Eggplant is the poor man’s meat in the Middle East, but when you serve it stuffed with good local cheese and sweet cherry tomatoes, it’s a luxury. We also do a variation on eggplant Parmesan, here.
This recipe is different in that the eggplants are simmered whole in water before filling and baking, rather than being baked beforehand. This results in a soft, rather than chunky filling. In handling the hot eggplants, take care not to crack or pierce the skins.
Pair two stuffed eggplant halves per person with plenty of salad and a basket of crusty bread, and you have a delicious, light, vegetarian meal.
Eggplant Stuffed With Cheese And Tomatoes
8 servings – enough for 4 people, or 8 appetizers
4 large, whole and unpeeled eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 mixed yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup grated cheese of choice (recommended: mozzarella, feta, or kashkeval)
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Olive oil for drizzling
Putting it all together
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
Have ready a large pot (or two, if the eggplants don’t fit into one). Place the whole eggplants in the pot and cover with room-temperature water.
Bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and cook the eggplants 10 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
Carefully lift the eggplants out. Drain them in a colander and set them on a platter to cool.
While the eggplants are cooling, fry the onions and halved cherry tomatoes in the olive oil until the onions are wilted and the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled. Add the chopped garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Slice each eggplant in half horizontally, leaving the stem on.
With a spoon, remove the flesh from the eggplants.
Place the eggplant shells on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Chop the flesh and add it to the skillet with the onions and tomatoes.
Put the skillet back on medium heat and stir the vegetables. Add the cheese, chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. If using a salty feta, you may not need to add much salt.
Cook and stir another few minutes, just enough to mix everything.
Fill the eggplant halves with the eggplant mixture. Pile it up.
Sprinkle each eggplant half with pine nuts.
Drizzle a little more olive oil over the filling.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Serve hot, and enjoy!
More Middle Eastern Recipes? Try:
Want some more Middle East recipes? Those good for lazy vegewarians?
If you like it more traditional, stick to our baba ganoush recipe here