant stew in a crockpot?

For the best flavor, first sauté the various ingredients as recommended, then add everything to your slow cooker, mix, add the lid, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.

Check on it occasionally to add more vegetable broth if needed. Taste and adjust any of the seasonings before serving.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Adjust the heat level: Add less/more chili powder or even more heat with harissa, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, etc.
  • Sauté the vegetables and seasonings: This blooms the spices and lightly caramelizes the veggies for rich, deep, complex flavor. Sautéing the eggplant is important for texture, too.
  • Don’t take shortcuts: The low, slow simmering helps to bring together all the flavors of this stewed eggplant and tomatoes recipe into a cohesive, delicious stew while avoiding the eggplant becoming mushy.
  • Adjust the consistency: For a thinner stew, add more vegetable broth. For a thicker eggplant stew, simmer it longer or add cornstarch slurry (1-2 tbsp). For a thick, creamy eggplant stew, blend a small amount of the chickpeas and broth.
completed Eggplant Stew [With Tomatoes + Chickpeas] against a white surface

Storage Instructions

Make ahead: We’re big fans of making this a day ahead (or plenty of leftovers) since it tastes EVEN better on day two when the flavors have more time to meld.

Fridge: Allow the eggplant chickpea stew to cool and then store it in an airtight container (or several containers) in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezer: Freeze the cooled eggplant stew in airtight freezer-safe containers, Ziplock/Stasher bags, or even a silicone muffin mold (for individual servings), leaving room for expansion. Freeze for up to three months, allowing it to thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheat: Use a microwave or the stovetop to gently reheat the aubergine stew.

What To Serve With Eggplant Stew?

Optionally garnish the stewed eggplant with a dollop of vegan yogurt/sour cream, extra fresh herbs, and/or toasted pine nuts/slivered almonds. Beyond that, enjoy the chickpea eggplant stew as a side dish or main alongside:

  • Bread: Regular crusty bread, focaccia, garlic bread, pita bread, OR cornbread work wonderfully for mopping or enjoying it at room temperature over the bread.
  • Rice or quinoa: Like white rice, brown rice, couscous, or quinoa. Low-carb cauliflower rice will pair with the eggplant chickpea stew well, too.
  • Over pasta: With spaghetti or short-shaped pasta.
  • Mashed potato: Creamy mash (or Polenta!) pairs wonderfully.
  • Side salad: Serve this rich stew with a simple, leafy green side salad for freshness.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Eggplant Stew [With Tomatoes + Chickpeas] against a white surface

Eggplant Stew [With Tomatoes + Chickpeas]

5 from 35 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6
This hearty chickpea and eggplant stew is packed with flavor, fiber, & plant-based protein but made entirely of affordable kitchen staples! Stovetop & Crockpot methods below!

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups of eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 vegetable boullion cubes
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar of tomato basil marinara sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup of parsley, minced

Instructions 

  • In a large pot over high-heat, heat ¼ cup of the oil. Add the eggplant and season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and browned on all sides. Carefully remove the eggplant and set aside.
  • To the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent and fragrant.
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook for one minute.
  • Add the boullion cubes and water. Stir until the boullion cubes are completely dissolved.
  • Add the marinara sauce, eggplant, and garbanzo beans. Bring the stew to boil, cover with a lid, lower the heat to a low simmer, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes (stirring every 10 minutes to avoid burning on the bottom).
  • Add the lemon juice and the parsley. Mix well and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

  • Adjust the heat level: Add less/more chili powder or even more heat with harissa, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, etc.
  • Sauté the vegetables and seasonings: This blooms the spices and lightly caramelizes the veggies for rich, deep, complex flavor. Sautéing the eggplant is important for texture, too.
  • Don’t take shortcuts: The low, slow simmering helps to bring together all the flavors of this stewed eggplant and tomatoes recipe into a cohesive, delicious stew while avoiding the eggplant becoming mushy.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 10gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gSodium: 1510mgPotassium: 1138mgFiber: 12gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 7309IUVitamin C: 47mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 5mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto
5 from 35 votes (32 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    This is soooo good!! I served it over mashed potatoes and we all loved it! I will definitely be making this many more times! It was pretty simple and straight foward to make also.

  2. 5 stars
    This eggplant stew is such a yummy recipe! It’s fun to make and I love all of the ingredients in it. It’s such a hearty dish and it makes plenty of leftovers!