Here’s new twist on preparing an eggplant stew: adding an unlikely ingredient that bumps up the flavor with minimal effort. In fact, this entire dish can be assembled in c. 20 minutes once you’ve done the eggplant prep. It’s even better after a night in the fridge…and freezes beautifully.
What’s the unlikely ingredient: veggie burgers!
Veggie burgers add texture as well as that “meaty” flavor we expect from a stew.
You’ll need c. one hour to prep the eggplant. After peeling and cutting into cubes, place into large colander, salt liberally, and leave to drain in sink; after 15-20 minutes, rinse eggplant and re-salt.
After another 15-20 minutes rinse, pat, and sprinkle with coriander or cumin or some of both.
Allow to sit in sink for another 15-20 minutes. Eggplant is now ready to use but can sit for a while longer. In fact, all the time indicators here are approximate.
As you assemble the ingredients, please note the that cumin/coriander combo is for the sweating eggplant, the sage and cinnamon for the main dish, the allspice and ginger for the red quinoa.
Quinoa has become popular and no wonder: whether white, red, or black, it’s a nutritional powerhouse, one of the only plant foods that is a complete protein, since it provides all nine essential amino acids. Plant food, you ask? Yes. While it is cooked like and tastes like a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of a beet relative! It’s the perfect gluten-free accompaniment to this hearty stew.
1 medium eggplant
1 medium onion, coarse chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarse chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 veggie burgers
2-3 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp coriander*
½ tsp sage
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
* One tsp of either cumin or coriander is just as effective on the raw eggplant; you do not need to go out and buy an entire bottle of cumin if coriander is already in your spice pantry…and vice versa.
½ tsp allspice or Chinese 5 Spice
¼ tsp ground ginger
In a large (4qt+), straight-sided saute pan, slowly saute onions in olive or coconut oil until translucent.
Do not let them brown. Transfer onions from pan, add another Tbsp of oil (I prefer coconut for this recipe but olive is fine) and saute pepper with garlic and crumbled veggieburger(s). Add tomato sauce and eggplant, also sage, and allow to cook on medium heat for c. 10 minutes.
Add onions and parsley and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. I find that I don’t need to add either but this is certainly a matter of palate preference.
Prepare quinoa according to instructions—one cup of quinoa to two cups liquid, either broth or water—but add ½ tsp of allspice (or Chinese 5 Spice) and ¼ tsp ground ginger to the cooking water per 2 cups of finished quinoa.