Bayou Eggplant Boats

4 medium eggplants
salt for eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, (16 ounces) drained
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
4 cups cooked basmati rice

1. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the flesh, leaving about 1/2 inch on sides and bottom. (Discard flesh or reserve for another use.) Salt the eggplant shells and place in a large colander to drain for about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse eggplant shells and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly brush insides with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and place, cut sides up, in a baking pan(s) with a small amount of water to prevent the eggplant bottoms from scorching. Bake 10 minutes.

3. Brush a non-stick skillet with remaining olive oil, and sauté onion for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another minute. Turn heat to high, add tomatoes, peppers, basil, and hot sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add cooked rice to the skillet, blend, and remove from heat.

4. Fill eggplant boats with rice mixture. Cover pan(s) with loose fitting foil and bake for about thirty minutes, or until eggplants are soft. Makes 8 servings.

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