Lentil & Pesto Stuffed Eggplant

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When I was a kid, eggplant was one of my least favorite vegetables.  Never liked the flavor, texture or dishes that featured it.  Just not my thing.  It took a lot of “convincing” by my mom to actually get me to consume it.  Or it took me sitting at the dinner table for a very extended period of time staring at my eggplant.  Mom usually won that battle…

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stuffedeggplant11 As I got older, I started to make my own recipes with eggplant.  I wanted to like it.  Even so, it did take me awhile to really actually like it.  Now days, I make something with eggplant each week.  Pasta sauces, stir fries, rolled and stuffed with cheese, crispy baked eggplant, eggplant meatballs….anything eggplant!

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My newest dish is THIS awesome stuffed eggplant.  This was such a filling one pot meal.  I loved it!  Stuffed with wheat berries and lentils, this dinner was hearty and kept me full for a long time (perfect for lunch on a busy day!).   I added in some leftover pesto that I had (whipped up a huge batch to freeze for winter) and stirred it through the filling.  Yum!  I think I’d eat pesto flavored anything!

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Make this dish on the weekend and have it ready to go for a quick weeknight dinner.  Or freeze 2 of the halves for later!  Enjoy!

Lentil & Pesto Stuffed Eggplant:
Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced in half length wise
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup pesto (use your favorite kind or try my recipe!)
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Using a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the insides of each eggplant half.  Leave about 1/2″ of flesh in each half.  Save half of the eggplant insides – dicing them into 1/2″ pieces (will be used as part of the filling)
  3. Drizzle the halves with a tablespoon of the olive oil and baked for about 20 minutes.
  4. While eggplant halves cook, start the filling.  Sauté diced onions and eggplant insides in the remaining olive oil over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until translucent.  Add in the garlic.  Sauté for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine – allow alcohol to cook off for about 2 minutes.  Stir in the wheat berries, lentils, salt, pepper, red pepper, juice and zest from lemon.  Taste and adjust for seasonings.  Allow mixture to cool slightly.
  6. Mix in the pesto, sun dried tomatoes and the beaten egg.  Stir quickly to ensure egg doesn’t scramble in the mixture.
  7. Remove eggplant shells from oven and fill each half with filling.  Press the filling into the eggplant using the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle each half with some of the parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake the stuffed eggplants for 30-40 minutes or until filling is heated through and the eggplant shells are fork tender.  Enjoy hot!
  9. Optional yogurt sauce:  1/3 cup non-fat greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, juice from 1 lemon.

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