When we first moved to our current apartment, we had a lovely 70 year old French Tunisian woman as our next door neighbor. We'd sit and talk for many hours, and surprisingly, despite having lived through very different times (she shared with me her experience living during World War 2 in Tunisia), we had enough in common that we had what to share with and learn from each other.
We both were into self sufficiency and cooking, and I, eager to learn more traditional recipes from different places in the world, because traditional recipes usually are very flavorful without relying on chemicals to make them that way, asked her to teach me how to cook foods from her home country.
See, neither of us speak the local language all to well, she much more comfortable in French, and myself, more comfortable in English, but we managed to communicate effectively enough for her to open a French Tunisian cookbook and show me some of her favorite recipes. One of those was stuffed eggplant, typically stuffed with meat, but I made mine stuffed with ground seitan. (Yes, that was before I went 100% off gluten.)
She has since moved away, and I don't remember at all what was in her recipe, but the idea of stuffing an eggplant remained in my head. (Before that, I had never even heard of the concept of stuffing an eggplant.)
Recently, I was in the store and saw a whole bunch of eggplants on the reduced rack being sold for pennies, with nothing noticeably wrong with them (other than them being rather oddly shaped, but it could be that its just a different variety.) Obviously I went and bought a bunch.
When trying to figure out something to make with those eggplants, I thought back to my old neighbor and her stuffed Tunisian style eggplants, and I got inspired. Only I didn't remember what Tunisian style spices were, and felt like making it Turkish style. This recipe is with lentils, so it's vegan, frugal, gluten free, and pretty nutritious. Oh, and did I mention quite delicious as well?
3 medium eggplants
1 green pepper
1-2 tablespoons oil
3 cups cooked green/brown lentils
1 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried dill or 3 tablespoons fresh
1 tablespoon dried mint or 3 tablespoons fresh
1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons fresh
1 tablespoon dried cilantro/coriander or 3 tablespoons fresh
1. Cut off the green of the eggplant, then cut in half legthwise.
2. Hollow out the flesh either with a knife, or with an apple corer, making sure to leave the skin intact.
3. Chop the eggplant flesh. Chop an onion.
4. Saute the onion until golden. Add eggplant and saute until soft and browned, adding more oil as necessary.
5. Chop your tomatoes and peppers. Add the sauted onions and eggplant. Add the rest of the ingredients.
6. Lay your hollowed eggplant out on a cooking tray. Fill with the filling, piling it up as necessary. I put the tops of the eggplants near each other, as they were open, so I figured that this way if they spilled over, they'd just spill into the other one instead of on the tray.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered, or until the eggplant and peppers are soft.
8. Let cool a bit, then remove carefully from the tray, and serve.
Are you an eggplant fan?
Have you ever made or eaten stuffed eggplant? What was it filled with? What type of seasoning did it have?
Does this look like something you'd try out?
Linking up to Wellness Weekend, Simple Lives Thursday