I love eggplant. I cannot get enough of the stuff. It’s quite a polarizing vegetable; people either love or hate eggplant. It is just so deliciously silky when roasted or alongside Thai or Chinese vegetables. It gets a nice smoky thing going when you roast it, then you can put it in the food processor with some cumin for a quick eggplant dip.
While eggplants don’t offer overwhelming nutritive benefits (they do pack some antioxidant power and fiber), the are a good source of prebiotics that feed our probiotic bacteria in the gut, aiding in digestion and immune health. They make a great bread substitute too! Slice thinly and pan fry, then use like sandwich bread.
Or make this stuffed eggplant. You won’t regret it– it is SO good. I could not stop eating it. This recipe is chock full of good veggies and protein and is low carb and grain and dairy free. It may not look sexy, but it would be great for a dinner party or to feed a crowd. You can even make the mixture ahead of time and pop them in the oven when ready. You could also make and freeze the mixture for a quick to defrost easy weeknight dinner. All you’d have to do is prep the eggplant, and that takes no time at all. Enjoy!
Paleo Stuffed Eggplant
1 pound grass fed ground beef
2 large eggplants
1 yellow onion
6 garlic cloves
1 bag or bunch or baby spinach
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 jar of no-junk-added pasta sauce
oregano, thyme, basil, sea salt, pepper
Prep the veggies: dice the onion and garlic, or chop them in the food processor to save time, or because you’re lazy like I am. Slice mushrooms thinly; wash and de-stem spinach if not using organic bagged spinach, which I used, because I’m lazy. Slice the eggplants lengthwise and scoop out the innards, leaving a nice boat. Put innards in food processor and process til you have about 2 cups full. You of course can chop finely if you don’t have a food processor. But if you don’t have a food processor, seriously, get one. It is the most used and best time saving tool in my kitchen.
Coat insides of eggplant boats with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place the boats on a foil or parchment covered cookie sheet, and preheat oven to 350. Set aside.
Coat a cast iron skillet with olive oil or coconut oil, and toss in onion and eggplant. Add 1 tsp sea salt and pepper to taste, and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, and add whatever seasoning profile you like: Italian spice blend, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper for some bite, basil. Cook for a couple more minutes, then add ground beef. Cook until it’s not longer pink, then add jar of tomato sauce. You of course can make this from scratch too, but I didn’t because I’m lazy. It’s easy to find preservative and junk free fancy pasta sauce for cheap at the little market down the block from me.
Turn down to simmer and let the flavors meld for about 10 minutes. Add a splash of red wine if you’re drinking it while you cook, like I do. I also add extra garlic powder because I am crazy for garlic. Meanwhile while that’s melding, melt some butter in another skillet and sautee mushrooms til soft, then throw in spinach. Let that cook down, and when it’s ready, add it to the beef mixture and stir everything together and let it all simmer a couple minutes. Taste to correct seasonings. It will look like this:
Stuff the eggplant boats with the mixture, evenly divided between the four boats. Pack the mixture in so it’s pretty solid. They will look nice and ready for the oven.
Put them in the oven and let them cook for 50 minutes to an hour. They’re ready when they are slightly browned and eggplant is soft. You could take them out at 40 minutes and sprinkle with parmesan, then put them under the broiler for about 10 minutes so they get a nice melty cheesy crust on top. I didn’t do that because I like to deprive myself. Just kidding (not really); I can’t have cow’s dairy, so I stick to sheep and goat.
When they’re finished, plate them. They look delicious!
I sprinkled mine with sheep’s feta because that’s what I had on hand. It was so good that I devoured it ALL in like 10 minutes. So much for eating slowly 🙁 The leftovers were even better the next day.