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When I saw this recipe, I knew it was just a matter of time until I enjoyed it. Suzi is a devoted fan of eggplant and of sweet potatoes. Here they are combined in a North African stew that has penetrating spice flavor. There is an ingredient here, ras el hanout, that is a Moroccan staple. You probably don’t have it on your home shelf but you can make a variation using cinnamon and cardamom. Do some googling to find just the spice combination you desire.

This dish is spicy in the sense of being intense. It is not “hot” but it most assuredly is warm. You can serve this over couscous or rice. Or just enjoy it all on its own.

This recipe comes from Bowls of Goodness by Nina Olsson, a vibrant exposition of vegetarian dishes. So, and I know this is heresy, you can stick with its vegetarian bent, or you could add some diced chicken or turkey here to give it a protein boost. Even flaky chunks of fish would work here. In short, it is a lovely and flexible recipe that you can easily and gracefully bend to your own preferences.

One key suggestion: make lots of this, freeze it, and employ it on a weeknight when you are too frazzled to order pizza. It’s lovely and refreshing. And spicy!

North African Eggplant Stew

Yield: serves 4


Olive oil

2 red onions, finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 tablespoon ras el hanout

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggplants, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

6 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes

14 ounce can coconut milk

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon harissa paste

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Handful of raisins

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper


Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the ras el hanout, cinnamon, and salt, and stir with the onions for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggplant, pepper, and sweet potato and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, tahini, harissa, cayenne, raisins, and honey. Cover the pan and allow the stew to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Serve the stew with couscous, slivered almonds, and mint leaves.


Source: Bowls of Goodness by Nina Olsson [Kyle, 2017]


Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/40th second at ISO‑500