I eat a predominantly plant based diet, and I have difficultly digesting processed foods and gluten for the most part. Admittedly when we became vegetarians I had no idea what to make since North American food culture is one based heavily in breads, dairy and meat – and that’s exactly what I grew up eating. Listen, I’m a chubby girl for a reason – I’m not interested in this whole food-as-medicine movement, where we all eat grass and try to pretend like we like it because it’s trendy. That being said, I do try to be mindful about what I do put into my body, knowing that when I nourish myself I have more energy to do the work that feeds my soul. I just want that food to taste good! I’m constantly looking at recipes from around the globe to get ideas about how other plant based people eat around the world.

This is why I’m all about this Lebanese summer stew. Let me tell you why I love it:

  • It’s hearty and filling comfort food

  • It has a lovely flavour

  • It can be enjoyed alone or over a grain (quinoa if you want a full protein)

  • It’s the only eggplant dish my kid will eat

Although this is technically a summer dish, eggplants are usually readily available year round, like many nightshade plants such as tomatoes and potatoes.

There are two tips to getting this recipe just perfect:

The first tip is peeling the skin the tomatoes – this keeps the skin which becomes stringy out of the stew. To do this you slice a thin “X” into the bottom of your tomatoes with a sharp knife. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water, and the skins will begin to lift and peel off the tomatoes within a few seconds. Once the skins begin to lift, remove them from the water, allow to cool slightly and peel them with your hands.

The second tip is pre-roasting the eggplant allows it to get nice and crispy first so that it doesnt get super soggy in the stew. I peel the eggplant in strips leave 50% of the skin on before roasting it. The eggplant will still soften a little, but if you skip this step you’ll have more of an eggplant soup than stew. The roasted eggplant is the final thing I add to my stew.