the taste space

Lebanese Eggplants with Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Posted in Appetizers, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides by janet @ the taste space on September 28, 2010

Wait! Deja vu? Eggplants, tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, beans… I think we just saw this as the delicious mualle, the Turkish Eggplant, Tomato and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate!

I really liked how the mualle turned out so I wanted to try make something similar again, while tomatoes and eggplants were still in season.  I found this in Arabesque by Claudia Roden, and was drawn to it by its simplicity. Mualle takes a while to make and it works because the flavours are just bursting from the slow braise. However, I can’t make it every day. This dish, which has many of the same ingredients, comes together quicker, especially if you use canned chickpeas.

There was a sweet and tart play with this dish, from the sweet braised tomatoes and the tart pomegranate molasses.  I liked the heavier presence of chickpeas, which is how I love my salads. If you wanted to spice things up, I don’t think you could go wrong with adding some mint or Aleppo chili flakes. The tomatoes cooked down to a sauce, so unless you don’t mind tomato peels, it would be better to take a few extra moments to skin the tomatoes (blanch then peel).

I served this as a vegetarian main with a slice of bread, but Roden has it listed as a mezze (starter or appetizer) and explains it could also be a side for a meat dish.

This is my submission to Nithu for this month’s Cooking with Whole Foods featuring chickpeas, this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook, and to this month’s Monthly Mingle, featuring Lebanese cuisine.

Lebanese Eggplants with Tomatoes and Chickpeas (Moussaka’a Menazzaleh)

2 eggplants
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large tomatoes (about 1 lb), skinned and chopped (I didn’t skin them, but it would be a useful step)
2 teaspoons sugar (I would omit this next time)
fresh ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
19-oz can of chickpeas
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (omitted)

1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and then into 1 cm slices. Brush them generously with oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, and cook them under the broiler for up to 15 minutes, or on an oiled griddle, turning them over once. They do not need to be cooked through as thy will be stewed further in the sauce.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for seconds only, stirring, until it just begins to color. Add the tomatoes and squash them gently in the pan. Add the sugar, salt, and black pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Add the pomegranate molasses, put in the eggplants and chickpeas, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft, but not falling apart.

3. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, if using.

Serves 4.

17 Responses

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  1. leinana said, on September 28, 2010 at 8:44 AM

    What an absolutely beautiful site you have! And so many mouth watering pictures! :)

  2. Tammy McLeod said, on September 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Your photo makes this look very good. I’m always looking for additional eggplant recipes – in the summer we have so much of it.

    • Saveur said, on September 28, 2010 at 9:57 AM

      Thanks Tammy! Middle Eastern cooks have found numerous ways to cook with eggplant, so there is a ton of inspiration from them. :)

  3. bonnielu said, on September 29, 2010 at 1:02 AM

    I love love love your blog! It’s not just the layout, but I love how beautiful and healthy your food is! Just bookmarked it.

    • Saveur said, on September 29, 2010 at 8:08 AM

      Aw, thanks Bonnie. :) If you try any of the dishes, definitely drop me a line to tell me how you enjoyed it. :)

  4. Priya said, on September 29, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    Wowww i love lebanese foods much, tempting dish.

  5. Cara said, on September 29, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    I seriously need to remember to pick up some pomegranate molasses – I have been seeing it in so many recipes! I had something wonderful this week with eggplant and chickpeas as well but I bet that ingredient adds a whole new level of complexity.

  6. Joanne said, on September 29, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    I love how there’s always such a good mix of flavors in Middle Eastern foods…from sweet to savory to tangy to salty. They are a complete package. I love this dish. I just boiled up a few cups of garbanzos…guess what I’ll be making soon!

  7. Susan said, on September 30, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    hat looks killer, Saveur! I’ve been spending hours juggling Middle Eastern cookbooks today, trying to hone in on a recipe for my own MLLA post. I kinda think it’s going to be Lebanese, too. : }

    Thanks for another great dish for MLLA! (And the inspiration. ; })

  8. Ellie said, on October 2, 2010 at 5:21 PM


    Quick question: did you use two of the huge American eggplants, or two of the smaller (Japanese or Middle Eastern-style) eggplants?

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Saveur said, on October 3, 2010 at 3:08 PM

      Hey Ellie, I used long slender Ontario eggplants. More akin to the Japanese variety (a bit plumper) but definitely not as big as the deep purple ones. Probably around 2lb total.

  9. Meeta said, on October 15, 2010 at 5:11 AM

    i’ve been wanting to get my hands on Arabesque. This is a lovely dish including both my faves Aubergine & Chickpeas. Thanks so much for join Beth & me at the mingle this month. I hope to see you more often!

  10. Cherine said, on October 15, 2010 at 5:36 AM

    I love this dish!! I used to eat it a lot in Lebanon!

  11. Sasa said, on October 25, 2010 at 4:40 AM

    I have a bottle of pomegranate molasses from some Muhammara I made a while ago and I was wondering what to do with it – chickpeas and eggplants are some of my favourte things and a warming stew like this is probably just what the doctor ordered in cold cold Austria where I am. Beautiful.

    • Saveur said, on October 26, 2010 at 8:53 PM

      Hehe, I started the same way! I bought the pomegranate molasses for Muhammara and then looked to see what else I could make with it. It is one of my favourite ingredients now! :)

  12. The Holy Kale (@TheHolyKale) said, on June 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Just made this and it is AMAZING! Soo sooo good! Thank you!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Awesome! Thanks for letting me know and reminding me about this dish. I should definitely make it again this summer. :)

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