Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easy and delicious vegetarian!

One of my favorite go-to Foods for easy vegetarian dishes is eggplant - its hearty and really goes well with a variety of flavors. a couple of years ago I stumbled upon a recipe for stuffed eggplant - made with meat of course, which I don't eat. But it Is pretty simple to take a carnivores recipe and make it into a vegetarian one, you just have to make sure to substitute something hearty in to replace the meat, to maintain measurements and textures.

I stumbled upon this recipe for stuffed eggplant a couple of years ago and it has become one of my favorite ways to prepare eggplant - with a few notable alterations:

For one, I typically add in either soy "meat" crumbles or sautéed mushrooms in to keep the texture the same, and I also usually used either couscous or another grain blend - this time I used Trader Joe's Harvest grain blend instead of breadcrumbs - I cook up about 2 cups of it and mix it in with the rest of the stuffing ingredients.


The result is a flavorful, hearty meal that in my opinion, is a prime example of why you DON'T need to center your meals around meat.

Stuffed Eggplant

1 medium to large sized eggplant, halved
1-2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 eight ounce package of fresh mushrooms, I like baby Bella's, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil or 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite seasoning blend
2 cups cooked couscous or other grain blend
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
Grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

Scoop out the center of each eggplant half, leaving about a half inch of flesh and chopping the scooped out eggplant for use in the stuffing. Place the hollowed out eggplant haves skin side down on a greased baking sheet.

Melt the butter or oil in a nonstick pan, then add in the onions, peppers, garlic and mushrooms - sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the eggplant and sauté for another few minutes, until the eggplant is tender. Add in the chopped basil or seasoning blend (add more or less to taste).

Stir in the couscous or grain blend, and if desired, you can also stir in about 1/4 to 1/2cup of grated cheese. Add salt and pepper to your stuffing to taste. Stuff your eggplant halves, and then carefully top with the diced tomatoes. Top with grated cheese, if desired.

Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees, until the eggplant is tender. Let cool briefly before serving.

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