Middle Eastern Stuffed Eggplant

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Middle Eastern Stuffed Eggplant

I say this about every holiday, but the harvest festival of Sukkot is one of my favorites. All the hearty Fall foods (Apples! Pumpkins!), robust stews, and simple one-pot meals. The tradition of eating stuffed foods is also one I always uphold, mostly because it is a good excuse to make my Bubbe’s famous cabbage rolls. But I also like the symbolism. 

Stuffed food represents the plentiful harvest, and we can get creative stuffing everything from ripe tomatoes to classic peppers to sweet dates. To me, stuffed food also represents a Jewish style of welcoming people into their home. Always with an overabundance of food, where you can eat and eat without ever even making a sizable dent. There is never just a few light appetizers at a Jewish get together, but a full spread.

This year, I stuffed mild Chinese eggplants (they are less bitter than the American variety) with Middle Eastern spiced meat, chickpeas and sweet raisins. This simple dish can be prepared ahead of time and reheated, making it a welcome addition to your gathering. 

This recipe is particularly good with Grow & Behold's kosher pastured Meatball Mix, but you can also use a mix of 1 pound ground veal with 1 pound ground beef. 

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large Chinese eggplants, halved the long way
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ medium onion, diced 
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Fresh cracked black pepper 
  • 1 pound Grow and Behold Meatball Mix (or 1/2 lb ground veal and 1/2 lb ground beef)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 8  ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup yellow raisins 
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas 
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts for garnish

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Spoon eggplant flesh out of each half of the eggplant, leaving a ¼ inch border in the skin. Take the flesh and dice it.

3. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion and garlic with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until eggplant is soft and cooked through and onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.

4. Remove vegetables, and add 1 more tablespoon olive oil. Add meat, water and spices and sauté until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

5. Then add eggplant mixture back in, along with tomato sauce, raisins and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes to meld flavors while stirring. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Place scooped eggplant halves on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Then stuff each one with ¼ of the meat mixture. And bake for another 20 minutes until eggplant is very tender.

7. Squeeze lemon over meat and garnish with pine nuts and mint. Serve warm!