Eggplant is one of my summer staples when it comes to cooking because it is really versatile and pretty healthy. Eggplants also can be used to create shells that are great for stuffing like a taco. This recipe is using the eggplant’s shell as well as it’s filling for a delicious, healthy summer recipe that features cherry tomatoes that I can never get enough of. Also, this is really for a dinner recipe but if you wanted to serve this as an appetizer is would be great as well, just cut the eggplant once all cooked into bite sized portions!
Required ingredients to serve four people:
– 2 cups lentils
– 3 eggplants (cut in half and scooped out)
– ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
– 1 tbsp. chili powder
– 1 pound cherry tomatoes
– 3 tbsp. minced garlic
– 1 tbsp. light balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 zucchini (chopped
– 1 red pepper (chopped)
– 1/3 cup pesto
– 1/2 cup light Parmesan cheese shredded
– 1 tbsp. Basil leaves
– dash of fresh ground pepper and salt
First step in cooking is always to preheat the oven. This oven temperature should be set to 425 degrees. Take the eggplant and scoop it out fairly close to the skin. Add 1 tsp. olive oil to eat, salt, pepper, divided amounts of cayenne pepper and chili powder to each. Bake in the over for about 35 minutes until it’s soft.
Take the flesh that was scooped out of the eggplant and put in a medium saucepan with olive oil (leave a little bit left for other cooking) and heat. Next, chop in half the cherry tomatoes and add to pan, add minced garlic and balsamic vinegar. Make sure to keep this over low to medium heat and stir often so that nothing sticks to the pan. Add water to this mixture if that happens. Cook until mixture is soft which could be more than 25 minutes. Set aside once cooked.
Take water and put in pan and place lentils on stove, proceed to bring to a boil and let cook until firm.
Next, in a saucepan, add a tsp. of olive oil to pan and heat up to add the zucchini and red pepper to the pan. Next, add this zucchini to already cooked eggplant mixture. Add in cooked lentils.
Then take the eggplant halves that have been removed from the oven and line each with pesto and a thin layer of Parmesan cheese. Fill each with eggplant and lentil mixture. Add rest of pesto on each top of eggplant. Bake in oven all together for about 15 minutes until the pesto crisps, and serve with basil on top!
1. This recipe does take a little time, but it’s really important to cook everything well or it will not taste as good as it can!
2. You can substitute the zucchini and re d pepper for different vegetables if these do not happen to be your favorite. I would stay away from anything that can get to wet like mushrooms.
3. To prep it may be good to cook lentils ahead of time so that you have enough time to drain them.
4. As always, I try and use the light or nonfat versions of everything possible to save calories but the full fat versions work just as well.
5. Before putting the eggplant that is stuffed back into the oven, it’s always a good idea to secure it together with either toothpicks or twine like a turkey.