Eggplant Chili with a Secret Ingredient
By Jenny Pham
It’s that time of the week again – meal prep day! Looking for a recipe that will last you the whole week? You’ve come to the right place. Chili has always been one of our safe havens when we’re crunched for time and need to meal prep, but it can leave us feeling heavy and ready to curl up in bed for the rest of the day. With so many varieties of chili, we’ve decided to go the healthier route and introduce eggplant chili with a secret ingredient.
Let’s start with the general recipe:
YIELD: 10 people.
ACTIVE TIME: 75 min.
TOTAL TIME: 4 hours
- 1 medium-sized eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 Tablespoon coarse (kosher) salt
- 3/4 cup (or as needed) best-quality olive oil
- 2 medium-size yellow onions, cut into 1/4″ dice
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 large green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4″ dice
- one 35 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
- 1-1/2 pounds fresh ripe Italian plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, drained
- 1 cup canned chick-peas (garbanzos), drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Sprinkle eggplant with sea salt to draw out the liquid. Pat dry.
- In a large skillet, heat up ½ cup of oil and sauté until tender. Remove eggplant from skillet and place in a pot.
- Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the empty skillet over low heat. Sauté the onions, garlic, and green peppers until tender (about 10 minutes) and add to pot with eggplant.
- Place the pot over low heat and add canned tomatoes (undrained), fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, fennel, and parsley.
- Cook the chili, uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes.
- Add in kidney beans, chickpeas, dill, and lemon juice and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Once the eggplant seems tender and cooked through, give the chili one last stir and serve in a bowl.
The best thing about this recipe is that it is highly modifiable. Take out the beans, add in mushroom, or add carrots – it’s all up to you. However, there is one ingredient that we feel is necessary for bringing this chili to new heights. To balance out the salty and spicy flavors, we found that adding a touch of sweetness that cinnamon exudes made our tastebuds tango. This is the secret ingredient that every chili recipe needs! It may be out of the norm but trust us on this one, you won’t regret it.
To finish off this drool-worthy eggplant chili recipe, simply sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of cinnamon into the pot, stir, and enjoy the chili over rice, with tortilla chips, or by itself!