Adapted from nytimes.com/cooking
Never say “no” to a dish that has eggplant. They are delicious and are great in vegetarian meals because of their “meatiness.” The chickpeas and feta cheese in this recipe give it a well-rounded flavor and add protein to it. This can easily be made into a vegan meal by omitting the feta cheese (though it gives a great punch) and substituting the honey for sugar or agave nectar.
Yields 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice, pulsed to a coarse purée
- 1 14-ounce can tomato purée
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1¼ pounds eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet or wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, honey and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sauce is fragrant, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425F (218C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with cooking spray or olive oil. Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheet, salt lightly and brush with olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the eggplant is lightly browned and soft all the way through. Remove from the heat. Fold the aluminum foil over and crimp the edges together so the eggplant steams as it cools.
- Turn the oven down to 350F (177C).
- Grease a 2-quart (8×8-inch) baking dish. Place the chickpeas in the baking dish and stir in 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Layer the eggplant over the chickpeas, top with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle the feta over the top. Sprinkle with the oregano and cover tightly with foil.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until the dish is bubbling.
Comments: There’s nothing really too complex about this recipe though it does take longer than others. You can cook the eggplant up to a day ahead and keep covered in the refrigerator. You can make the tomato sauce up to 3 days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator; it also freezes well. I love the combination of ingredients and the slight sweetness of the sauce.