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Easy Recipe for Stuffed Eggplant in a Gorgeous Tomato Sauce

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Bat-el Perez Sorek – @batia_sorek
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You've been waiting for this easy recipe for stuffed eggplant a looooong time.

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 3 medium eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Beef mixture:

  • 1.1 pound/500 grams ground beef
  • cup parsley, chopped
  • cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon flat salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1 egg

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • cups/400 grams tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • cups/360 milliliters boiling water
  • cup parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place all the beef mixture ingredients in a bowl and knead well with your hands.
  • In a skillet with a little olive oil, sear the eggplant slices on both sides until nicely golden. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with convection. Arrange the eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and lightly greased. Spray a little olive oil over the eggplants. Bake until golden.
  • Place a spoonful of the meat mixture on each eggplant slice, flatten with a spoon, and roll into a spiral.
  • In a pot with olive oil, fry the onions until golden. Add garlic and spices, and fry a little longer. Add the remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Bring to a boil, taste, and adjust seasoning. Add the stuffed eggplants to the sauce with the opening facing down. Cook on low heat for about 40 minutes. During cooking, gently move the pot and, if needed, spoon sauce over the eggplants. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and remove from heat.

MY NOTES

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

Can I use ground chicken or turkey?

Both options are leaner and will result in a lighter dish. Ensure the poultry is well-seasoned, as it can be milder in flavor compared to beef. The cooking time remains the same, but you may need to adjust seasoning to taste. This substitution is perfect for those looking to reduce red meat consumption or try a different flavor profile.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

Can I prepare the meat mixture and eggplants in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the meat mixture and eggplants in advance. Make the meat mixture and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. You can also slice and sear the eggplants, then store them in a separate container in the fridge. When ready to cook, assemble the eggplants with the meat mixture and proceed with the recipe. This preparation method saves time and makes the cooking process more efficient.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

Side dishes to serve with this easy recipe for stuffed eggplant

Side dishes that pair well with this easy recipe for stuffed eggplant are a fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette complements the rich flavors of the dish, or a side of couscous or rice that provides a hearty base to absorb the savory sauce. Roasted vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, or carrots, add a burst of color and additional nutrients. For a Mediterranean touch, consider serving tzatziki or hummus with warm pita bread. Garlic bread or crusty baguette slices are also great for soaking up the sauce. These sides create a balanced, flavorful meal that highlights the stuffed eggplant’s deliciousness.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

Can I freeze the stuffed eggplants after cooking?

Yes, but first allow them to cool completely, then place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. They can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. When ready to eat, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven until warmed through. Freezing makes it convenient to enjoy this dish later without compromising its flavor or texture.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

How long can I store leftovers in the fridge?

Leftover stuffed eggplants can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure they are placed in an airtight container to maintain freshness and prevent odor absorption. When reheating, use the oven or microwave until the eggplants are thoroughly warmed. This helps retain the dish’s texture and flavor. Proper storage and prompt consumption ensure the leftovers remain safe and delicious, providing a convenient meal option for the following days.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

How to make this easy recipe for stuffed eggplant vegetarian

A vegetarian version of this easy recipe for stuffed eggplant is possible and delicious. Substitute the meat mixture with a blend of cooked lentils, chickpeas, or quinoa combined with finely chopped vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, and spinach. Season the mixture with the same herbs and spices for a similar flavor profile. You can also add crumbled feta or ricotta cheese for added richness. Follow the same preparation and cooking steps as the original recipe. This vegetarian version is hearty, nutritious, and perfect for those who prefer a meatless meal while still enjoying the savory stuffed eggplant experience.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

What can I use instead of parsley and cilantro?

If you don’t have parsley and cilantro, you can use other herbs as substitutes. Fresh basil or mint can provide a similar freshness and vibrant flavor. Oregano or thyme, though stronger, can also be used sparingly to add an aromatic touch. Dill offers a unique taste that pairs well with many ingredients in the recipe. Adjust the quantity to match your taste preferences, ensuring the dish remains well-seasoned and flavorful without parsley and cilantro.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Bat-el Perez Sorek – @batia_sorek

Can I use canned tomatoes for the sauce?

Canned tomatoes are convenient and often have a rich flavor, making them a great substitute. Use an equivalent amount (about 14 ounces) of canned diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes. Ensure you adjust the seasoning as canned tomatoes can be slightly saltier. This substitution simplifies the recipe and still results in a delicious, flavorful sauce for your stuffed eggplants.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona
easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

How can I make sure the eggplants are cooked evenly and not soggy?

To ensure the eggplants are cooked evenly and not soggy, slice them uniformly to promote even cooking. Lightly salt the slices and let them sit for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture, then pat them dry with paper towels. When cooking, use a moderate amount of olive oil and cook over medium heat, turning them frequently until golden brown. Alternatively, bake the slices on a parchment-lined tray, ensuring they are spaced out to avoid steaming.

easy recipe for stuffed eggplant
Credit: Alona

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