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 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 eggplant recipes, 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.
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!
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.
💚 Why you will love it
- Simple Ingredients
- Versatile Dish
- Rich Flavors
- Easy Preparation
- Healthy Choice
You need just a handful of ingredients for this vegan stew. It is undoubtedly the simplest of all Italian eggplant dishes.
- Italian Eggplant (or any purple variety): The star of the show, eggplant, lends a meaty texture without any animal products. Its spongy nature allows it to soak up flavors, making each bite a savory experience.
- Tomatoes: These red gems offer a natural sweetness and acidity that balances out the richness of the eggplant. They also contribute to the stew's saucy consistency, essential for that authentic Italian vibe.
- Garlic: A kitchen workhorse, garlic elevates the entire dish with its aromatic kick. It acts as a natural flavor enhancer, complementing the eggplant and tomatoes effortlessly.
- Rosemary: This fragrant herb infuses the stew with a piney aroma, a nod to Mediterranean flavors. A little goes a long way, adding layers of complexity to the dish without overwhelming it.
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.
Step 1: Dice eggplant into dice, chop tomatoes into quarters, and mince garlic.
Step 2: Stir fry the eggplant with the minced garlic dice until lightly browned.
Step 3: Add the remaining ingredients, including tomatoes, rosemary, olive oil, and salt.
Step 4: Add Rosemary and adjust flavors with salt and olive oil. Stir once or twice and let the stew cook for 20 minutes over low heat with the lid on.
Step 5: Remove from heat, and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
💡 Expert Tips
Choose Fresh Eggplants: Opt for firm, glossy eggplants with smooth skin. Fresh eggplants have a creamy texture and absorb flavors better.
Salt to Remove Bitterness: If you're using non-Italian varieties of eggplant, consider salting them before cooking. This helps to draw out any bitterness. Simply sprinkle salt over the diced eggplant, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
Low and Slow Cooking: Stew the eggplant on low heat to allow the flavors to meld together and the eggplant to become tender without burning. Resist the urge to rush this process.
Balance the Flavors: If your tomatoes aren't very sweet, a pinch of sugar can help balance the acidity. Conversely, a splash of lemon juice or vinegar can brighten the dish if it tastes too sweet.
Herb Variations: While rosemary is recommended, feel free to experiment with other herbs like basil, oregano, or thyme for a different flavor profile.
Tips for cooking with eggplants
- Eggplants are great for cooking in vegan 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 in salads or recipes such as baba ganoush and ratatouille.
- They tend to last only four days after harvest if refrigerated.
🥢 How to Serve
You can serve this delicious stew in many ways.
- Main dish – serve a larger portion along with baked potatoes, or Jasmine steamed rice. We often make this recipe and top it with our crispy air fryer nuggets with Mediterranean marinade.
- Side – next to your dish of choice, such as this simple Romanesco Broccoli recipe.
- Appetizer – serve it with your favorite Rosemary focaccia or Italian artisan bread bread as a Spanish Tapa at room temperature. You can alternatively use pita bread for this absolutely delicious meal.
Top with fresh parsley.
You can play with Italian herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, and Rosemary.
Adding one onion can 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 garlic fan, 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 or red pepper flakes during the last minutes of cooking.
You can find more than one variety of eggplants in Italy; some have a pear shape, and others are elongated, like cucumbers. Italian eggplant flavor is more delicate than the regular varieties and, 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.
You can always work on variations, like adding bell pepper to any other favorite vegetable. Just keep in mind that the flavor profile can vary. If you add bell peppers, choose red and only a small one.
📚 More eggplant recipes
This 3-ingredient pasta sauce is a delectable vegan take on the classic Pasta alla Norma will surprise you with its simplicity.
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!
Eggplants not only do well with Thai curries, but this Indian Eggplant curry is out of this world.
If you love eggplants as we do, don't forget to check out our 9 Vegan vegan eggplant recipes post.
Or simply hop into our Round-up post with Our Favorite Vegan Italian Recipes you should try!
⭐ 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
- Wash and chop the eggplant and tomatoes under running water and cut them into medium chunks.
- Chop or mince the garlic finely.
- Cook the eggplant until it is golden.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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