I am huge fan of comfort food during the chilly months of the year. I have found that most of the common comfort cuisine leaves me with a huge rock in my stomach and the feeling that I better hike 12 miles the following day just to attempt burning half the meal off. Can comfort food be made healthy or can healthy food be comforting? The chilly winter months and the desire to satisfy both my stomach and my pallet drove me to make this happen. And my vegan stuffed eggplant was born.
The first time I had stuffed eggplant was in college. My first few bites and I was in heaven. The delicious mixture of ground beef, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, and mozzarella cheese gave my belly its winter time satisfaction.
I took those similar tastes and developed a vegan/vegetarian version that could take me on that same delicious experience but not leave me with a stomach ache and feelings of regret.
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1 ½ c cooked lentils
- 1 lrg eggplant
- 1 ½ c chopped tomatoes
- 1 ½ c chopped broccoli
- 1 shallot; diced
- 1 c crumbled goat cheese/reduced fat shredded mozzarella/shredded vegan cheese
- Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375degrees.
- In skillet heat, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, and shallot on medium until shallot has begun to soften (3-5mins).
- Add in broccoli to the skillet, reduce heat to low.
- While broccoli is cooking, core the eggplant. It is easiest to first slice off the ends, cut it in half length wise and using a small paring knife and spoon remove the inside of the eggplant. Chop the eggplant meat.
- Add tomatoes, eggplant meat, basil and oregano to the skillet. Mix thoroughly. Cover and cook 5-10 minutes, until broccoli and eggplant meat have cooked down.
- Add in lentils and sauce cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil onto the pan and 1 tbsp in the shells of the eggplant. Sprinkle crack black pepper and sea salt in the eggplant shells.
- Take the prepared filling and stuff the eggplant shells.
- Cover loosely and cook 30 minutes.
- Increase the heat to 400, remove the foil and layer each eggplant half with cheese of choice (you can also skip the cheese; just as yummy!) cook for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggplant shell has begun to soften.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!!
This recipe is success of my quest to keep food experiences delicious and comforting but still healthy!