3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic minced
1 yellow onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 small Italian eggplant, peeled and chopped into ¾- to 1-inch pieces
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into ¾- to 1-inch pieces
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into ¾- to 1-inch pieces
1 orange pepper, seeded and cut into ¾- to 1-inch pieces
3 small zucchini, cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 can (15 to 20 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups crushed tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet on medium-low. Add garlic and onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until translucent. Add eggplant, season with salt and black pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook until eggplant is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
2. Add peppers, zucchini, and garbanzo beans to slow cooker.
3. Combine tomatoes, basil, thyme, pepper flakes, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl. Blend and pour into slow cooker. Stir together all ingredients.
4. Cover; cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 ½ to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings. Garnish with basil, if desired.