Eggplant and Mushroom Stew
Serves 4 to 6
This soup is a vegetarian version of my eggplant stew recipe made with ground beef or turkey, which is in the similar and related recipes links. I call it a stew because it is much heartier than the average soup. In this version, I substitute mushrooms for the ground meat, crushed tomatoes for some of the whole, add some pasta and a few extra herbs for a fresh flavor. It is very easy, healthy, satisfying and delicious.
- About 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium eggplants (about 2-1/2 pounds total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 cans (14.5-ounces each) diced tomatoes (see notes below)
- 1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes (see notes below)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup small dry pasta, such as ditalini or elbows (see notes below)
- 6 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the onions, peppers and carrots. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté another minute. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, water, marjoram, dried basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the eggplant is very tender, about one hour. Return to a boil. (If the broth appears too thick, add a little more water at this point.) Add the pasta, cover, reduce heat again and simmer until the pasta is cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil. Serve immediately, passing grated Parmesan cheese. Stew can also be held over very low heat up to 30 minutes.
Notes: I prefer to use no salt added diced and crushed tomatoes. Additionally, whole wheat pasta is more nutritious than white and works very well in this recipe.