Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon

January 18, 2016

Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.

This dish, and variations of, has to be one of my most regularly made meals of 2015. I spent the year making it once a week or so, telling myself I should put up the recipe to share because of how easy, quick and flavourful it is! Why did it take me so long? Why did I deprive readers of this great weeknight meal all year? Well, forgive me friends, I just couldn’t write the recipe knowing that I preferred it when it included eggplant. I first made this dish early in the year, at the end of eggplant season, and had to wait all year for eggplants to come back into season to test and share it!

Good news it this recipe is tried and true, and very flexible! If eggplant isn’t in season where you are in the world (hello Northern Hemisphere friends!) you can easily make this without the eggplant: with a little less oil if you like (those eggplants hog oil), and maybe with another quick cooking vegetable that’s in season like dark leafy greens added at the end – on the plus side, it’ll come together even quicker! If eggplants are at your local market, you’re in for a treat! I love the texture of eggplant with chickpeas. I find the trick is cooking them down with oil at the beginning to soften them and give them flavour, so they don’t go watery just cooking them in the tomatoes.

One of my favourite ingredients – preserved lemons give this dish an aromatic and citrus note, without making it overly sour. Open a jar of preserved lemons and you will smell lemonade, but without the sweetness – sounds strange but they have a heady and intoxicating aroma that is hard to put your finger on. They are used in cooking all around the North of Africa and the Middle East, and are used much like a spice rather than a fruit. In this dish, they give the occasional burst of citrus favour, without adding to the acid of the tomatoes. Perfection. If you haven’t made any you can get store bought – aim for a small gourmet brand made with mostly salt and lemons.

I’m so excited to finally share this recipe with you! Let me know in the comment below if you make it and any variations you choose. xx

Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.

Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon - an easy stew that comes together in 30 minutes. Healthy and easy! Vegan and gluten free.

Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 min
  • Print

You can make your own preserved lemons (in advance) or use store bought – either way, you’ll need about a quarter of a lemon for the dish, plus about a quarter more for serving. To prepare: rinse well, discard flesh, and finely chop the rind. If you are unable to source preserved lemons and have not made them ahead, the zest of half a lemon will work in a pinch (it will taste different but still delicious). As always, I’m a chilli wuss, add more chilli flakes for more a kick!

Serves 4.

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min

Chickpeas with Eggplant and Preserved Lemon

350g | 1 medium eggplant cut roughly into 2cm pieces
60ml | 3 tbls olive oil (+ more to serve)
150g onion, roughly chopped
1 tbls preserved lemon rind, rinsed and finely chopped (+ more to serve) * See note
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), stems finely chopped and leaves reserved for serving.
1/4 tsp red chilli flakes or cayenne pepper (+ more to taste)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
240g | 1.5 cups chickpeas (tinned is fine)

In a fry pan (skillet) over high heat, cook the eggplant in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil for 5 minutes till mostly cooked. Then add the onion and 1 more tablespoon of oil and cook for a further 2 min until golden and the eggplant is cooked through.

Add the preserved lemon rind, garlic, coriander stems, spices, and salt and cook for another 30 sec – 1 min till fragrant, before adding the tomatoes and chickpeas. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add additional salt, if desired.

Finish with a good drizzle of olive oil, more preserved lemon and the reserved coriander leaves. Serve with flat breads, roasted potatoes, your favourite cooked grain, or as part of a Moroccan-style spread.

Freezes well and will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook! If you make any of my recipes, be sure to tag me in your Instagram pics with @libertybrowne #homespuncapers so I can see them! xx

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8 Comments

  • Reply my tiny green kitchen January 22, 2016 at 2:59 am

    What I great recipe! I have been thinking about preserving lemons for the first time. Any tips?

    • Reply Liberty January 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Hi! Thanks for your comment! I actually have a recipe for preserved lemons (the link is above) – they’re such a handy ingredient to have on hand as they make everything taste amazing ;) my mail tip is to just make sure you keep them submerged in their own liquid and don’t use an unlined metal lid (acid corrodes metal). Hope you enjoy them! :) x

      • Reply my tiny green kitchen January 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm

        Thank you so much for your reply! My parents lemon tree has so many lemons I’m going to give this a go during the weekend. :)

  • Reply Sharolyn January 27, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Made this tonight and it was simple and yum. I love using the coriander stems and roots as well as the leaves. Nice not to waste anything. Preserved lemons were definitely key to masking this a bit special.

    • Reply Liberty January 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks Sharolyn, so glad you liked it! I love preserved lemons, they’re my favourite extra ingredient :)

  • Reply Barbara Herbert February 15, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Hi Liberty! It took me a while to make this, as I first had to follow your recipe for preserving lemons; but I made it last night, and we both loved it! What a nice simple dish, with wonderful flavors. You are quite right that the lemon makes it special. Now I’ll have to find other recipes using the preserved lemon. :-)

    • Reply Liberty February 16, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Hi Barbara! Wow! Thanks so much for making both those recipes, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. The most famous use for preserved lemon is in Morocco’s national dish Chicken with Preserved Lemon (and often olives) that is a tagine, but you could probably make it in a regular saucepan. I like them finely chopped in grain salads, added to salad dressings, soups and stews. I’ve also seen recipes to add them to dips and salsas. They last ages so you’ll have lots of time go find recipes worth making :) thanks Barbara!

      • Reply Barbara Herbert February 17, 2016 at 1:30 am

        Thank you for the suggestions. I added them to a salad with chicken, and loved the bright, salty taste of the lemons. Hope they last long enough to try other recipes. :-)

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