Savory Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

Inspired by the bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs at harvest time, this quick-cooking dish is similar to ratatouille, the classic French vegetable stew. I added chickpeas to this meat-free dish for some extra protein and heft, but they can be easily taken out for a light side dish. Serve hot or cold on top of pasta or with a crusty baguette. This stew can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Savory Eggplant and Chickpea Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and garlic and saute until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and stir to combine. Sprinkle the salt over the eggplant and cook until the volume reduces by half, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir the tomatoes, chickpeas and herbs into the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

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