Preheat oven to 400 F / 200C
In a large dutch oven, heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and stir until golden, then add the red bell peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.
Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, and chickpeas and the water or broth. Stir to combine.
Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from the stove top, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Cook in the oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from the oven briefly and stir in about ½ cup of water or broth at a time.)
When eggplant is ready, remove it from the oven and garnish with fresh herbs (parsley, dill, or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of rice, quinoa, pita bread, or a salad!