Growing up I wanted to try eggplant for a long time. I’ve always loved vegetables but was hesitant to try eggplant since my mom always told me how much she hated the smell. She would tell me how she made an eggplant dip for an event once, but just cooking the eggplant smelled so bad that she didn’t want to taste the dip. However, one day we went over to a friend’s house and they made both chicken and eggplant parmesan. Both versions were delicious! Eggplant is tasty and meaty, but with a mild enough flavor to be highly versatile, it’s nothing to be afraid of!
Two months ago when I started my healthy “diet”, it’s really a new lifestyle, I just stocked up on any vegetable I was interested in because I didn’t yet have a plan. At first I would just slice the eggplant, roast it, and eat it with a little meat sauce as a quick meal. However, once I adjusted to my diet a little I wanted to come up with a more complete meal. I came up with this stuffed eggplant one day when I didn’t have the ingredients to make my butternut stuffed bell peppers, and I am extremely happy that I did. My stuffed eggplant is hearty and filling, and really picks up the wonderful Italian flavors from the onions, peppers, garlic, sweet tomatoes, and herbs.
This past weekend I was wanting a nice meal to make, I was running low on food and I wanted something that’s easy yet feels a little special to last me a few days, but also to share with my aunt who would be coming by. I quickly mixed up the filling, and while it was oven I even took a nap. When I woke up lunch was ready and it hardly took any work! It was wonderful to be able to sit at the table and enjoy this with my aunt, who is also on a restrictive healthy diet, and my grandmother even tried some. My mom has yet to try this, yet both her and my sister, Hannah, have commented multiple times about how delicious it smells.
- 2 eggplants
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium bell pepper
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups mini tomatoes
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1lb ground beef
- 2 TBSP sea salt
- 2 TSP Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Dice the pepper and onion, and sautée in a large skillet over medium-low heat with a dash of salt to sweat the onions. Cook until the onions are almost clear, about eight to ten minutes.
- While the onion and pepper are cooking slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. With a large spoon carefully scoop out the "meat" of the eggplant, leaving about 1/4 inch of "meat" around the skin to form the shell to fill with the filling.
- Cube the eggplant "meat" into 1/2 inch cubes, set aside.
- Once the onion and pepper are done add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the eggplant to the skillet along with 1-2 cups of water, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cover with a lid. Once the water comes to a simmer continue to cook it for ten minutes.
- In another skillet brown the ground beef over medium-high heat, until fully cooked.
- Slice the mini tomatoes in half lengthwise.
- With a slotted spoon strain the eggplant mixture out of the skillet and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the beef, tomatoes, sea salt, and Italian seasoning, stir to combine.
- Place the eggplant halves in a 9x13 pan. Scoop the filling into the filling halves.
- Top the pan with aluminum foil, and cook for 45 minutes.