Eggplant Piquant

with Cajun-Spiced Garbanzo Beans

Prep: 40 mins Total: 60 mins Serves: 6-8
Chef Robbie Morgan

Lexington, Kentucky

Chef Robbie Morgan is a proud Kentucky native and co-creator of Wild Deutschland at Blue Stallion Brewing in Lexington. She loves farming and wild foraging, bringing nature’s inspiration into her dishes.

J. Gumbo’s on Limestone

“AppHarvest must be one of the most innovative and exciting agriculture developments in Kentucky—if not the whole of the U.S. And from such a reasonable concept—creating sustainable, healthy produce that is grown with people and the planet in mind.”


  • For Cajun-Spiced Garbanzo Beans:
  • 2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans (no salt or low sodium), rinsed and well drained
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • For Roasted Eggplant:
  • 1 whole eggplant
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For Sauce Piquant:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, de-ribbed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped (green parts only)
  • 3 1/2 cups beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water


Step 1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix all spices for the Cajun-Spiced Garbanzo Beans. Toss beans in a neutral-flavored oil (canola, for instance) and 2 heaping tablespoons of spice mix. Roast for 45 minutes.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim and wash whole eggplant. Cut in quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter in half lengthwise. Chop each length into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss generously in olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay out eggplant on a large, greased sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes (until whites are golden brown).

Step 3

Melt butter in a large skillet. Sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery until onion is lightly browned. Blend in flour with a fork. As the flour begins to toast (you should be able to smell this after a couple of minutes of constant stirring), add in all remaining ingredients for Sauce Piquant. Mix well. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.

Step 4

Add in roasted eggplant and cook another 10 minutes. Toss a handful of Cajun-Spiced Garbanzo Beans on top, throw on some pretty fresh herbs, a pinch of kosher salt, even a dash of hot sauce. Serve over steamed white rice or riced cauliflower.

Cook’s Note

Sauce Piquant is a spicy, tomato-based stew with the staple of Cajun cooking, the Holy Trinity (celery, onions, green bell peppers) Usually made with meat, we modernized this dish at our restaurant to feature local ingredients and more plant-based dishes. We add roasted eggplant and garbanzo beans to give this dish a hearty, smoky and “meaty” quality without adding the meat. “Piquant” meaning to “pick or sting” is exactly what the zesty and robust beefsteak tomatoes highlight in this dish.