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5 from 5 votes

Iraqi-Inspired Seitan and Eggplant Stew

The seasoning in this dish is inspired by Baharat, a spice blend used in the Middle East. You may be able to buy jars of Baharat in Middle Eastern grocery stores; to substitute it for the seasonings in this recipe, start with 2 teaspoons and add it to taste, but be aware that packaged Baharat may be spicier than my seasoning mix.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 270kcal
Author: Susan Voisin

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup yellow split peas rinsed and picked over
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 dried red chile peppers
  • Seasoning blend see below or baharat
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 large eggplant diced
  • additional seasonings to taste

Seitan

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mesquite or hickory seasoning optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tahini or other nut butter
  • 3/4 cup cold water

Seasoning Blend (mix all together)

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot or pressure cooker and add the chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is caramel colored and flecked with brown, 6-10 minutes. (Be careful not to burn.) 
  • Add the split peas, water, dried chilies, and seasoning blend. Cover and cook until split peas are dissolving. How long this takes will depend on the age of your split peas but allow at least an hour for regular stove-top cooking. (The peas I used were older, so I used the pressure cooker and cooked at high pressure for 16 minutes then quick-released.) Once cooked, split peas should still be very watery, not thick like soup. Add water as necessary to prevent drying out.
  • While the split-peas cook, prepare the seitan. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the cold water and tahini (or other nut butter). Mix well. Turn out on a board and knead several times. Flatten out the dough, and using a sharp knife, cut it into rough 1/2-3/4 inch cubes. Set cubes aside. Trim the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Once the split peas are completely tender and starting to fall apart, add the salt, pomegranate molasses, seitan, and eggplant to the pot. There should be enough liquid that the ingredients are just covered but are not floating. If necessary, add more water. Check seasonings and add more if necessary (I added about 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and coriander.) Cover loosely and cook at a low simmer, stirring often, for about 45 minutes, until seitan is firm and cooked all the way through and eggplant is tender. (Toward the end, be sure to stir from the bottom to avoid sticking.) 
  • Remove the chile peppers and serve in bowls with rice or pita bread.

Notes

Cooking the gluten in the stew results in a tender seitan. If you’d like a firmer, more chewy seitan, flatten your gluten and bake it at 400F for 20 minutes before cutting into cubes; add it to the stew with the eggplant. Pre-baked seitan will be spongier and look less like m*e*a*t.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 2.7g | Sodium: 607mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 8g