Melanzane in Potacchio (Italian Eggplant stew) is a simple but surprisingly tasty recipe from the Marche region in Italy. It is a side dish that can be prepared in advance and can be enjoyed cold or warm. If you are looking for delicious vegan eggplant recipes, you have arrived my friend!
If you are like me and are constantly looking for tasty recipes for eggplant, you need to look at this simple but delicious dish.
Melanzane (eggplant in Italian) is one of the most beloved vegetables on the Italian Peninsula. There are many reasons to love it: it is cheap, versatile, has a great texture, plays along with virtually any flavor, and provides a delicate and distinctive texture to dishes.
When you plan to eat your way through Italy you can't leave Appetizers like Eggplant Parmesan and Eggplant Involtinis behind! There are many widely known eggplant dishes, but these are the must-haves.
For this Eggplant Stew recipe (you only need very simple ingredients, three vegetables and one herb!). Italian stews usually require just a few great quality ingredients to make the magic happen!
The stewed eggplant reminds us of a lot of the Catalonian Escalivada recipe, also on this site. But this dish is made quicker and doesn’t require an oven, just a saucepan!
This Italian eggplant recipe is very similar to our 3-ingredient pasta sauce, but this dish is less “saucy,” and you can serve it in various ways. It is one of those vegan eggplant dishes that was born this way! If you are into simple delicious treats, don't forget to look at our Pasta alla Puttanesca.
Two years ago, when Joaquin came to Italy to do his citizenship paperwork, he lived in Le Marche. A region that is best known for its beaches in cities like Rimini and Ancona. But Le Marche also has a great Enogastronomy (food and wine tourism).
This is how we first got to taste this dish, another queen in the realm of Italian Cuisine’s simplicity.
You need just a handful of ingredients for this vegan stew recipe. It is undoubtedly the simplest of all Italian eggplant dishes.
- Italian Eggplant (or any purple variety)
Extra virgin olive oil and salt.
See the recipe card for quantities.
The cooking method is mind-blowing and simple, and very few ingredients are enough. Let's explore this vegan eggplant recipe together.
Chop the eggplant and tomatoes and mince the garlic. You can make eggplant slices or dice.
Dice eggplant in dice, chop tomatoes in quarters and mince garlic.
You can optionally add salt and extra virgin olive oil to your ingredients.
Slightly cook the eggplant until golden brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Garlic, tomatoes, rosemary, and optionally olive oil and salt.
Stir fry the eggplant with the minced garlic dice until lightly browned.
Add quartered tomatoes into the saucepan.
Add Rosemary and adjust flavors with salt and olive oil in you want.
Stir once or twice and let the stew cook for 20 minutes over low heat with the lid on.
Remove from the heat, and let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
This is probably the simplest Vegan Vegetable Stew you will find out there! And probably also the most authentic!
🥢 How to Serve
You can serve this Italian Eggplant Casserole in several ways. Most Italian eggplant recipes call for cheese, but not this one, as it packs lots of flavor on its own!
- Main dish – serve a larger portion along with baked potatoes or steamed rice.
- Side – next to your dish of choice, such as this simple Romanesco Broccoli.
- Appetizer – serve it with your favorite Focaccia or Pagnotta bread as a Spanish Tapa at room temperature. You can alternatively use pita bread, for this absolutely delicious meal.
Top with fresh parsley.
To make this vegan eggplant casserole, you can play with different Italian herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and Rosemary.
You can also add one onion to augment the volume and provide even more flavor.
- Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet – omit olive oil and salt. The method doesn’t change.
- Herbs – use fresh basil or oregano instead of rosemary.
- Garlic – if you are not a fan of garlic, you can choose to use onions instead.
- White wine – to add more complexity and richness to the dish’s flavor, add ½ cup of dry white wine as soon as the eggplants are slightly roasted before you stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Spicy - you can optionally add black pepper or red pepper flakes during the last minutes of cooking.
