I thought about Pasta alla Norma, Calabrian stuffed eggplant, or eggplant balls, but decided that I really wanted some zuppa to warm me up–we had quite a chilly, windy weekend–so I went to the Interwebs to find something new.
I found this recipe for Mediterranean Eggplant Soup from Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons: Bountiful Vegan Soups and Stews for Every Time of Year by Nava Atlas.
It looked fabulous, so I gave it a try, making my own adjustments, including substituting the “Italian herb mix” with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme (and of course peperoncino) and adding a vegetable bouillon cube at the last minute for a little kick.
I also sprinkled some grated cheese on at the end because, well, I do that with pretty much every soup I eat.
I didn’t, however, add the small soup pasta that is called for because I really wanted to keep it light *and* I wasn’t in the mood for pasta (I know, call the authorities!).
When I make this again, I’ll add even more vegetables and make it a more general Mediterranean vegetable soup–peas, green beans, zucchini, perhaps even some cannellini beans for texture. Another idea is to throw in some shrimp and maybe a dash of Old Bay seasoning.
As you can tell, I think this is a great base for tomato vegetable soup, and all the better if you have your own stock ready. And *so* easy. Be creative!
Mediterranean Eggplant Soup
(Zuppa di Melanzane)
[adapted from Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons: Bountiful Vegan Soups and Stews for Every Time of Year by Nava Atlas]
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
5 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube or replace one cup of water with stock
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
A few sprigs rosemary and thyme
Pinch of peperoncino
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
1. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onion, garlic, and celery and sauté over medium heat for a few minutes until onion is translucent.
2. Add water, bouillon cube, eggplant, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, and peperoncino. Bring to a simmer and let cook until eggplant is tender, about 45 minutes.
3. Add parsley, and adjust the consistency to your liking. Season to taste with salt.
4. Grate some of your favorite cheese on top if you like, and serve immediately.