Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant w/ a Middle Eastern Twist

Every Friday I head to the Farm at lunch to pick up my local CSA Farm Share.  The upside is that I constantly have a steady supply of fresh local and yummy produce.

mmm...  fresh veggies! (can you see my purple pepper?!)

The down side is I usually have more veggies than the 2 of us at our apartment know what to do with!

The majority of the greens I use in my smoothies.

But what is a foodie to do with enough eggplants & peppers for a small family?

If you said, stuff and roast them, then you sir/madam are CORRECT!

I tweaked my classic stuff pepper recipe to be more middle eastern.  Wherever I would usually add basil or oregano I substituted cinnamon, sumac, nutmeg and cardamon.

Instead of tomatoes and cheese I mixed in dried fruit, mint and parsley 
Pilaf Rice with assorted spices, onion, pepper, eggplant, mint & parsley

Previously mentioned spices
I roasted the eggplant for about 20 minutes while I was preparing the filling.  Then I added the roasted eggplant to the filling.  I filled one medium size eggplant (halved) and two medium size peppers with the filling.

I roasted this at 400* for about 25 minutes (till the peppers are soft).  About 5 minutes before it was done I topped with a bit of cheese.
mmmm... cheeese!

This dish was perfect!  It was filling, healthy and a great vegetarian option if you or someone you are cooking for are new to the world of meatless dinners.

Side note, I ate one 1/2 of an eggplant for dinner and was stuffed.  The pepper was a perfect leftover dinner the following night.  I might actually say that the dish was better the second day because all the flavors from the cinnamon and fruit had combined with the onions and eggplant perfectly!

I am very proud of this creation and can totally see myself making this again and even tweaking it to add other fruit/veggies/spices.

Stuffed Eggplant: Middle Eastern Style

1 med eggplant
1 box pilaf
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 gloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sumac
lemon zest of 1 lemon
1/8tsp cardamon
1/8tsp chili powder
1/3c diced mint
1/3c diced parsley
1/3cup dried fruit (I used a TJs mix of raisins and cranberry)
splash of olive oil

Roast eggplant in half till center is soft and roasted.  While that is roasting, prepare pilaf per directions (do not add the spice pouch though).  In a bowl combine onion, spices, mint, parsley, dried fruit and olive oil.  When done, add in rice and roasted eggplant.  Mix together well.  Add filling to eggplant shells (and peppers if using).

Roast in oven at 375* for 25-30 minutes.