Stuffed Roasted Eggplant

This hearty vegetarian recipe is a bit of a mash-up. Have you ever tried the couscous stuffed tomatoes? I thought the filling from that recipe would be nice in an eggplant. Ding ding ding! Indeed it is. I used regular eggplants but this would also be great with the minis!

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons harissa (see tips)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (see tips for vegan options)
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the eggplant lengthwise right through the stalk. Place the eggplant halves cut side up on the baking sheet. Using a small, sharp knife score the eggplant in a diagonal fashion in one direction, then the other. It should look like a diamond pattern. Brush the olive oil over the surface of the flesh, allowing it to seep in slowly. Once all the olive oil has been absorbed, sprinkle each half liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant halves on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and nicely browned.
  • While the eggplant is roasting, prepare the filling. Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over it, then add the boiling water. Cover the bowl to allow the couscous to soften while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Add the shallot, tomatoes, harissa, yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and most of the basil leaves (save some for garnish). Set aside.
  • When the eggplant halves are roasted, remove them from the oven and scoop out just the tender flesh from the middle. You should be able to remove it easily with a spoon. Mix the eggplant flesh into the filling, using the side of a spoon to break it up a bit. Stir to combine, then stuff each eggplant half with the mixture.
  • Return the eggplant halves to the oven to roast for another 15-20 minutes, until the filling is steaming.
  • To serve, drizzle each eggplant half with olive oil then top with the remaining julienned basil.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Harissa is a spicy mediterranean paste made from tomatoes and peppers. I find it in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods (I like the Cava brand). You can also find it at specialty food stores. It can vary in heat and intensity from one brand to the next, so taste it first to see how much you want to use. If I’m making a dish for the family, I go easy on the harissa. If it’s just for Andy and me, I get a little crazy.
  • 2. We couldn’t decide whether to eat these with a spoon or a fork. I don’t think it matters, actually. The eggplant flesh should pull away from the skin easily, so either will work just fine. Don’t eat the stalk! It’s just for decoration.
  • 3. To make this recipe vegan, substitute cashew cream for the yogurt. The talented Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw assures me this would be a lovely substitute. I’m going to try it next time and report back!

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time: 50 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

2 responses to “Stuffed Roasted Eggplant”

  1. Theresa says:

    What can you substitute if you can find harissa?

    • Alicia says:

      Theresa, try chopping sun dried tomatoes (the oil packed kind) finely, then adding a pinch of crushed red pepper to taste. You’ll get the approximate flavor and heat in the absence of harissa. Good luck and let me know what you think!

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