As much as I adore cooking for other people, every now and then it’s a treat (and a relief!) to prepare a meal just for myself. This Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Chickpeas is my kind of single-lady meal.
This recipe is sponsored by Stella.
Eggplant that’s oven roasted until caramelized and tender, then piled high with a bright blue cheese arugula salad and crunchy chickpeas, this dinner-for-one recipe makes for an evening to savor.
This dish is tender, meaty (without the meat), bright, creamy, and crunchy. The ingredients are simple, but they combine to become so much more.
While I am certainly no stranger to the crackers/cheese/wine dinner plan, I never feel as satisfied at the end of the “meal” as when I take a few extra minutes to prepare something warm and nourishing for myself.
I look for recipes that are quick, easy, and light on dishes, but that still feel a little bit gourmet.
This roasted eggplant with chickpeas checks every box on my ideal “for me” dinner. The prep is all of five minutes, it’s nourishing, and it makes my night feel special.
I pour myself a glass of wine, turn on some background music (because we are all friends here, I’ll admit that it’s usually the “French Café Music” playlist), and then flip through a fun cooking magazine.
Add this eggplant to my plate, and I have everything I need for a lovely evening with…moi!
In addition to being a stellar, hearty meatless main, this roasted eggplant is an elevated side. I can easily finish a whole batch (the recipe is written for one whole eggplant), but if you are cooking for two or a few, you can easily scale it up to meet your needs.
Key Ingredient Tips to Make Simple Recipes Special
With just a few small tricks, you can take a recipe concept as simple as roasted eggplant and turn it into something truly special.
- Use High Impact “Flavor Boosters.” In this recipe, my secret weapon is Stella Crumbled Blue Cheese. Even if you *think* you don’t like blue cheese, this one is delightful! It’s creamy, not too strong, and gives richness to anything on which you sprinkle it.
Blue cheese is one of my favorite ingredients to add to salads. Because it is so creamy, it coats the greens a little when the salad is tossed, lending them needed richness.
It’s also wonderful crumbled over simple baked chicken, sprinkled on roasted veggies (I especially love it on Roasted Brussels Sprouts), or tucked into a quiche.
I value Stella cheese in particular, because it’s high quality. When recipes only have a few ingredients, it’s important to make them count, especially when it comes to cheese. Choose wisely and your food will shine.
- Don’t Forget the Acid. A touch of an acidic ingredient gives food pop. Here, a splash of red wine vinegar in the salad dressing makes the recipe come to life.
- Add Some Crunch. Texture is CRITICAL when it comes to any recipe, especially vegetarian ones. The crunchy sautéed chickpeas give the eggplant dimension. They are also HIGHLY addictive. You’ve been warned.
- Fresh Herbs. Never underestimate their power! I used a blend of parsley and mint because that is what we had on hand. Just about any fresh herb you have lingering in your refrigerator—basil, cilantro, dill, and even tarragon—would be tasty here. I do not recommend dried herbs, as they don’t work as well in fresh recipes like salads.
How to Make This Recipe
Roasting the eggplant in large halves makes this recipe’s prep time next to zero. I also find the fact that you eat the final eggplant with a knife and fork makes this recipe feel like a satisfying main event.
- Lay your eggplant pieces cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush them with olive oil, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 35 minutes at 425 degrees F.
- About halfway through the cooking time, flip the pieces over. Keep roasting until they are fork tender.
While the eggplant finishes, sauté your chickpeas until browned (they will sizzle and pop!). Place the arugula in a mixing bowl. Add the sautéed chickpeas to the bowl with the arugula.
Add the cheese, vinegar, and oil, and toss.
Lay the eggplant halves cut side up a serving plate, and pile on the salad. Sprinkle with extra blue cheese, and DIG IN!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
While I can usually polish off both halves (and the whole salad) for a filling vegetarian meal, if you would like to increase the quantity or have leftovers, here are some storage tips:
- To Make Ahead. Roast your eggplant halves up to 1 day in advance, and store them in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator. Rewarm just before serving and top with the fresh chickpea arugula mixture.
- To Store. Place leftover eggplant in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Refrigerate your leftover chickpea arugula salad in a separate airtight storage container for up to 1 day (this salad isn’t ideal leftover, but you can get away with it).
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm the eggplant on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. Top with the salad mixture just before serving. You can also reheat the eggplant in the microwave in a pinch.
Do you have a favorite thing to cook just for you? I’d love to hear your go-tos. As always, if you make this recipe, please comment below to let me know what you think! It makes my day to hear from you.
Roasted Eggplant with Crispy Chickpea Arugula Salad
FOR THE EGGPLANT:
- 1 small eggplant halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
FOR THE CHICKPEA TOPPING:
- ½ cup canned or cooked chickpeas (if canned, rinse and drain them)*
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil divided
- Pinch kosher salt
- Pinch ground black pepper
- 2 cups arugula about 2 handfuls
- 3 tablespoons Stella Blue Cheese Crumbles plus additional for serving
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar plus additional to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs: parsley mint, basil, or a mix
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place eggplant halves, cut sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the cut sides with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, flipping once halfway through. The eggplant should be fork-tender all the way through, but not mushy.
- When the eggplant is nearing the end of its cooking time, prepare the chickpea arugula topping. Place the arugula in a medium mixing bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring them from time to time, until the chickpeas are nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. They will sizzle and pop. Transfer the warm chickpeas and any oil that has collected in the skillet to the bowl with the arugula.
- To the arugula mixture, add the blue cheese, red wine vinegar, herbs, and remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- To serve, arrange eggplants, cut side up, on a serving plate. Pile the chickpea arugula mixture on top and sprinkle with additional blue cheese. Enjoy hot.
- *If you’d like to go ahead and use a full (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, cook them all in 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet as directed, adding additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the amount of chickpeas you’d like to store to an airtight storage container, and store at room temperature for 2 days. To the salad, add remaining chickpeas, plus an additional 1 teaspoon olive oil. Continue with the recipe as directed.
- TO STORE: Place your eggplant in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store your leftover chickpea arugula salad in a separate airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm the eggplant on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. Top with the salad mixture just before serving. You can also reheat the eggplant in the microwave in a pinch.
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I am sharing this post in partnership with Stella. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you!