Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole with Chickpeas and Tomato

A large white casserole dish sits on a white marble counter with a rich red Mediterranean Eggplant casserole with chickpeas and tomato

Mediterranean Chickpea, Tomato, and Eggplant Casserole is the perfect recipe to warm the cockles during a fierce winter storm or a delicious and cooling and healthy tapas in the peak of summer that can be scooped up with some fresh bread.

This summer and winter casserole recipe is delicious when served hot or cold! It’s super easy to prepare, takes around an hour to make, and is 100% vegan-friendly! It’s made with gooey caramelized eggplants, sweet tomato, and onion-based sauce, and combines the soft crunch of chickpeas in this 5-star super dish!

Easy Recipe | Spanish | Mediterranean Recipe | Mediterranean Casserole | Eggplant Recipe | One-Pot | Casserole Recipe | Easy Dinner Recipe | Healthy Recipe | Dairy-Free | High in Protein | Gluten-free Option | Made in Under an Hour

Serving:

Main: 6 people

Ready in:

1 hour

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

Mediterranean eggplant casserole ingredients are laid out on a white marble benchtop

What you’ll need to make this eggplant casserole

(Serves 6 people)

  • 2 large eggplants, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 (28-ounce/800g) can of chopped tomatoes
  • 15oz./400g chickpeas, canned, prepared.
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thick strips.
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 60ml tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil (chopped fine)
  • 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
  • Black cracked pepper for seasoning

          Equipment needed

          • 1 large frying pan (12-inch)
          • 1 large casserole dish (12-inch diameter with 2-inch sides)

          About this Recipe

          I once heard a chef comment that their restaurant was forbidden to use a tomato until the first day of summer. Although I have never been there, I always wondered what that restaurant would be like, considering the number of tomatoes I use on a weekly basis, this notion seemed impossible to fathom. 

          I use tomatoes every week, I buy them by the sack or nab them from our local fresh farm grocer, where they stack them into a basket and wobble home down a dusty track to make more tomatoey-inspired dishes. 

          They’re simmered down for sauces, thrown onto a lunchtime sandwich, or for making tasty bases for casseroles. Tomatoes are roasted for dinner, stewed down overnight in curries, and fried for breakfast. 

          No matter what time of year, if there’s one vegetable (or masquerading fruit) that’s the king of the Spanish kitchen, it’s the humble tomato!

          A large white casserole dish sits on a white marble counter with a rich red Mediterranean Eggplant casserole with chickpeas and tomato

          Roasted eggplant, tomato, and chickpeas

          Sentiment aside for the humble ripe red veg in disguise, veggie casseroles that include tomatoes, eggplants, and chickpeas are high on my flavor index! Luckily, living beside the Mediterranean, there are plenty of recipe options

          A few good examples of authentic Spanish cuisine using similar flavor combos are pisto and espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas), both regular staples at our dinner table.

          Where does Eggplant Casserole originate?

          There’s always a strong reference to the marriage of eggplant, tomato, and chickpea, and perhaps no better example comes from Middle-eastern and Palestinian cuisine where the dish is called Musaqa’a. Vegan, nutritious, and filling as a hearty casserole or stew that’s full of flavor and healthy seasonal vegetables

          While this recipe doesn’t have firm roots in Spain, you’ll see renditions of this classic Mediterranean casserole up and down the Mediterranean coast of Spain. It’s typically served around the cooler months when casserole dishes barely get a chance to cool down before being thrown back in the oven to make another warming winter meal.

          A large Mediterranean eggplant casserole is served into a white bowl

          Summer casserole and tapas ideas

          Personally, I love this recipe any time of year, and given the rich vegetable flavors swimming around, it still feels light enough to enjoy on a summer’s day, especially when served cold.

          Try serving this dish as a cold tapas alongside a few good hunks of fresh bread. No cutlery is necessary, just mop up the delicious sauce with the bread!

          Ingredients and variations

          The beauty of making casseroles is the versatility to throw in just about any veggie you have lying around. The eggplant and tomato are crucial, they add a sweet caramelized flavor that must be retained, but chickpeas can easily be substituted for other legumes of choice, or even some rice, maybe even pasta?

