Long thin, dark Chinese eggplants are very sweet. They would be great in this recipe. Small Japanese eggplants are also delicious. Find ones that you like best. Some are sweeter than others.
By Jill Nammar
Different types of bulgur wheat require different cooking times. The best part of using bulgur wheat is that it has already been partially cooked, so it can be quick and easy to prepare at home. I served this eggplant dish with instant bulgar, also called fine-grain bulgur. It takes less than 5 minutes to cook.
- 4 small eggplants about 5-6 inches long, sliced in half
- 1 small bell pepper, chopped. You pick the color. I used green.
- 6 scallions, diced. Reserve some for serving.
- 2 garlic cloves minced. I used a microplane zester.
- 1 15-16 ounce can of chickpeas or white beans, rinsed and drained.
- 1 26.46 oz box of Pomi chopped tomatoes or best quality canned chopped tomatoes.
- Extra virgin olive oil for cooking. I used unfiltered.
- Drizzle of honey or a little sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes.
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 pinch of allspice (optional)
- 2 pinches of cinnamon (see notes for explanation)
- 2 dried bay leaves, remember to remove them before serving.
- Aleppo pepper or ground red pepper or red chili flakes to taste (optional, see notes)
- Sea salt or kosher salt to taste
- Steamed rice, bulgur wheat, couscous, crusty bread and Greek yogurt are serving options.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the eggplant halves in a large, deep dish baking pan. Sprinkle them with salt and a drizzle of olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the eggplants are baking, make the sauce. In a large nonstick saute pan, cook the scallions and bell pepper in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt until tender. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, honey, garlic, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, Aleppo pepper (if using) and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the eggplants from the oven. The flesh of the eggplants should be soft. Add the sauce and bake in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the eggplants are fully cooked. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with a drizzle of fruity olive oil some diced scallions. Rice, bread or bulgur wheat, and a dollop of thick Greek yogurt are good sidekicks too. Enjoy!