This is definitely the longest break I’ve had between blog posts, mostly due to travel. Lucky me got to go to a psychology conference in Berlin and then a family reunion in the Outer Banks. Both trips were beyond wonderful, and involved some very delicious food, but I definitely missed cooking for myself. I realized how much I value the freedom of having my own kitchen and all the variety that comes with living a few blocks from Whole Foods and a fully stocked pantry. I also missed the experimentation in trying new recipes for myself (and my boyfriend, who fortunately devours both my wins and losses). Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking of a multitude of recipe ideas, but the stuffed eggplant dish was at the top of my list. I’ve already made it twice, and so far it has been given the seal of approval!
It has been gorgeous in Seattle since being back, and although I often just eat raw veggies and cold foods in the summertime, sometimes I still crave something more comforting and hearty for dinner. As a “flexitarian”, I am often thinking of vegetarian dishes that can be served alone or with meat. Eggplant is a great option for vegetarians due to its meaty texture and smoky flavor (not to mention it’s high protein and fiber content). I hardly ever cook it, but it seemed like the perfect base for a variety of Mediterranean flavors. It combines the summery fresh flavors of tomato and basil, with the crunch from the almonds and the saltiness of feta and kalamata olives. Each bite packs a ton of flavor, and nutrition. This dish is great on its own as a light meal (add garbanzo beans for more protein), or as I served it, with roasted chicken and a simple green salad. If the “stuffing” part seems difficult, you could also just dice and roast the eggplant, combine the other ingredients, and just mix together as a salad! In any form, it’s a perfect meal for entertaining, or for a simple night in for two!
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 eggplant
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice eggplant in half and using knife, cut around the outer edge of each half without cutting through the skin. Then cut small squares in flesh, cutting almost to skin, but not through it. Lift out the squares with a spoon or fork so that you have diced eggplant flesh and then the skin of each half.
- Lightly brush the inside of the skins with olive oil and place face down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until flesh and skin are softened but still held together.
- Meanwhile, sauté the diced eggplant in a large skillet over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until soft. Turn off heat and add tomato, olives, feta, almonds, and salt and pepper.
- Flip the skins over and stuff them with filling (there may be some filling leftover). Place back in oven for 5 minutes or until heated throughout.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and salt and pepper. Enjoy!