We love eggplants, no matter how they are prepared! Using fresh ingredients when making these stuffed eggplants are the secrets to giving them a lot of flavor. The fresh basil and fresh ripe tomatoes give a sweetness to them, while it balances some of the saltiness from the pecorino cheese on top.
Eggplants are in abundance now, inexpensive too (3 for $1 at the farmer's market). However, we found a package containing 5 mini eggplants there and decided to stuff them. We made these the other night for meatless Monday and I thought they were perfect with a green salad next to them.
A great recipe - easy to make, delicious to eat, served warm or at room temperature, they are ideal to serve at a summer BBQ or picnic. Leftover ones taste even better the next day, so prepare to take them to work for lunch!
First, prepare the eggplants by hollowing out each half, then chop the flesh into small pieces and transfer them into a bowl.
Next, transfer the eggplant shells onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with some olive oil and salt. Bake for a few minutes in the oven to soften them before stuffing them.
While the eggplants are in the oven, you can get started with preparing the mixture with which to stuff them. Saute the onions in olive oil along with the fresh tomatoes and basil for a few minutes. Add in the chopped eggplant and sundried tomatoes and continue to cook until the eggplant softens. Stir in some breadcrumbs and remove from stove.
If you are looking for these to be gluten-free? Just omit the breadcrumbs, and maybe add in some cooked quinoa (about 1 cup cooked), will add to the stuffing while adding in some protein.
When you're short for time in the kitchen, you'll be trilled to see how quickly the flesh softens when sauteing on stove top. In fact, it takes the same amount of time as it does for the eggplant shells to soften while they're in the oven. And for me, saving some time is always a good thing. Right?
Next, fill each eggplant shell evenly with mixture. Sprinkle some grated pecorino cheese on top and return them back into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes more. When the eggplants are tender and golden brown, there ready! Remove, and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.
These simple, savory and delicious stuffed mini eggplants are not heavy or weighed down with a lot of ingredients. Amazingly, they make a perfect size to serve as a side to a main course, and enough for everyone to try at least one.
Stuffed eggplants like these mini ones are fun to make because they cook up so quickly, and you can vary the recipe by adding your favorites to change up the stuffing, like adding in some kalamata olives, capers, and even stuff them with browned chop meat.
If you can't find the package for the mini ones, try looking for the smallest eggplants in the produce section, sometimes they are labeled as "Italian eggplants" which are the same size as these mini ones we found here.
EASY Stuffed Mini Eggplants
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 5 mini Eggplants, rinsed and cord discard
- 1 large Vidalia onion- finely chopped
- 3 ripe plum tomatoes - chopped or pureed
- 2 sundried tomatoes -chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- grated pecorino cheese
- cooking oil spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a large baking dish or sheet with cooking oil and set aside.
Slice each eggplant lengthwise and carefully using a pairing knife to hollow out the flesh with each half, transfer the fresh of the eggplant onto a chopping board, and place each eggplant onto a prepared baking dish. Lightly drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt inside each hollowed eggplant. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. When ready, remove from oven. Set them aside.
In the meantime, chop all the flesh into small pieces, set them aside.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions.
Sauté the onions for a few minutes, until they are softened and translucent.
Next, add the pureed tomatoes, fresh basil and salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Next, stir in the chopped eggplant, and the sundried tomatoes.
Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, until the eggplant is softened and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you feel the eggplant needs a little more moisture, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the mixture in the skillet. Taste the eggplant mixture, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the breadcrumbs. Turn off the heat.
Using a wooden spoon, spoon the stuffing into each eggplant evenly. Sprinkle with grated pecorino cheese over each one.
If you the stuffing seems to be a little dry and needs a little more moisture, simply drizzle some olive oil over the tops of each stuffed eggplant. Return baking dish into the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Yields: 10 stuffed mini eggplants
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Thank you for your condolences and your sweet personal emails about our father's passing. Two months have past with so much going on in our families, I'd like to give you a quick update.
The month of May was a busy one. My Maria graduated from college, while my youngest Lizzy finished her first year in college.
My son's wedding was this past Memorial Day weekend! And, it was an entire weekend of celebrations!
and you know the rest.
Anna and Liz