Tomato Eggplant Stew over Parmesan Polenta


Tomato Eggplant Stew over Parmesan Polenta

My mom is an expert at making efficient dinners with lots of leftovers. I’m terrible at leftovers – both at making enough food to have leftovers and, on the off chance I’m successful at that, at then coming up with something we won’t tire of after the second or third spaghetti lunch. This tomato eggplant stew passes both tests. A large batch comes together without a fuss and we’re still singing its praises on day 6 of leftovers.

Tomato Eggplant Stew Veggies

Thanks to the folks at OXO, we’ve finally upgraded our cookware with a shiny new 5-quart stainless steel casserole pot. I’ve been hanging onto the decades-old cheap non-stick pot that’s dented and wobbles on the stove with half-melted handles as a last remnant of my college kitchen. It’s worse than your camping pot.

Our new younger more attractive OXO pot, on the other hand, is sturdy with 3-ply walls that ensure even cooking. With the exception of that one old pot, we switched to stainless steel pots and pans nearly two years ago without regrets; by giving a nice brown sear on veggies and meat, a stainless steel pot imparts roasted flavors on a veggie-heavy stew like this one.

Tomato Eggplant Stew

Let’s talk about garnish for a second. I have an extreme hatred of cilantro – not in a “eh, I don’t prefer this, but I’ll tolerate it” way, but in a “it tastes like a bar of soap” kind of way. I’m apparently less genetically evolved, but hey, so is Julia Childs, which somehow makes me feel okay about being a food lover who loathes such a common ingredient. (At least I don’t pick it off and “throw it on the floor” like Julia.) When ordering a dish in which I fear cilantro might be lurking, I always ask.

So when I ordered a creamy artichoke risotto from a new hip restaurant and the waiter assured me there was no cilantro, I felt confident that the generous sprinkling of greens all over the plate was just minced parsley. I’m sure you can see where this is going. The heaping forkful I shoveled in overwhelmingly filled my mouth with soap.

Stewed Tomatoes and Eggplant

Afraid of causing a scene, but also not wanting to leave hungry, I timidly asked our waiter if maybe this was cilantro on top – because it tastes a lot exactly like cilantro.

His response? “Ohhh, well it might be micro-cilantro.” With a totally straight face.

For the record, folks, micro cilantro = CILANTRO…just harvested a bit earlier. Let me give you an example that might make it more clear, sir.

You: “Do you have cats? I’m allergic to cats.”

Me: “No. Definitely don’t own a cat. Might own a kitten. Totally different thing – won’t bother you at all.”

The cute factor does not somehow magically make it a different species.

Tomato Eggplant Stew over Polenta

We garnished this tomato eggplant stew with micro arugula. AKA adorable arugula. You know what’s cuter than a cat eating arugula (or kale)? A cat thieving a bite of micro arugula off the table. So cute that instead of stopping him, I took pictures. Have you see the video of the tiny kitten in a tiny hat eating a tiny ice cream cone? This is a real thing and the cuteness is paralyzing.

Cat Eats ArugulaCat Eats Arugula

Aside from its obvious cute factor, we chose micro arugula because the basil looked sad and the micro greens sprinkle just so. The fresh peppery bite from the arugula actually pairs perfectly with the warm stewy vegetables. You could also throw some chopped up arugula on top or any other micro green you can find (Trader Joe’s has a nice pack).

Tomato Eggplant Stew with Pine Nuts

Even though this stew has very little in the way of seasoning, it’s got multiple dimensions and loads of flavor. The eggplant holds a sturdy texture – when stewed up with tomatoes and bell pepper, it isn’t slimy at all and soaks up all of the flavors of the dish. Parmesan polenta gives the stew a sweet creamy counterpart. Mixed with briny greek olives and dotted with a tangy feta, buttery pine nuts, and a handful of spicy arugula, stew doesn’t get much better than this.

Tomato Eggplant Stew with Feta and ArugulaThanks for reading Snixy Kitchen! To stay up on what’s coming out of my kitchen, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin‘, Pinterest, or subscribe via e-mail to get new recipes right to your inbox.

