Stew of Eggplant, Tomato, Onions, and Fennel

November 28, 2011


I’m not sure that “stew” is the best or most accurate term for this dish. It’s thick with very little liquid, so you can’t really sop it up with bread. And, although it’s made with eggplant, onion, and tomatoes, it’s definitely not a ratatouille. Whatever it is, I’m calling it a stew because the vegetables are in fact stewed together until nearly all the liquid has cooked off.

My recent trip to Istanbul, where eggplant is abundant, inspired this dish. When dining out in the city (my husband and I), most of our meals consisted of some quantity of eggplant and tomatoes, as it was offered on pretty much every mezze menu. As you can imagine, I was in vegetarian heaven.

Most of the eggplant dishes were served cooked in olive oil, chilled or at room temperature. It almost surprised me that such simple food could be so satisfying and memorable- the sweet eggplant dripping with nutty, fruity oil. I also savored how such simple ingredients –like the eggplant, onions, fennel, and tomatoes in this dish- came together in a memorable, even exotic, way. I’ll always think of Istanbul when making this dish.



1 large, dark purple eggplant; peeled, cubed, salted and rinsed.

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 cup finely chopped fennel

1 clove garlic, minced

1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried Herbs de Provence

Directions: On medium high heat cook olive oil, garlic and onions in a pot until fragrant. Add fennel and stir for another minute or two.


Next, add the eggplant and stir until it starts to wilt a bit. (Be sure to salt the eggplant before cooking. To do this, put chopped eggplant in a colander and coat with a good bit of salt. The salt will pull out the bitter juices. Let drain for at least 20 min. Then, rinse and squeeze or pat dry with a towel.)


Then add the tomatoes and the dried herbs.


Allow to stew until there’s very little water left in the pot and the mixture is quite thick.


Serve the stew with rice or fish or bread.


I really enjoyed it on a piece of baked trout.


But you could definitely serve it as a stand alone side dish to complement the main course. It passes beautifully around a family table.

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Spicy Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Stew
  2. Khoresht Karafs (Celery Stew with Mint, Parsley and Dried Lime)
  3. Salt the Eggplant
  4. Summer Vegetable Soup
  5. Easy “Homemade” Tomato Sauce


Emile July 16, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read this article i thought i could also create comment
due to this brilliant post.

Fennel Friday October 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

Happy Fennel Friday! We love this recipe and it is featured on our Fennel Stew Recipes! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods October 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Why, thank you!

Zonda May 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Mom and I are making it for sunday dinner.-
Tks for the tip-

Eat well,

Lauren at Keep It Sweet November 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

This looks like a great way to get veggies in on a cold night!

Aparna E. November 28, 2011 at 9:10 am

This sounds so hearty and delicious – perfect as the cold weather creeps our way! And I love that you were inspired from your trip! It’s a great feeling to walk away from a trip with memorable moments such as something you ate, and how exciting it can be to recreate it at home! :)

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