Stuffed Roasted Eggplant with Feta Cheese

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2 medium (about 12 ounces each) Italian eggplants, halved lengthwise (do not trim)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup cooked long- or medium-grain white or brown rice, cooked couscous or bulgur or cooked orzo or other small pasta
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled mild feta cheese
1/4 cup drained oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes in 1/4-inch dice
8 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush cut side of eggplant with half of the olive oil. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Roast eggplant until semi-tender and cut side is golden, about 20 minutes. Cool.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and red bell pepper and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Add rice, couscous, bulgur or pasta and stir until blended.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the tender flesh from eggplant, leaving about 1/4 inch of eggplant attached to the skin. Chop the flesh. To stuffing mixture add chopped eggplant, feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, if using, parsley and oregano. Stir to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Arrange eggplant shells in baking dish. Carefully fill shells with the stuffing, pressing down lightly and then mounding the tops. If there is extra filling, spoon it around the eggplant.

Roast eggplant until heated through and tops are golden, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

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