Tomato Eggplant Stew over Parmesan Polenta
Yields: 6-8 servings
Tomato Eggplant Stew
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ large red onion, chopped
  • 2 large Italian eggplants, sliced into ¼-inch rounds and cut into 6ths
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup greek or kalamata olives, slivered
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ - ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup micro arugula, chopped arugula, or other micro greens
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, plus more to taste
Parmesan Polenta
  • 1½ cups polenta-style enriched cornmeal
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Tomato Eggplant Stew
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and sauté until tender and browned, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the eggplant, red bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to brown and soften, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stewed tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to stew, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile prepare the polenta.
  5. Remove the lid and continue stewing until most of the moisture is absorbed and vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes (the great thing about stew is that you can cook it longer and it's still good. If you're not done with the polenta, keep the stew on low heat until it's nearly ready).
  6. Add the olives, salt, and pepper and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve a ladleful over a bowl of fresh polenta. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, feta cheese, and micro arugula.
Parmesan Polenta
  1. Bring the salt and water to boil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Slowly pour in the polenta cornmeal, whisking constantly to combine.
  3. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 15 minutes.
  4. Fold in the butter and parmesan cheese, mixing to combine.
  5. Divide the polenta between serving bowls while it's warm.

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post. OXO generously provided me with products for their #OXOCookware campaign. As always, the recipe and opinions expressed here are solely my own

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  1. ooooh YUM! I heart eggplant stew – but heart your thieving kitty even more!

  2. The stew and the polenta sound ridiculously delicious, Sarah! I love your cute little thief. He’s adorable!

  3. Oh Sarah, you have my heart. Cats + MicroGreens + Eggplant Stew! Love this post… your kiddo makes me melt and this stew… THIS STEW, is crave worthy! Love the ingredients, yes, but I have to say, I’d put soapy cilantro on it. I love cilantro. Now, the eggplant = cilantro for my husband, but he’ll just have to deal. Paired with polenta, I can’t wait to try it! Sadly our nearest Tjs is… yes, you guessed it, about as far as the nearest best sushi place: read, about 1.5 hours! YIKES! Thank you for this Sarah! Your action and overhead shots are perfection!

    • He makes me melt too;) Oh man – I think you should totally hide eggplant in here and tell him it’s squash. He’ll NEVER KNOW! Someday you’ll have to go into have sushi AND pick up microgreens on your way home;)

  4. The thieving kitty pictures made me go “awwwww” out loud in my office! Love him, love the pictures, love this recipe :D

  5. Nicole says:

    This looks amazing!!! Too bad Isaiah refuses to eat tomatoes. :( I’ll save it for some time when we have enough guests to warrant cooking more dishes.

  6. Ok, that micro arugula is TOO cute! I have got to keep my eye out for it the next time I’m at Trader Joe’s. Such a pretty topping! I’m obsessed! Looks like little clovers. Love the pictures you got of your cat trying to steel a bite. My dogs are always lurking on the ground when I’m taking pictures hoping to grab a bite of anything that falls.

    And I can’t believe it’s true about people tasting soap instead of cilantro! I’ve heard that, but I assumed people were exaggerating. But if you say it’s true for you, I believe it! I am obsessed with cilantro. I put crazy amounts of it in anything Mexican I cook.

    This stew sounds just delicious Sarah : )

    • Lucky dogs!;)

      The soapy cilantro taste is SO TRUE. I was developing recipes this weekend for someone else that NEEDED cilantro and I had to keep washing the horrible smell off my hands. Blech!

  7. Lily Lau says:

    I’d definitely eat that kitty instead :D

  8. your kitty!!!! and the polenta and stew are cute too :)

  9. Oh my goodness! I just discovered you thru foodgawker and I’m so glad I did. Love your site–the design is so pretty and clean, and your recipes look like just the type of things I love eating. I’ll be back for more!

  10. mira says:

    This eggplant stew looks and sounds delicious! Love the pictures, the micro greens make them look even more beautiful! Your cat is soo cute!

  11. Wow, this looks wonderful! And how adorable is your kitty cat?! (Despite his thieving ways ;) )

  12. Having trouble typing…paralysed by cuteness overload…
    Your cat! Adorable!
    Your stew! Delicious!
    I love, love, love eggplant, but the boyfriend hate, hate, hates it. I’m not sad because it means more leftovers for me :) I cannot get enough polenta, but I hardly ever cook it at home. You have inspired me, as always! Eggplants and polenta on the shopping list for the weekend :)

  13. This dish looks amazing and your pictures are beautiful, but my absolute favorite are the ones of the cat! Very cute!

  14. Cilantro foreverrrrrr!!! I’m so jealous of your big pile of micro cilantro, I’ve never had that and now I’m super jealous. Your kitten analogy made me laugh out loud!!

    • Eww! That’s a pile of micro ARUGULA – definitely NOT cilantro. You should come visit so you can meet Artichoke. He says “meow,” which I think means “please come” in cat.

      • Joe says:

        We have two Maine Coon male cats (brothers) that we adore. Thought you should know that cats use their paws to dig in the litter box.

        The photo of that same paw on your counter top….?

        Eeeewwww. Gross.

  15. Hahaha – micro cilantro!! This stew sounds sooo good. I am also horrible at creating meals that make for good leftovers. Can’t wait to try this. Loving these photos, Sarah!

