Lentil Stuffed Eggplant with Olives + Tomatoes
Why we love it:
- 2 Eggplants
- 21⁄2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 11⁄2 cups Green Lentils
- 3 cups Water
- 1⁄2 Onion
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Lemon (zested and juiced)
- 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 cup Kalamata Olives (pitted)
- 3 ounces Blue Cheese (if you used something else for the cobb this week, use it here too)
- 1 head Romaine Lettuce (or arugula)
1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 400 DEGREES
Cut the eggplant in half. With a paring knife, mark an outline of where you’ll scoop out the eggplant to make room for stuffing. You can crosshatch across the flesh to make it easier to remove. Then, use a thin spoon with a sharp edge to scoop out some of the center meat, but take care not to pierce the skin or get too close to it. Leave about a 1/2 inch rim of eggplant flesh in the skin on each half. Repeat with the other halves. Reserve scooped out flesh.
Drizzle each half with some olive oil and season with a pinch of the salt. Place the pieces cut side down on a lined baking sheet and into the oven for 17 minutes. When done, remove and flip them over. They can wait until you’re ready to stuff.
Combine lentils, water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a pot with a lid. Set over high heat and bring it to a boil. When boiling, stir and turn down to medium low. Cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, returning to stir every few minutes. Lentils will be tender but not falling apart. If you have water leftover when they’re tender, you can simply drain it out.
Mince the scooped out eggplant into small pieces. They can be somewhat irregular, we just ran out knife through it like you would when chopping herbs.
Peel the onion and cut it in half. Dice into small cubes.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the rest of the olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons). Add the onion and the chopped eggplant. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the meat into a crumbly texture.
Mince and add the garlic. Add the paprika and black pepper. Continue cooking, turning down the heat to medium or medium low if its browning too much.
5. TOMATOES + OLIVES + CHEESE
Cut the tomatoes in half. Add them to the pan with the filling. Zest the lemon into the pan, then squeeze in the lemon juice too. Add the remaining salt (about 1 teaspoon).
Cut the olives in half and set them aside.
Dice or crumble the cheese, set aside.
Very thinly shred the romaine. Wash and dry it well. Set aside for serving.
When the lentils are tender, stir then into the filling mixture - whether that means in the sauté pan, or placing the filling mixture in the pot with the lentils is up to you! Combine into the space that has room to stir, if neither do, place both in a separate bowl.
Add the olives and cheese, stir well.
Remove the eggplant from the oven, if you haven’t already. Use a ½ cup scoop and evenly press the mixture into the eggplant shells. Mound the filling as needed to get everything to fit.
Divide the lettuce among plates to make a bed for the eggplant. If you’re serving them immediately after stuffing, you don’t need to return them to the oven, and they’re actually wonderful at room temperature too. Place an eggplant on each plate.
Optional Toppings - drizzle the plate with olive oil, and/or hot sauce (sriracha), OR with high quality tahini, or with yogurt.