One could say that I am on the stuffing kick: I stuffed some peppers, made a Mexican lasagna, which is almost like stuffing corn tortillas, and played around a zucchini moussaka. Perhaps it is time to say enough is enough and move away from stuffing, but I just can’t. Stuffed things are simply too much fun to eat and so simple to make that I can’t let go. Plus, although you may think you’ve reached the point where there’s nothing new to try, a new idea pops into your mind and you simply have to pursue it.
This happened to me the other day when I returned home from grocery shopping with two nice and plump pieces of eggplant in my bag. For me eggplant is one of those vegetables that’s neither here nor there. It’s a bit complicated to make into something great and delicious, especially if you decide not to bread it, fry it, or stuff it with a ton of cheese – Eggplant Parmesan I am looking at you!
To make eggplant ready for stuffing and minimize the amount of oil needed to almost zilch, I decided to roast it first and then stuff it. Roasting does take a bit of time, although not too much as 20-30 minutes at 425 F (220 C) usually does the trick.
Once the eggplant is out of the oven leave it to cool for 10-15 minutes. This makes it much easier to handle as you will need to scoop out the roasted eggplant flash and mix it with the rest of the stuffing. One time saving tip is to cook your quinoa while the eggplant is roasting and cooling. That way both of your key stuffing ingredients will be ready to go. The rest is easy. You need to wash and half some cherry tomatoes, and dice one red onion. Mix everything together with a bit of dried or fresh basil or oregano, freshly ground black pepper, and even some lemon or lime zest to the stuffing. Any, or all, of these work well together!
Once the stuffing is back in the eggplant shells, and the cheese is sprinkled lightly over the top, the dish goes back to the 350 F (175 C) oven for another 15 minutes or so.
Quinoa and Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed Eggplant
What you’ll need:
2 eggplants, large
1 red onion, diced
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1 pint (300 g) cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup vegan cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon dry basil
Black pepper, freshly ground
What you’ll do:
- Pre-heat oven to 425 F (220 C).
- Wash the two pieces of eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Place on the aluminum foil covered baking sheet, crosshatch the surface and spray with a cooking spray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. once the eggplant is out, lower the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C).
- While the eggplant is roasting, prepare quinoa according to the instructions on the box. I usually cook quinoa in water, but you can definitely use vegetable (vegan) stock if you’d like to add a bit extra flavor.
- Once quinoa is fully cooked, transfer into a large mixing bowl. Mix with diced onion and cherry tomatoes that you’ve cut in half lengthwise. Next, scoop out eggplant flash and add to the quinoa stuffing. Lastly, add basil and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
- Spoon a generous amount of stuffing into each eggplant half, spray the top with some cooking spray, and top with shredded cheese. Put the stuffed eggplant back into the oven until the stuffing is heated through, tomatoes cooked, and the cheese melted. This should not take more than 15-20 minutes.
- Serve warm!
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