It can be a challenge to eat the recommended five to nine servings of vegetables a day. You’ll get two servings with this mushroom stuffed eggplant recipe. The eggplant is cut in half and the flesh is scooped out leaving a shell. The flesh is seasoned and pan fried with mushrooms and onions then returned to the eggplant shells. Then the whole thing is sprinkled with parmesan cheese and roasted or broiled until the shells soften and the cheese melts.
I have to admit, I didn’t care for eggplant when I was a child. I distinctly remember the fried eggplant my Great Aunt Dell made. It was kind of slimy and tasted greasy and bitter. It was the kind of experience to put a kid off eating vegetables for years. I didn’t have eggplant I wanted to eat until Rick made eggplant parmesan for me.
Eggplants are members of the nightshade family along with peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. You’ll also see them referred to as aubergines (in case you’ve ever wondered what the heck Jaime Oliver was talking about 😀 ). The flesh of the eggplant is widely used in many cuisines from Greek moussaka to Persian mirza ghasemi. The flesh is dense and has a meaty texture and so it’s perfect for vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian recipes.
When choosing eggplant, look for fruit without blemishes and a vibrant color. The eggplant should “give” to a slight squeeze. The skin can be bitter. It’s up to you if you want to peel it or not. For this mushroom stuffed eggplant recipe, I left the skins intact to help the shell keep its shape. For other preparations I’ll roast the eggplant and scoop out the flesh or remove the peel in stripes.
While nutrient dense and low in calories (35 calories per cup!), eggplant will absorb a lot of oil if you’re not careful. It’s common to see recipes recommend salting the eggplant before cooking. This is to help reduce the bitterness and to toughen up the flesh so it won’t absorb as much oil. When frying, use the least amount of oil to get the job done.
If you have a grapefruit spoon you may find it helpful for removing the flesh from a raw eggplant. Cut the eggplant in half and score the flesh with a paring knife and then use a spoon to scrape it out.
After chopping the eggplant bits a little smaller, saute them with seasonings, mushrooms and onions until golden brown.
Rather than heat up the kitchen with the broiler, I roasted the eggplant shells on the grill until the sides softened. It took about 20 minutes.
The mushroom stuffed eggplant recipe I’m going to share is adapted from one found in the book Spain: Authentic Regional Recipes (affiliate link). One half an eggplant is a serving. For tapas, cut each half into four pieces.
- One medium eggplant
- Half a pound of button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- One half medium onion, diced
- One or two garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme (pull the leaves from two or three sprigs…if using dried thyme, use more)
- paprika to taste
- red pepper flake (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the grill.
- Prepare the eggplant as described above.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with the red pepper flake
- Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil with the thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.
- When the onions are soft, add the eggplant and pan fry until golden brown.
- If broiling the stuffed eggplant, preheat the broiler.
- Arrange the shells on a baking sheet or other heat proof vessel.
- Split the eggplant mushroom mixture evenly between the shells and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
- Broil or grill until the shell sides are soft, about 5 – 10 minutes under the broiler, longer on the grill.
Do you like eggplant? What’s your favorite way to eat it?