Spicy Harissa Eggplant Stew Recipe

Stews are a go-to meal in many cultures, and the use of eggplant in stew is a brilliant idea due to the vegetable's heartiness, versatility, and ability to absorb any flavors you cook with it. Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines, in particular, have a rich tradition of incorporating eggplant into slowly cooked dishes that are satisfyingly savory with no meat necessary. Case in point: this spicy harissa eggplant stew by wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn.

"There is always a pot of stew or soup on the stove simmering at my house during the winter months," Hahn says. "I like to incorporate a huge variety of vegetables in my diet, and stews are a great way to get different veggies all in one dish." This recipe features harissa, a North African staple made from chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, and various spices, creating a spicy and aromatic paste that adds a fiery kick to the mild eggplant.

Gather the ingredients to make spicy harissa eggplant stew

To make this recipe, hit up the produce aisle for onion, a serrano pepper, garlic, lemon, eggplant, and fresh parsley. "If you want to cut down on the spice level, you can swap out the serrano pepper for a jalapeño, which won't be quite as hot," Hahn shares.

From the dry goods area, grab some canned chickpeas, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, harissa, vegetable broth, and avocado oil. Check your spice cabinet for salt and cayenne pepper. "If you have olive oil on hand, that is fine to substitute here," Hahn remarks.

Step 1: Add oil to a pot

Add 1 tablespoon oil to a soup pot and place over medium-high heat.

Step 2: Saute the aromatics

Add onion, pepper, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add more ingredients, and simmer

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, harissa, tomato paste, broth, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Step 4: Heat up some more oil

Meanwhile, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat.

Step 5: Brown the eggplant

Add eggplant and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides.

Step 6: Add the eggplant and lemon to the soup

Transfer eggplant to the soup pot along with the lemon juice, and stir.

Step 7: Add parsley, and serve

Top stew with chopped parsley, and serve.

What other ingredients can I add to spicy harissa eggplant stew?

Feel free to experiment with different vegetables to add variety and color to this versatile stew. Bell peppers, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes would be a good fit and can be browned in the pan along with the eggplant. "Soups and stews make it easy to use up any vegetables you may have in your fridge that will go bad soon," Hahn shares. You can also add spinach, kale, or chard to the finished stew and let it wilt in the pot. It's best to remove any large stems, especially from hardier greens like kale or chard.

Or, add to the stew's protein content by adding white beans, lentils, or cooked tofu. You can also add in any cooked grains you have on hand, such as rice, quinoa, or farro. As for toppings, toasted pine nuts, slivered almonds, or sesame seeds can provide a satisfying crunch. Sprinkle them on top just before serving for added texture.

What pairs well with spicy harissa eggplant stew?

Bread is always a nice accompaniment to a hearty stew. A slice of crusty bread or baguette is perfect for mopping up the flavorful broth — especially with a side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for extra dipping. You could also opt for warmed flatbreads like pita, naan, or lavash to scoop up bites of the stew. 

This eggplant stew also pairs wonderfully with a variety of salads that contribute freshness and diverse flavors. A classic choice is a Greek salad, combining tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, and feta cheese in a refreshing olive oil and lemon dressing. For a Middle Eastern touch, tabbouleh, featuring bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint, provides a light and herby accompaniment. If you prefer a simpler salad, a Caprese salad with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze is an excellent choice. Additionally, you can't go wrong with arugula and roasted vegetable salad, cucumber and avocado salad, or fattoush.

Spicy Harissa Eggplant Stew Recipe
5 from 18 ratings
Packed with chickpeas, vegetables, and spicy harissa, this 30-minute, vegan, and gluten-free stew will warm you from the inside out.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
4
servings
eggplant chickpea tomato stew in white bowl
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ cup harissa
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 globe eggplant, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Directions
  1. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a soup pot and place over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, pepper, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, harissa, tomato paste, broth, ½ teaspoon salt, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add eggplant and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides.
  6. Transfer eggplant to the soup pot along with the lemon juice, and stir.
  7. Top stew with chopped parsley, and serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 303
Total Fat 14.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 38.0 g
Dietary Fiber 12.3 g
Total Sugars 12.0 g
Sodium 1,008.5 mg
Protein 10.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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