          Veggies can also be thrown in the pot with gleeful abandon. I always throw in a red bell pepper or two, sliced up thick so there are huge chunks floating around in the sauce that soak up the sweet tomato and eggplant flavors along the way. 

          Other veggie options could include spinach, red onion, leek, or celeriac. If you can grow it and pull it out of the ground, it pretty much belongs in this casserole!

          Can this recipe be made as a one-pot meal?

          Yep, it sure can! All you’ll need is a big skillet pan or cast iron casserole dish that can make the sauce on the stovetop and then bake in the oven. Just make sure your skillet is around 12-inches (30cms) in diameter with deep sides around 2-3 inches (5-8cms). 

          We didn’t have a skillet big enough so I opted to make the sauce in a frying pan, then transfer it into a large casserole dish for baking in the oven. It was super easy. 

          A fork is loaded with Eggplant casserole

          How to make Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole

          Undoubtedly the best thing about casseroles is the fact they are so easy to make. While this casserole recipe also requires some stewing to prepare the sauce, it can still be made easily in under an hour. Here’s a quick summary of the steps, and a more detailed step-by-step guide for the entire recipe is also below with a video.

           

          1. First, roast some eggplant slices at 430°F/220°C with some salt and olive oil for 15 minutes. Cover and allow to sweat for 10 minutes. This softens up the eggplant and allows it to caramelize when introduces to the sweet tomato-based sauce. 
          2. While your eggplants are roasting, start to prepare the sauce by first frying the onion and garlic, then add the tomato and spices, and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste just before you add the chickpeas. 
          3. Mix well and simmer for another 10 minutes allowing the chickpeas to soften and absorb some of the sweet sauce flavors. Note: We used dried chickpeas for this recipe, which admittedly takes overnight to soak and then 3 hours of boiling to prepare. If you don’t have the time, using tinned (prepared) chickpeas works just fine. Just give them a good wash under some fresh water before adding them to the sauce. 
          4. Transfer some sauce to the bottom of a casserole dish, layer some eggplant, and repeat the steps until all ingredients are gone. 
          5. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F/180°C. Allow your casserole to cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
          A large white casserole dish sits on a white marble counter with a rich red Mediterranean Eggplant casserole with chickpeas and tomato

          Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole with Chickpeas and Tomato

          Byron
          This summer and winter casserole recipe is delicious when served hot or cold! It’s super easy to prepare, takes around an hour to make, and is 100% vegan-friendly! It’s made with gooey caramelized eggplants, sweet tomato, and onion-based sauce, and combines the soft crunch of chickpeas in this 5-star super dish!
          5 from 7 votes
          Prep Time 15 mins
          Cook Time 45 mins
          Total Time 1 hr
          Course casserole, dinner, Main Course, main meal, vegan
          Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, casserole, spanish, vegan, vegetarian
          Servings 6 people
          Calories 471 kcal

          Equipment

          • 1 large frying pan (12-inch)
          • 1 large casserole dish (12-inch diameter with 2-inch sides)

          Ingredients
            

          • 2 large eggplants sliced about 1/2 inch (1.5 cms) thick
          • 1 can 28oz./800g of chopped tomatoes
          • 15 oz./400g chickpeas canned, prepared
          • 1 red bell pepper (optional) cut into thick strips
          • 1 large onion diced
          • 6 garlic cloves minced
          • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
          • 2 oz./60ml tomato sauce
          • 1 tablespoon of sugar
          • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
          • 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
          • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley optional
          • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil chopped fine
          • 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
          • Black cracked pepper for seasoning

          Instructions
           

          STEP 1 - Roast the eggplant

          • Preheat the oven to 430°F/220°C. Line a baking tray with foil and add a splash of olive oil. Arrange eggplant slices, brush slices with some more olive oil, and season with a good pinch of salt.
            2 large eggplants, 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
            Slices of eggplant are arranged on a baking tray and covered with olive oil and some sea salt flakes.
          • Roast eggplant slices for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cover with foil. Allow to ‘sweat’ for at least 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350°F/180°C for use later.
            2 large eggplants, 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt
            roasted eggplant slies sit on a baking tray

