Before we get to this recipe, I want to share a story about my eggplant plant. I’ve had this plant now for at least three years, living in its little red pot outside my door, always looking happy and green but never actually producing any eggplants. Even on the hottest of days the plant would look vibrant and happy, and I never had the heart to pull it even though it never made any eggplants. It was always growing and had at this point become more of an eggplant bush, and on it lived it’s life.
One day I came home from work, and I noticed something hanging out of the bottom of the pot. “Is that an eggplant?” I thought to myself. Sure enough, it was – and hidden underneath the leaves were several more eggplant friends in various stages of ripeness. I was so excited and started harvesting the ripe ones, and was happy to have a few fist-sized eggplants to start eating throughout the summer. After the first harvest, the plant started absolutely cranking out eggplants, and they started getting really big. I was harvesting 7 giant eggplants at a time, and I needed something to do with these things. Enter, this recipe below.
Eventually, Chris and I checked on the eggplant and had to tip it over because the pot was starting to collect a lot of standing water. Upon doing that, we realized that the roots had grown through the bottom of the pot and had started tapping the irrigation line in my apartment complex, hence why it was always so happy and green. Since we moved and disturbed it, I thought that would be it for my eggplant plant, but even still, I couldn’t just throw it away. It started looking all wilty which made me sad, but somehow, someway – it never died. Here I am, three months later, and the plant is flowering again, putting out new growth, and is still absolutely thriving. I’ve started checking it for eggplants again (flowers, but no fruit yet!) in the hopes that I’ll get to make this recipe again soon. The plant must have found it’s trusty waterline again, and I’ll continue to check every week to see if it’s back to producing fruit. Either way, I’m happy that it’s still with us, and I hope this story and recipe brings you a little joy here at the end of summer.
This recipe is a great way to use up a lot of eggplants (they cook down a lot!), and other than the chopping, the cooking is completely hands-off as the oven does all of the work for you. Leftovers of this would be great on a salad or mixed into pasta, so it’s a perfect option for summer meal prep. Make yourself a big batch and smile about my ever thriving, always happy eggplant plant.
Recipe down below, photos of my eggplant plant throughout!
Roasted Eggplant with Olives and Peppers
- 2-3 large eggplants
- 4-6 sweet peppers
- 1 onion
- ¼ cup of Kalamata olives, pitted and drained
- ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
- (optional if you want to keep this veggie forward!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Chop the onion in half (through the root end), and remove the skin from both halves. Chop into large dice, and add the chopped onion to a large bowl.
- Chop the peppers in half (lengthwise), and use your hands to remove the stem, seeds, and inner membranes. Chop the pepper halves in half again (lengthwise), then chop (crosswise) into ½ inch strips. Add the chopped peppers to the bowl with the onion.
- Remove the top (stem end) of the eggplant, and cut the eggplant into 1 inch planks. From there, cut the planks into 1 inch strips (lengthwise), then cut these strips into 1 inch cubes (crosswise). Add the diced eggplant to the bowl with the onions and peppers.
- Remove pits from the kalamata olives (if any) and roughly chop into large pieces. Set aside.
- Crumble the feta cheese into large-ish crumbles (if not crumbled already). Set aside.
- Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil to the Dutch oven. Once everything has heated up (about 30-60 seconds), add all of the chopped veggies (onions, peppers, and eggplants). Stir to combine, and continue to cook until the onions become slightly transparent and the veggies start to become tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chopped olives and crumbled feta cheese to the Dutch oven, and gently stir to combine (try not to break up the feta cheese too much).
- Turn the heat off of the stove and transfer the Dutch oven into the preheated oven. Bake the veggies for 45-60 minutes, until everything becomes fully tender and caramelized. Remove the Dutch oven from the stove and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Enjoy on it’s own, mixed into pasta, or cooled and mixed into a summer salad. Enjoy!