Healthy Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

I have never stuffed an eggplant or really anything besides a stocking or my stomach; but the opportunity arose this weekend at my local farmer's market. I was magnetically drawn to this beautiful, plump eggplant that was begging stuff meee and eat meeee; so, of course, I must honor its last wishes.

I found this awesome stuffed eggplant recipe from my BFF, Betty Crocker (she's always clutch in these situations).  The recipe calls for ground meat, but I'm going to negate this ingredient to make a delicious vegetarian dish a la moi; plus I can find most of the ingredients in my garden! Eureka. My parents are pumped that I'm making dinner tonight, so in the famous words of Paula Dean: here we go y'all.

What you'll need:
1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced small (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/4 cups grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup panko crispy bread crumbs
1 whole egg
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1  medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash

Firstly, heat the oven to 350.

Freshly picked veggies from the garden with our main star (far right)

Next, slice open and scoop out your lovely eggplant. I felt like I was preparing my pumpkin for carving, and in a way it's the same idea except you don't carve your eggplant (but I mean, I guess you could...if you do, send me pictures). Leave enough of the eggplant meat intact, so the halves keep their shape. Put the eggplant "guts" in a separate bowl.

I don't know if there is a way around the seeds, but I kept 'em. I think it gives the dish a little more panache, don't you think? Next, take the eggplant "guts" and warm over the stove with water until soft.

While that cooks nicely, chop up your veggies. I added a zucchini and yellow squash in lieu of the meat, but you can add any veggies you want, be creative...this is your time to shine, y'all!

Cook the veggies until sauteed and the eggplant is soft. How pretty. Next, mix the above with the picture below (1 egg, 1/4 bread crumbs, 1/2 cheese and herbs).


Mix everything together in a gigantic bowl and you're almost there. I think this was the most involved recipe I have ever taken on from the picking to the chopping to the mixing to the packing; but my dad just walked in and asked "what smells so good", so I know I'm on the right track.

Lastly, scoop the mixture into your hallowed eggplant halves. Stuff as much as you can; you're really going to have to put your snowball packing skills to use.



YUM. Sprinkle the rest of the bread crumbs and cheese on top along with some chopped up tomatoes. Stick those suckers in the oven for about 50 minutes and watch carefully. The 50 minutes gave me enough time to clean (ew) and write this post (yay).

She's beautiful!; I feel like a proud mother. It's so funny how a meal can take over an hour to prepare but only minutes to eat; this was definitely worth the preparation though. It was really fresh, organically flavorful and super dooper healthy. Even my dad, whose a "meat & potatoes-kinda-guy," liked it...now that's saying something.

Bon Appetit, y'all.



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