I had bookmarked a recipe from Vegetarian Times awhile back for Walnut-Stuffed Eggplant . . . and waited patiently for eggplant to come in season.
Finally! I added the ingredients to my shopping lists last weekend, and was excited to try out something new. While I've stuffed squash and portobellos, I've actually never stuffed an eggplant -- can you believe it?
Upon closer examination of the recipe, I was starting to feel less excited about this project. Reading the recipe reviews, some folks said that the meal took them two hours to prepare, and others complained about the cinnamon in the filling. I talked with my friend Dora about this meal, since she has stuffed eggplant before, and she gave me some pointers on streamlining the preparation.
I tweaked the original recipe quite a bit; here's what I finally came up with!
Walnut-Stuffed Eggplant, FOOD SNOB Version
2 medium eggplants (2 1/2 to 3 lbs total weight)
1 tbsp + 4 tsp olive oil, divided
3 cups diced onion
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup roughly-chopped walnuts
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp oregano
zest of one lemon
salt to taste
3 1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup whole-wheat panko
1. Preheat oven to 425. Halve the eggplant lengthwise, (leave the stem on for a more gorgeous presentation,) and place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the eggplant about 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Cool slightly. Scoop the eggplant flesh from the shells, and chop the flesh coarsely. Arrange the shells back on the baking sheet.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, and add the onion and red pepper. Cook the onion until soft. Add the cherry tomatoes, walnuts, Italian seasoning, oregano, lemon zest, salt, and reserved eggplant flesh, and stir to combine. Cook, covered, about three minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Fold in the feta.
3. Heap the filling into the reserved shells. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 4 tsp oil, and sprinkle over the filling.
4. Bake the stuffed eggplant for about 15 minutes, or until the filling sets and the crumbs brown. Allow the eggplants to cool for 10 minutes before serving!
Plated, with salad:
After my stuffed eggplant, salad, and dessert, my belly is also stuffed!