🍆 Italian Eggplant
Italian eggplants are a common type of eggplant that can be found in home gardens and farmers' markets across North America. This variety of eggplant is more commonly known as "Italian" or "sweet" eggplants, contrary to their relative species, which are usually more bitter and sour than they are sweet.
Italian eggplants can be harvested by cutting them from the vine near the stem, leaving about 2 inches of stem still attached to each fruit.
The main characteristic that separates Italian eggplants from other types of eggplant is the lack of a gel around their seeds, which can be found in its relative species along with a large amount of bitter taste.
Since the gel contains most of the water content in the eggplant fruit, lacking this gel means that Italian eggs will be more succulent and less bitter.
Italian eggplants can be found at local farmers' markets and some grocery stores from June to September each year, depending on regional climates. They are very simple to harvest - about 2 inches should be cut from the stem of the eggplant to harvest, leaving 2 inches still attached.
This bit of stem provides a place for nutrients to travel from the roots into the fruit, which will continue ripening afterward.
Eggplants are a great addition to one's diet, as they have surprising health benefits.
💡 Tips for using your Italian Eggplants
- Eggplants are great for cooking in stews, spreads, or frying
- Do not store uncooked eggplants in the refrigerator unless they are less than half of their original size
- They can be prepared by roasting or steaming to be used in salads or recipes such as baba ganoush and ratatouille.
- They tend to last only 4 days after harvest if refrigerated.
Melanzane. That's why one of the most emblematic Italian eggplant recipes, the Eggplant Parmesan, is called Parmigiana di Melanzane.
You can find more than one variety of eggplants in Italy, some have a pear shape and others are elongated, like cucumbers. Italian eggplants flavor is more delicate than the regular varieties, thus may be less bitter. As a result, you might not have to treat them with salt for some dishes as it is regularly done with mainstream varieties.
I don't recommend replacing chopped tomatoes with tomato paste, homemade tomato sauce, or marinara sauce because we have very few ingredients in this dish, and tomatoes contribute to the final result of the dish with their texture. If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you could use them instead of canned or crushed tomatoes.
You can still use homemade tomato sauce, marinara sauce, tomato paste, or even vegetable broth in case you have leftovers and the stew has dried up; this way, you can still add some moisture while adding flavor. Remember that you may need to adjust the flavors with some garlic powder, salt, and maybe some extra virgin olive oil.
You can use fire-roasted tomatoes; just make sure they have not turned into purée, so keep some of the texture.
You can always work on variations, like adding bell pepper it any other favorite vegetable. Just keep in mind that it can vary the flavor profile. If you choose to add bell peppers, choose red and only a small one.
📚 More Simple Vegan Eggplant Recipes
This vegan version of the famous Pasta alla Norma is delicious, and you won't believe it is made with only 3 ingredients.
I am sure you love the Eggplant Parmigiana but sometimes refrain from indulging given its high-calorie content; well, you may not have tried our No-fry eggplant parmesan, but you won't miss any frying on this healthy recipe!
Our Eggplant Green Thai Curry will gain your heart if you are into Thai Curries with freshly steamed Jasmine Rice.
Eggplants not only do well with Thai Curries, but Indian Eggplant curries are delicious. This Mild Indian Curry has tomato and coconut milk that is hard to resist.
If you are in love with Eggplants as we are, don't forget to check our 9 Vegan Eggplant Recipes post.
🇮🇹 More Vegan Italian recipes
- Romanesco Broccoli in padella
- Best Stuffed Shells Pasta
- Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese)
- If you like quiches alike and puff pastry, have a look at this super easy Vegan Eggplant Pie, or the creamy eggplant pasta made with simple ingredients and great for meal prep.
Make sure to try a delicious authentic Tuscan Ribollita soup, made with simple ingredients that make a completely delicious, vegan, and balanced main dish.
Or simply hop into our Round-up post with Our Favorite Vegan Italian Recipes you should try!
