Baked Eggplant stuffed with Couscous

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Lately, eggplant’s been at the top of my vegetables crush list. Seriously though. I don’t know why I love it so much, but I can eat it three times a day. Ok, maybe not for breakfast. But definitely for lunch and dinner. I use it in sauces, stews, dips or even just on its own, and I never get tired of it. This time though, I chose to stuff it with a delicious couscous mixture. It turned out to be an ideal dish for dinner. Stuffed vegetables appeal to me because they can be transformed in many ways. The combinations of grains, meat or stuffing with their tender roasted flesh always make for satisfying and diverse meals. Here, the paired eggplant and couscous offer you plenty of good nutrients in a tasty fashion. Bon appétit!

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Recipe inspired by Dishing up the Dirt


Prep time: 40 min 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 eggplant
  • 1/4 yellow onion (diced)
  • 1/3 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup zucchini (chopped very finely)
  • crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • chopped parsley (optional)
  • olive oil

Spicy lemon-yogurt sauce:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice and zest
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • drizzle of sriracha
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scoop (and save) the seeds out of your eggplant half, leaving about a 1/2in border, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast flesh-down for about 30 minutes.
  2. As the eggplant roasts, make the lemon-yogurt sauce by mixing the lemon juice and zest with yogurt, water, salt, pepper and a splash of sriracha.
  3. To cook the couscous, bring 1/3 cup water with 3/4 tbsp of butter to a boil. Cut the heat and add the dried couscous, stir well, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then fluff it up with a fork (timing instructions may vary depending on the type of grain).
  4. Meanwhile, sauté the onions with olive oil, on high heat, in a small pot for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water and let it evaporate to further soften the onions. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and diced zucchini, and cook for about 5 more minutes on medium heat.
  5. Once the couscous is ready, add it to the pot and stir well so that all the ingredients are well incorporated. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and crumbled feta and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Once the eggplant is fully roasted, scoop the couscous mixture in it. Drizzle with the spicy lemon-yogurt sauce and eat with a spoon!

TIP: you can substitute lentils or quinoa for the couscous if you don’t have any on hand.

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Linguine with a “Cream” of Eggplant

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Before I dive in, I’d like to clarify something: there’s actually no cream in this recipe. Only a small dollop of plain yogurt. Yet, the sauce has an inexplicable creamy texture to it. I’m not sure where it comes from, but when you mix the ingredients in the food processor, the sauce becomes extremely smooth. So you basically get a guilt-free creamy sauce, which is really all that matters. Though this dish doesn’t look like much, it tastes amazing! The sauce nicely balances the taste of the eggplant, the garlic and the lemon, to make a whole pot of goodness. You can also make it without the yogurt but I find that it helps to balance the tastes. Don’t be scared if this recipe is totally different from all the pasta sauces you’ve ever tried before, it’s still oh so good. Bon appétit!

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Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 100g linguine pasta
  • 1/4 small eggplant (cut in a wedge)
  • 1/4 small garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp plain yogurt
  • salt, pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drizzle the eggplant wedge with olive oil and roast it until the flesh is tender (about 20 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile bring salted water to a boil in a large pot, and cook the pasta for the time written on the packaging (mine takes about 10 minutes).
  3. Once the eggplant is roasted, scoop the flesh out, put it in a food processor, and mix it well with the lemon juice, the yogurt, the olive oil, the garlic and up to 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  4. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot, toss with the “cream” of eggplant, season to taste, and top with parmesan cheese and sliced almonds.