My fondness for eggplant has been well documented, but one of my other favorite ingredients, named right alongside eggplants in my list of "siren ingredients" posted an eon or two ago, is the humble chickpea. Full of fiber and lean protein, and equally happy to star in dips, stews, salads, casseroles, stir-fries, and every other prep method imaginable, the jaunty little chickpea was even listed as one of the most underrated foods in a recent issue of Nutrition Action Newsletter. The chickpea is a staple across the globe, yet I've still seen cans of chickpeas in the grocery stores in our neighborhood with the following label: "Garbanzo Beans. A garnish for salads." My reaction upon first siting this label was perhaps a bit excessively overwrought, but in that moment I passionately longed to amend the labels with large posters declaring: "Chickpeas are so much more than just a 'garnish for salads!'" Humph!
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1" cubes 2 T olive oil 1 onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 T olive oil 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes 1 (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained 1 T smoked paprika 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. ~ Toss the eggplant cubes with 2 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and spread them across a large baking sheet. Roast the eggplant on the upper rack of the oven for approx. 20 minutes - until the eggplant is very tender. ~ Once the eggplant is neatly finished roasting, in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, saute the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper in the 1 T olive oil until the onion is limp and translucent. ~ Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and smoked paprika, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, to allow the tomato juices to reduce a bit. ~ Stir in the roasted eggplant cubes, and heat through. ~ Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses just until they're melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, nice and warm!