Eggplant Sandwiches

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1 cup rice, brown, quick cooking, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 eggplant; peeled, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounce tomatoes, canned, whole, chopped (reserve liquid)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper, crushed
4 large pita rounds, cut in half

Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil. Add eggplant and stir-fry until eggplant shrinks, 5 to 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic and stir-fry a few minutes more. Stir in tomatoes, tomato liquid and seasonings. Cover and let simmer until eggplant reaches desired tenderness. Place mixture in a serving bowl. Stir in cooked rice. Fill pita pockets with rice-eggplant mixture. Heat filled pockets in microwave if desired. Serves 4 to 5.

Variation: Omit rice and serve eggplant mixture over thin spaghetti, vermicelli or linguine.

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