  16. Oh dear heavens, I am drooling like crazy over here! We have been trying to eat vegetarian meals more often and this sounds like the perfect mix of healthy + hearty. Just what I need for these chilly winter nights :)

  17. I saw this recipe on Potluck at Oh My Veggies and had to pop over to say how good it looks!

    Too funny about the cilantro at the restaurant – I’ve had that happen to me before except they put nuts in my dish (and I’m allergic!). You just can’t trust anyone haha. ;) I have to say though, cilantro doesn’t even seem like a good flavour pairing with artichokes – parsley would have been much better!

    • Thank you for coming by to say hi! Oh my gosh, pine nuts in your dish sounds WAY more dangerous! What’d you do?!? (Also – I TOTALLY agree – parsley DOES sound better…)

  18. karen says:

    I”m curious about which hip restaurant you went to and if it was any good (despite the micro cilantro)?

    • The restaurant was called Haven and despite the micro cilantro thing, the food was pretty good! (This happened a couple of years ago, so likely that server isn’t there anymore;).

  19. Alanna says:

    Love love love everything about this post!! Those Arti pics are the best ever. <3

  20. Yayyy, I have been waiting for this recipe to be posted ever since I saw it on IG. It looks delicious and a fun new way for me to use eggplant. Just curious, but what would you liken the taste of polenta to? I have never actually tried it!
    Also, the cat photos are adorable … which is saying a lot as I am truly not a cat person. Can’t be when your parents have 5 dogs haha!

    • Ooo – That’s a good question. It’s corn meal based, so I’d liken it to a sweet corn grits? Or maybe the taste of a really awesome cornbread? STRONGLY recommended – so so delicious.

  21. I love a vegetable stew like this with polenta. This look fabulous! And, your kitty with the micro arugula is too cute for words. That sounds like a perfect topping for the dish too.

  22. Are ya kidddddin’ me???!!! Okay sorry that was a tad exaggerated. But this stew looks so divine~tomato and eggplant sounds like one of my favorite combinations, must try this healthy dish soon…fingers crossed! And I hear ya. I actually love cilantro now but I had never ever tasted it till I immigrated to the States (Not that common in Argentina), and so when I took my first bite I almost gagged…but by the second and third try I was head over heels, hah!

    Welp, hope you have a lovely and blessed weekend, amiga! ;)

    • Oh geez – I keep trying, but it keeps kicking me down with its disgusting taste. I WISH I could fall head over heels for it – my Mexican husband would just die of happiness. Thanks for your sweet comments – I love love love hearing from you! Hope you had a wonderful weekend too! xo.

  23. When I was in L.A., my (gay) BFF usually made a scene for me whenever we encountered that kind of “straight face” in the restaurant. I was a waiter, so I always avoid causing troubles in the restaurant. Being said that, in your situation, you are 100% allowed to send back that dish since you made them aware you did not want cilantro. What did you do?

    Anyway, congratulations on being featured on Food52, lady. :)
    So happy for you. You totally deserve it :)

  24. Sarah,
    oh my goodness. . I am dying over here. . ““Ohhh, well it might be micro-cilantro.” that’s hilarious! Well, I love cilantro and everything about this dish! I love eggplant and polenta. . this is so beautiful. . and give me all the micro greens! :P

  25. Yum yum! Lol, thanks for introducing me to micro-cilantro. I did not know such things existed. I’d definitely eat tomato eggplant stew leftovers for at least a week without any complaint.

    P.S. Your cat is TOO cute.

  26. Not only does this stew look fantastic, but I just love your pictures of your kitty eating the micro arugula! I thought my cats were the only ones to have a strange obsession with greens. They have a particular love of kale, but maybe I’ll have to give them some arugula next time :) Thank you for sharing such a healthy, hearty recipe – I’m inspired!

  27. I would like to order one adorable freaking cat with a side of micro arugula, please. Coming right up?

    P.S. Cilantro-twins. WHO SURPRISES PEOPLE WITH CILANTRO? Evil folks, that’s who.

  28. I’ve heard about cilantro tasting like soap to some people, but I’ve never met anyone! It’s so strange to me because I eat so much asian and mexican food that I don’t know what I would use to replace it. Too funny about your waiter…sometimes they just don’t get it. I wonder what happens to people with allergies dining with them! This tomato stew looks delicious. I keep seeing beautiful eggplants but haven’t had any good ideas with what to do with them. But now I do!

  29. This is really beautiful, Sarah. And we can talk about those micro greens up on top. Adorbs!!! I want to grow some so badly!

  30. This reminds me of Italian ratatouille! Such a great combo.

    PS: I love your cat!

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