Baked Eggplant with Savory Cheese Stuffing Eggplant

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2 medium eggplants, each cut in half lengthwise (about 2 pounds)
cooking spray
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped seeded plum tomato
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Score cut side of each eggplant half by making 4 crosswise cuts. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; cool on pan 10 minutes. Carefully remove pulp, leaving a 1/3-inch-thick shell; reserve eggplant shells. Chop pulp.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Drizzle the breadcrumbs with olive oil, and pulse to combine.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, oregano, and garlic; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, parsley, salt, and black pepper.

Stuff each eggplant shell with about 1/2 cup onion mixture; sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed eggplant half).

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