Creamy roasted eggplant is a scrumptious medium to spotlight the tangy balsamic chickpeas. Plus, this flavor-packed meal is unbelievably easy to make. Most of the prep is done beforehand, so when it’s time to cook everything’s ready to go.
Note: If you don’t have a small food processor to mix the marinade, simply combine the ingredients in a mason jar or a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and shake vigorously. Then continue with the directions and add the chickpeas to marinate.
Late Harvest Vegetable and Bean Soup is another yummy recipe incorporating kitchen staples!
Look for eggplants with smooth and glossy skin, free from any blemishes. Scars, bruises, and tan patches are all signs of decay. Wrinkled skin indicates the eggplant is past its prime.
Similarly, the color of the stem is a sign of how recently an eggplant has been harvested—the greener the stem, the fresher the vegetable. Of course it should go without saying the stem should be free from mold and rot.
Make sure the eggplant feels firm, but not hard. Press the surface lightly with your thumb and it should bounce back. Select eggplants that feel heavy for their size. Lighter ones might have a spongy texture and are more prone to a bitter flavor. It’s better to select a few small to medium eggplants than an over-ripe extra-large one with tough skin and lots of large seeds.
Sweating is a method utilizing salt to extract moisture from eggplants. It’s a simple step with delicious results. The salt draws out bitter liquid, and leaves the eggplant with a creamy texture. To get a head start on the meal, this process can be done up to a day ahead—just be gentle with the slices to avoid bruising.
Start by slicing the eggplant according to the recipe’s directions. Lay out slices on a rack positioned on a rimmed baking pan. Generously sprinkle kosher salt over exposed flesh on both sides, but there is no need to salt the skin. Alternately, if the eggplant is sliced the long way, like in the recipe below, you can place the slices vertically, overlapping if needed, in a colander in the sink or on a rimmed baking pan.
Next, leave the slices to sweat for 30 minutes, or let sit up to an hour and a half. If you’re in a rush to get the meal going, you can score the flesh to allow the salt penetrate deeper into the eggplant and let sweat for as little as ten minutes.
Finally, rinse the beads of liquid off the eggplant slices with cold water and pat dry.
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas (about 1½ c)
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus oil to spray eggplant
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 ½ lb. eggplant
Rinse and drain chickpeas. Combine 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, and dried parsley in mini food processor. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and pulse to combine. Transfer marinade to a wide-mouth mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Add chickpeas; shake to combine. Marinate 1-4 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Trim the stem and bottom off the eggplant, then cut lengthwise into ¾-inch slices. Place slices on a rack positioned on a rimmed baking pan. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt on both sides. Allow to sweat for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry with a cloth.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray both sides of eggplant with oil. Lay slices on tray and season with ground pepper. Roast 25-35 minutes, until tender.
Transfer roasted eggplant to plates. Spoon chickpea mixture over eggplant and serve.