Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

Mains & Sides Recipe

There are many variations of this dish of Turkish origin. This stuffed eggplant, or Imam Bayildi, is a variation of a recipe from Aglaia Kremezi. What I love about it is the hearty flavor of adding walnuts and pecorino to the stuffing. And, making your own favorite tomato sauce (I make mine with olive oil, onions, garlic and desired spices) will make this even better. Typically the eggplant stems are left on, but the eggplants I had on were too big and round to fit in my baking dish.

  • ­­­­2 eggplants
  • Salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, halved, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, chopped or coarsely ground
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino
  • 1 large tomato, ripe heirloom if available or beefsteak, cut into 6 to 8 slices
  • ¾ cup homemade tomato sauce
  • parsley for garnish

Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, preferably keeping part of the stem. Diagonally score flesh in both directions with a knife. Salt eggplants generously and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse eggplants under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place eggplants on the sheet with cut side up. Brush eggplants with olive oil on both sides. Bake eggplants for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden. Put eggplants aside to cool, but keep the oven warm.

In a deep skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and 1 tsp salt and sauté until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté until soft. Next, add garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove skillet from heat. Add the cumin, Aleppo pepper, walnuts and cheese. Mix the filling and adjust seasoning as needed.

Line a deep baking dish with parchment paper and brush the paper with olive oil. Line the paper with the sliced tomato and place the eggplants on the tomatoes. The eggplants should fit snugly in the dish. Using a spoon, press into the softened eggplant flesh to create indentations for the stuffing. Fill each eggplant with the stuffing and top each with 3 Tbs of tomato sauce. Pour the remaining sauce around the eggplants. Drizzle the eggplants with 1 to 2 Tbs olive oil. Bake eggplants for 40 to 45 minutes, until bubbling and slightly browned on top. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

This is a hearty meal and if using larger eggplants, one eggplant half may be more than enough. It works great for leftovers and tastes even better the next day.

 

Get Regular Smoothie

Get Regular Smoothie

Beverage Recipe

Lemon serves as a tonic for the liver and can aid in daily digestion. That, combined with the fiber in this smoothie can help things get back on track. This also has a good dose of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system.

  • ­­­­2 plums
  • 2 dates
  • Juice of 1 lemon plus zest from ½ of lemon
  • Handful of hazelnuts
  • 1-2 kale leaves
  • 2-3 inch cucumber slice
  • 1 celery stalk
  • Protein power
  • Splash nut milk
  • Water to desired consistency
  • Greens powder (optional)

Blend and enjoy!

Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Appetizers & Salads Mains & Sides Recipe

I posted this recipe over a year ago, but it wasn’t under a typical recipe heading. So, I’m reposting it. I created this as a tasty Summer/Spring salad, but it’s great for during any warm weather spell.

Combine the following chopped herbs in food processor with 1/3 cup or more olive oil. Add lemon or vinegar if desired,

  • 1 bunch cilantro
, packed
  • 1/2 cup parsley
, loose
  • 1/4 cup each dill, mint & tarragon

Mix with the following:

  • 2 cups (more/less as desired) cooked quinoa
  • small sautéed onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • generous handful of arugula, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste; I also added cumin
  • feta, optional

If you don’t like the taste of tarragon, you could skip it or experiment with another herb…basil, sorrel, lemon thyme.

Enjoy!

 

Eggplant

Health Wellness

I didn’t learn to appreciate eggplants until my 30’s. My initial exposure to eating eggplant was in heavier dishes, such as eggplant parmesan or moussaka. I wasn’t able to recognize or appreciate the flavor until trying baba ganoush. It took me awhile to experiment with making and cooking eggplant dishes, but now I try to make something with eggplant about twice a month when they are in season.

A kin to the tomato, bell pepper and potato, the eggplant is a nightshade that grows hanging from the vines of a plant. It is technically a fruit but is classified as a vegetable. The eggplant tastes bitter and slightly sweet (but it slows the absorption of blood sugar and is a useful regulator of glucose and insulin activity in the body.) Ayurveda considers it as heating. Chinese medicine considers it to be cooling (clearing heat) and to remove blood stagnation.

As for nutrients, eggplants are an overall source of many vitamins and minerals. They contain fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and vitamins C, K and B6. Eggplants are also loaded with antioxidants, which are known to help defend a variety of diseases and conditions. One study found that eggplant skin is loaded with a potent phytonutrient and antioxidant called nasusin, which is an antioxidant that protects brain cells from free radicals and damage.

While eggplants contain decent amount of fiber, for some eggplants can irritate the digestive tract and are recommended to reduce or avoid if you have GI tract inflammation.

Shared recipes: Stuffed Eggplant

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

Beverage Recipe

This anti-inflammatory smoothie (pear, ginger, turmeric, greens, vitamin C) has a slight kick for digestion with the ginger. The cucumber and pear balance the digestive fire and add cooling properties that can be great for warmer weather or after a post-workout sweat.

  • ­­­­½ or more inch slice ginger
  • ¼ – ½ inch slice turmeric (or ½ tsp ground)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 pear
  • 3-inch cucumber slice
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
  • Small handful of almonds
  • Handful of spinach
  • 7-10 mint leaves
  • Protein power
  • Splash water or orange juice

I like to occasionally add a generous pinch of cardamom or cinnamon. You can add a greens powder to this if you like. If you have issue with the pea-green color, skip the spinach.

Enjoy!