One of our New Years Resolutions this year was to learn how to cook more delicious vegetarian dishes! This Loaded Eggplant is a slight variant on a family classic that we have made for years, but instead of featuring beef, we have substituted it for lentils!
This recipe is vegan - and gluten free (and still so satisfying and full of flavor). The perfect addition to any dinner party, this easy to follow recipe will help you to create the next crowd pleaser.
Not only is this recipe delicious, it’s also loaded with our favorite healthy toppings; mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers and lentils. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring!
We love to cook with lentils, as they are packed with nutrients and are so versatile. When we match it with eggplant, perfection.
As always, we’ll be using a high quality olive oil (like The Governor) to add to the health benefits of the dish. How? You might ask. Learn more about the scientifically proven advantages of extra virgin olive oil here.
This healthy Loaded Eggplant is the best way to spice up your average dinner and sneak in a few more veggies. Paired with a creamy and zingy Tahini sauce, this hearty dish will be a hit for vegetarians and meat lovers alike!
2 medium eggplants
1 cup brown or green lentils
3 cups vegetable broth or salted water
5 tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup shallots, minced
⅓ cup fennel, chopped finely
2 tsp minced garlic
1/3 cup mushrooms of any type ½ diced
1/3 cup carrot (¼” diced)
1/3 cup red or green bell pepper (¼” diced)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (¼” diced)
4 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cumin
1/3 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
½ cup tahini
½ cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 F
Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and using a pairing knife remove or scoop out about 2/3 of the eggplant flesh, leaving a ½”-1” layer of "boats".
Sprinkle boats with salt and let stand for 15 minutes to degorge (extract the bitter water).
Cut the scooped out eggplant flesh into ½ dice, sprinkle with salt and place in a strainer for 15 minutes to degorge, then squeeze out all water.
Cook lentils in water or vegetable broth until they are starting to soft. Remove and drain
After 15 minutes, squeeze excess liquid out of eggplant boats, brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, and roast in oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat 4 spoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and fennel and saute 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and continue browning for 2-3 minutes
Add peppers, carrots, mushrooms, and squeezed eggplant flesh and continue cooking till all vegetables are soft.
Add spices, half the cilantro, and chopped walnuts and another spoon of olive oil. Keep cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Add white wine, let sizzle while stirring the veggies, and reducing for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside
Fill eggplant boats with most of the most of the lentil mixture. Return to oven and roast for 5 additional minutes to allow flavors to meld
Meanwhile, whisk Tahini with lemon juice, olive oil, water, and crushed garlic for the sauce
Remove from oven, top boats with the rest of the mixture. Drizzle Tahini on top and sprinkle chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.