Another Vegan Vegetable Stew that is super easy and quick to make is our Protein-Packed Chickpea Stew. We are sure you will love it.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Italian Eggplant Stew - 4 Ingredients
- 18 oz eggplant about 1 medium, diced
- 18 oz tomatoes diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 rosemary
- Wash and chop the eggplant and tomatoes under running water and cut them into medium chunks.18 oz eggplant, 18 oz tomatoes
- Chop or mince the garlic finely.4 garlic cloves
- Cook the eggplant until it is golden.18 oz eggplant
- Add the rest of the ingredients. As soon as the eggplant chunks are golden, add garlic, the diced tomatoes, and the rosemary sprig. Optionally add extra virgin olive oil and salt. Stir thoroughly and close the lid.18 oz tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, 1 rosemary, 2 tablespoons olive oil, sea salt
- Stir once or twice and let the stew cook for 20 minutes over low heat, with the lid on.
- Let it cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
Please note that some of the links here are affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I recommend all of the products listed because they are companies I have found helpful and trustworthy.
I love a recipe with minimal ingredients and this looks amazing.
Me too! Italian Cuisine delivers very well on that field!
I have so much eggplant to use up. I'm glad to find a new way to use it! This stew is perfect!
Super, this recipe is super sizeable! Let's put those eggplants to good use! yay!
My daughter has an absolute bumper crop of eggplant this year so the timing with this recipe is perfect. I'm passing it on to her right now!
Oh! Seems like we are in the same boat! Maybe she will enjoy this Eggplant Round up with 9 vegan eggplant recipes.9 Vegan Eggplant Recipes (Aubergine Recipes)
Jessica Formicola says
I can hardly believe this delicious recipe only has 4 ingredients! We love eggplant, and this was a total winner!
Crazy, isn't it! Italian simplicity! Great but fewer ingredients are the name of the game!
I love eggplant but feel like I do not have many good recipes that use it. Now I have a keeper that I will enjoy time and time again!
I am sure you will keep making it over and over again! It is a super easy dish! I am glad we contributed to your eggplant recipes repertoire!
Enjoyed the eggplant stew, it reminds me a lot of one of my our Persian dishes but yours is much easier and faster to make which is nice.
Dana Sandonato says
This is so so cozy and amazing!! Honestly, as much as I enjoy eggplant, I've never made anything but eggplant parm with it at home. I'm so glad I found this recipe. I needed a new way to appreciate it and this is SO easy!
This is fantastic served alongside some baked potatoes. Yum!
great pairing Jessica!
I can go on and on how perfect this stew is! I will be adding eggplant to my grocery list to plan to make this in the next few week.
Wow, thank you for this lovely review. I'm so happy to hear that our stew has made your grocery list! We hope you enjoy it when you make it.
This eggplant stew is so easy to make but yields such delicious results! So hearty and packed with flavor. This is a recipe I'll be revisiting again and again!
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us! I'm glad it turned out so well - this is one of my favorite recipes too. I appreciate that you found it easy and delicious. We're all about simple, satisfying food here at Our Plant-based World. If there's anything else we can do to help make your visit more enjoyable please let me know!
one of my fav eggplant recipes of all time!
That's nice to hear! We also love it very much! Super easy and tasty!
This is absolutely delicious. It's so rustic and easy, but it's so full of flavor. It's become one of our favorites.
Thanks, for your comment Beth, I am very glad you liked the Italian eggplant stew!
This italian dish was absolutely delicious. I love the sauce and the eggplants really soaked up the flavor.
Thanks for your review Mirlene, I am glad the recipe went as expected!
So much flavour from such simple ingredients! We loved it.
Just made this! Super easy and delicious. Only made 12oz of eggplant / 14oz of canned diced tomatoes. Used Chinese eggplant and instead of rosemary, used basil, oregano, and smoked paprika. Definitely will make again.
Hey Hennessy! Thank you for your review, and I loved your substitutions. Eggplants are amazing veggies, and they go very well with any herbs and condiments. We love using it with basil on our easy eggplant sauce ! Cheers!