Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

This meal was originally a recipe out of Cooking Light but I found it more confusing then it had to be so I changed some things to make it more practical for a weeknight meal.  Eggplant is a good option for a vegetarian because it provides more of a “meaty” texture then other vegetables.  I find it leaves me more full then say, a salad.  It is also naturally low-fat, low-sodium and has plentiful fiber…what a perfect heart healthy food!  The fat you see reflected in the nutrition facts is from the hummus and olive oil, not the eggplant.  I would encourage everyone to try to include at least one vegetarian meal a week.  The power of plant based diets is really incredible from the research I’ve seen in my (student) “career” so far.

In the original recipe, tahini was used everywhere that I mention the hummus below.  I didn’t find it practical to spend $7 on a bottle of tahini for such a little amount, but if tahini is on hand and you’re not a hummus fan, feel free to sub it back in.

One other thing I wanted to mention for anyone newly reading.  Due to my hectic school-clinic-part time job(s) schedule, I am only able to post twice a week.  It will always be Mondays and Thursdays, with variations in the time.  I hope once I am a practicing dietitian (come May 2013!), I will have more time to experiment in the kitchen. Thanks for reading! :)

Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant- adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 4

Sauce:

3 tbsp. warm water

2 tbsp. roasted garlic hummus

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Eggplant:

2 medium eggplants

cooking spray

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup chopped white onion

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (I crumbled up two pieces of whole wheat bread and added to food processor)

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1 tbsp. roasted garlic hummus

2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

2 eggs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (15 oz) can no-salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 medium beefsteak tomato, diced

Instructions:

  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl, whisk and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 475.
  3. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and cut visible flesh into a crosshatch pattern but leave intact.  Place the eggplant halves, cut side down onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 475 for 7 minutes until slightly tender and browned.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine 1/2 tsp. salt, onion, and next 11 ingredients (through chick peas) into a food processor.  Set aside before processing (see next step).
  5. Once eggplant has cooled, scoop out the pulp.  Take the pulp from two of the four eggplants and add to the food processor mixture, process  until smooth.  Discard pulp from other two eggplants or save for another purpose.
  6. Spoon enough chickpea mixture to fill the shell of each eggplant half.  Amounts will vary depending on size of eggplants.  *Note: you may have excess filling
  7. Bake at 475 for 25 minutes or until eggplant is tender and chickpea mixture is lightly browned.
  8. Remove eggplant halves from the oven, top each with 1.5 tbsp. of sauce and 1/4 of diced tomato.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 264 calories*, 7.4g fat (1.4g saturated fat), 43g carbohydrate (9.6g fiber), 11g protein.

*This recipe alone is low in calories and will probably leave your belly rumbling so be sure to incorporate a side dish.  I had it with a mixed greens salad as I do with most of my meals to ensure I get my vegetable servings in for the day.

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