This is another tasty entry in our diet diaries. This dish uses no oil, butter, or dairy, but really, you'd never know it. The ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice mixture, provides a complex array of warm spices like cumin, coriander, clove, and cinnamon and produces an aromatic mix of interesting flavors, while the simmered eggplant provides a wonderfully meaty texture.
I call this dish a tajine as a tribute to the earthenware pot in which something like this would normally be cooked. It's best described as a pie plate with an earthenware cone designed to be used to slowly simmer ingredients. Since we are using eggplant and not some tough cut of meat, a regular old skillet will do just fine for this. Look for ras el hanout at your local gourmet specialty store. We found a great version of the spice mixture at Williams-Sonoma or you can make your own. Vegetarian Eggplant Tajine 1 medium white onion (diced) 1 vegetarian bouillon cube 1 heaping tablespoon ras el hanout Zest of 1 lemon Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste) 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic 1 cup white wine (like Pinot Grigio) 1 13.4-ounce box chickpeas (like Whole Foods 365 brand) 4 cups large diced eggplant (1 large or 4 medium Japanese, peeled) 2 medium green peppers (diced) 1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes Sriracha (to taste) 2 cups prepared couscous Greek yogurt, mint, and lemon zest (optional, to garnish) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet with high sides over hight heat, sauté the onion, bouillon cube, ras al hanout, zest, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic in a dry pan. Once the onion starts to caramelize (about 3 minutes), add the wine and deglaze the pan. Reduce liquid by half, and add the chickpeas, eggplant, green peppers, stewed tomatoes, and sriracha. Stir to incorporate. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve over couscous.