          Step 2 - Prepare the tomato sauce

          • In a fry pan or skillet on medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and the onion, and cook until golden. Next, add the garlic, stir through and then add the tin of tomatoes. Stir through and add the tomato sauce, sugar, basil, parsley, cumin, and sweet paprika. Simmer for 7 minutes on medium heat then add the sliced pepper (optional). Simmer for an additional 7 minutes. If looking dry, add a splash of water.
            1 can, 1 red bell pepper (optional), 6 garlic cloves, 2 oz./60ml tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika, 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, 1 large onion
            A tomato based sauce sits on a stovetop and simmers

          Step 3 - Add chickpeas and saute

          • Add the chickpeas to the sauce and stir through. Season to taste with some salt and paper as required. Add a splash more water if the sauce is looking dry. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
            15 oz./400g chickpeas, 1 teaspoon of good quality sea salt, Black cracked pepper for seasoning
            A tomato based sauce simmers on a stovetop with some chickpeas and sliced red pepper

          Step 4 - Arrange casserole and bake

          • Pour a little sauce and chickpeas into the bottom of a casserole dish then add a layer of the roasted eggplant. Cover with more sauce, and repeat the steps until all ingredients are gone. Bake in the oven at 350°F/180°C for 30 minutes.
            2 large eggplants, 15 oz./400g chickpeas, 1 can
            layers of roasted eggplant sit amongst a tomato and chickpea sauce in a large white casserole dish

          Step 5 - Serve

          • Allow casserole to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Alternatively, this recipe makes a delicious cold tapa! Simply add some of the casserole mixture to a bowl and serve with a few chunks of fresh bread.
            A large Mediterranean eggplant casserole is served into a white bowl

          Video

          Notes

          Storage:

          Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days. 
          This meal can be frozen and stored for up to 3 months. 

          Nutrition

          Serving: 180gCalories: 471kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 17.1gFat: 19.1gSaturated Fat: 2.5gSodium: 172mgPotassium: 1495mgFiber: 21.3gSugar: 20.8gCalcium: 129mgIron: 6mg
          Keyword Casserole, chickpeas, dinner, Easy Dinner ideas, easy recipe, Eggplant, healthy, oven roasted, tomato, vegan, Vegan Stew, vegetables, Veggie Stew
          Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

          Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole – Cooking Tips and FAQs

          How long does this recipe take to make?

          • Prep time: 15 minutes
          • Cook time: 45 minutes
          • Total time: 1 hour

          Is this Mediterranean Eggplant Casserole recipe healthy?

          Yes, this recipe is loaded with nutrients and minerals. This recipe is high in fiber, high in protein, low in saturated fat, and low in sodium. A 180g serving of Eggplant Casserole contains the following;

          • 471 Calories
          • 21.3g Fiber (76% Daily Value)
          • 6mg Iron (35% DV)
          • 65g Total Carbs (24% DV)
          • 0% Cholesterol

          Is this recipe vegan?

          Yes, it is! It’s loaded with healthy veggies and 100% suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

          Do you peel eggplant for casserole?

          Peeling eggplant is optional. We prefer to keep the skin on as it contains a lot of the fiber found in eggplants. Just be sure to wash your eggplants with fresh water before preparing them. 

          Is eggplant healthy?

          Eggplants are very healthy and are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. They’re fat-free, contain no cholesterol or sodium, plus they’re super low in calories. A 3-ounce/85g serving of eggplant has just 20 calories, 5g of carbohydrates, and 3g of fiber.

          How do you cut eggplant for casserole?

          Use a large sharp chef’s knife and cut ½ inch (1.5 cms) slices. Be careful when cutting eggplant. Eggplant skin is very tough and requires a very sharp knife and some care when cutting. Use the tip of your knife to scar a line and then gently push down with your knife to cut through the soft interior. 

          What does eggplant go good with?

          Eggplant is very versatile and can be paired with plenty of food and vegetables. Here are just a few examples;

          • Chickpeas
          • Pepper
          • Tomato
          • Onion (both red and white onion)
          • Leek
          • Goat’s cheese
          • Red wine
          • Nutmeg

          What herbs and spices are good with eggplant?

          • Ground Corriander
          • Ground Cumin
          • Black Pepper
          • Salt
          • Basil (fresh or ground)
          • Parsley (fresh or ground)
          • Chili (fresh or ground)

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