Slightly Spicy Eggplant & Tomato Sauté

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | February 19th, 2020 | Appetizers, Recipes, Side Dishes, Tapas Monday, Vegetarian

Chunks of eggplant tossed with tomato sauce and chili powder make a warm, filling side dish or topping

Slightly Spicy Eggplant & Tomato Sauté

Michele Pesula Kuegler

It’s a side. It’s a dip. It’s a spread. It’s delicious.

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Course Appetizer, Side Dish

Servings 2



  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound eggplant diced
  • 1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste



  • Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add eggplant, sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Place 1 cup tomatoes in blender and purée.
  • Add diced and pureed tomatoes to cooked eggplant mixture.
  • Cook for 5 minutes on medium.
  • Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Keyword eggplant dish
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This week’s new recipe, Moroccan Eggplant Dip, made me think of this dish from a few years ago. Although they start with the same base of eggplant and onions, they’re pretty different. While Monday’s recipe was 100% savory with a combination of spice and smokiness, this dish had an interesting balance of spicy and sweet. The one thing they have in common is that they are delicious and pair well with some pita bread.

To learn more about this recipe, originally published in April 2018, keep reading.

In some recent travels, we ended up having breakfast at a deli. I had the most amazing challah French toast, and my husband had white fish salad. Happiness for both of us. We enjoyed our food there so much that the next day we returned for lunch. I wanted something lighter than a bagel or a pastrami sandwich. In the salad case I spied something reddish labeled as Spanish eggplant. I figured it was worth a try.

We took our lunches back to our hotel, and as I ate my Spanish eggplant, I tried to determine what its ingredients were. It definitely included eggplant (duh), tomatoes, and then a whole bunch of spices. It had hints of both heat and sweetness. So, to solve this mystery I googled. I found many recipes, all with their own spins. Some treated it as a side dish, some as a dip. It definitely could be used either way.

When I was finally home after a couple weeks on the road, the first meal I made included this dish. I wanted to see if I could recreate the flavors and textures. I’m not sure my version is 100% the same, which is why I’m not calling it Spanish eggplant. In my version I left chunks of tomato to offer more texture. I also didn’t purée any of the eggplant, which some recipes suggested. I chose spices based on my palate and not on an official recipe.

However, what I got was a really tasty dish that is quite versatile. I ate mine with a fork, treating it like a side dish. My husband used it first as a dip for a piece of pita bread, and then for his second serving as a spread for a lamb wrap. All three variations definitely work.

While this is a quick to make recipe, if you have time to let it simmer, I’d encourage that. I planned to serve it after the 15 or so minutes of cooking, but due to a timing issue I had to let it sit for another 30 minutes. Those extra 30 minutes provided a greater depth of flavor; it definitely is worth adding a little extra simmering time.

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