Check out this delicious paleo-inspired way to enjoy eggplant.
Eggplant (or aubergine) is a fruit and a member of the ‘nightshade’ family. Due to its bulk and texture, eggplant is a popular meat substitute in many vegan and vegetarian dishes. Whilst the raw fruit has a somewhat bitter taste, it becomes tender when cooked and is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for rich flavored dishes.
Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining the sliced fruit (known as “degorging”), to soften it and reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness.
This delicious recipe contains ground beef to give it that high protein paleo edge, however you could substitute the ground beef for ground turkey, or even ‘scrambled’ firm tofu for a vegetarian version.
Whichever way you go, this is a delicious and nutritious dish!
- 2 eggplants
- 2 carrots (120 grams/4 oz)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 50g (5 oz) button mushrooms, diced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed with garlic press
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 15g (1/2 oz) pine nuts
- 300g (10 oz) ground beef (raw weight)
- 1 tbsp oil of choice, plus more for brushing the eggplant. I used coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).
- Slice your eggplants in half lengthwise and brush all over with oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the eggplant is baking, heat your 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large pan and add the onion and cook until translucent over medium to medium/high heat.
- Then add in the garlic and carrots and cook for a minute or two. Then add the red pepper and cook for a few minutes.
- Now add the mushrooms and cook for a minute before adding the tomato. Continue to cook for a few minutes to let the flavors combine and until the vegetables soften.
- Remove to a bowl and stir in the fresh chopped basil and set aside.
- At this point, your eggplants are probably done and you can remove them from the oven to cool a bit while you start on the ground beef.
- Now put the ground beef into the same pan that you used for the vegetables and brown. Add the salt, pepper and dried oregano to it at the end of browning it.
- Add the cooked ground beef to the cooked vegetables and scoop the flesh out of the eggplants and add that in as well. Stir everything up and mix well.
- Spoon the mixture into the scooped out eggplant skins and sprinkle with pine nuts.
- Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes on broil to brown the pine nuts.
- If you tolerate dairy, you could grate some fresh Parmesan over the top after removing from the oven.
You will have left over stuffing that can be used the next day in an omelette or frittata.
Source: Swiss Paleo