Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant

Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant

This is really meaty for a vegetarian dish.  I’ve been doing a lot of meatless stuff lately, and while I could never become a true vegetarian because I want the option of meatloaf or chicken wings sometimes, the less meat I eat, the less I want, and the less the texture appeals to me. 

IMG_7237.jpgThis eggplant is vegetarian, but you’d almost never know it.  Eggplant is a meaty vegetable anyway, and so are mushrooms.  Plus there are olives, Worcestershire sauce (my secret ingredient), and Calabrian chile paste (my other secret ingredient).  I haven’t been using cream cheese very often lately because I haven’t been doing casseroles or stuffed things, in general, but I feel like with stuffed things, cream cheese makes a huge difference.  It doesn’t do a lot for flavor, but it has a good texture, and it helps hold everything together.  If you want to be fancy, you can use mascarpone instead.

I made the filling and assembled everything one day and baked it the next because I love doing things ahead of time, if possible. 

 

Total Time: 90 minutes

Serves:  2

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 eggplant, cut in half lengthwise

8 ounces cremini mushrooms

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 ice cube

1 tablespoon Calabrian chile paste

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted (about 12) and minced

4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese

2 ounces crumbled feta

½ cherry tomatoes, halved

Freshly torn basil

 

Method

  1. Scoop the middle out of the halved eggplant, leaving between ½ and ¾ inch around the edges so they don’t fall apart. Put the eggplant halves in a casserole dish, and set aside.
  2. Finely chop both the eggplant filling and the cremini mushrooms.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the minced eggplant, mushrooms, dried oregano, granulated garlic, and onion powder.
  5. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the ice cube, cover, and continue to cool for another 5-6 minutes.
  6. Uncover, and add the chile paste, Worcestershire sauce, and kalamata olives. Stir everything together and cook until any excess liquid has evaporated.
  7. Remove from heat, and stir in the cream cheese until completely melted.
  8. Fold in the crumbled feta and halved cherry tomatoes.
  9. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Evenly distribute the filling between the 2 eggplant halves.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the eggplant halves are completely cooked through.
  12. Top with freshly torn basil, and serve immediately.