Eggplant was the gateway vegetable when I started my almost year stint as eating strictly vegan. I remember being at the produce market in Istanbul, Turkey and there being an abundance of eggplant, zucchini and tomato. These were pretty much the most popular “in-season” veggies I could find while I was living there. Because I had to be creative with the available produce, I started to experiment and develop the cooking skills that now allows me to create all of these plant-based recipes.
Ever since my stay in Istanbul, eggplant has been a staple in my diet. It’s a vegetable that’s definitely hearty and doesn’t have any properties in it that makes you feel bloated. For those who eat primarily a plant-based diet, it’s a veggie that can act as the main entree. Some folks think that it almost has a “meat” type of texture when cooked properly.
From a nutritional standpoint eggplant is rich in: antioxidants to fight free radicals, fiber to keep you full and promote healthy digestion, minerals like potassium and magnesium, and vitamins like A, B and C. The other veggies that I’m throwing in here as the filling are also very antioxidant rich and nutrient dense. You’ll be getting cancer fighting antioxidants from the tomatoes, hydration from the zucchini, selenium and immune boosting minerals from the mushrooms, and healthy amounts of fiber from them all. The almonds added on top will also give you Vitamin E for beautiful hair, skin and nails. Yass. Let’s get to the recipe:
Plant-Based Mediterranean Stuffed Eggplant
- 1 medium sized eggplant
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 zucchini
- 1 8oz package of crimini mushrooms
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tbsp parsley leaves, dried
- 1 can of diced tomatoes no salt added
- 1 tbsp of mint leaves, dried
- 1 handful of fresh mint leaves
- pinch of white pepper
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- sprinkle of pink himalayan salt
- handful of slivered almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the eggplant in half length wise and scoop out the inside of the eggplant. Set aside the scooped out eggplant.
- In a baking dish, pour 1/2 cup of water in and set the eggplant shells in the dish. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven.
- Once the eggplant shell is placed in the oven, take out a pot, place it on the stove. Chop up all of these ingredients to create the filling: white onion, garlic cloves, zuchhini, mushrooms, red pepper and the eggplant flesh.
- Drizzle the pot with about 2 tbsp of olive oil, turn the stove on to medium heat, and add all of the chopped vegetables into the pot. Open the can of tomatoes and add them to the pot. Stir on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Take the eggplant shells out of the oven, do not turn off the oven.
- Add these seasonings to the pot: parsley, mint, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper, turmeric. Add the rest of the olive oil to the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the filling to the eggplant shells, and place back into the oven for about 10-15 minutes.
- Once the shell is lightly browned, take the eggplants out of the oven. Top the eggplant with the slivered almonds and mint leaves. Serve and enjoy!