When I was a kid, August always meant an abundance of eggplant dishes at dinner table. That is when eggplant is in season in Ukraine and we better “stock up” our bodies with potassium because you won’t get it for another 11 months. There was no bananas which explains why 16 years later after immigration and I still can’t stop eating them. My favourite fruit ever!
Anyways, traditional Ukrainian eggplant dishes consisted of panfried eggplant rounds dipped in flour, garlic, salt and pepper. Or the same rounds without flour but layered with mayo and tomato slices. Eggplant “caviar” was another popular dish. You bake a whole eggplant and then mash with garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Some people also panfried cubed eggplant and onions, then combined with mayo, garlic, salt and pepper.
My mom also made a killer marinated eggplant with shredded carrots, cilantro and garlic. I recently re-made it i to a salad and it was delicious.
So, as you can see we didn’t eat eggplant in the healthiest way but we ate it! And we weren’t as sick as Americans are today. We ate a ton of vegetables and garlic, obviously. I love garlic! I realized I do not have many eggplant dishes on iFOODreal because they are not popular among North Americans. Screw that! Let’s make eggplant pizza, eggplant vindaloo curry, and eggplant marinara.
I also said “Screw that” to kids not eating eggplant. Yes, my kids poked it first few times but now they lick the plates. Especially, this stuffed with quinoa and cheese on top eggplant. Man, there was no questions at the table “What is this?!”. As far as I am concerned, I’m the parent and decide what my kids eat. Don’t like my food – go to bed hungry. It works like a charm. Good old school parenting is up my alley because it works. And yes, they wen’t to bed hungry a few times, maybe 2. Not more because it is not fun to fall asleep hungry.:)
Also, eggplant is the meatiest substitute for meat. It is like a sponge and absorbs flavours easily. So does it absorb salt and oil like crazy so do not add a lot of those in the beginning stages of cooking.
The way I cook eggplants they are never bitter. I do not soak or peel them. That is not necessary at all.
Look, how can you not like this meaty, juicy stuffed with all Tex Mex possible flavours vegetable?! In fact, I realized some time ago that if we want to eat more vegetables and keep it clean, I have to get more creative while grocery shopping. Salads and smoothies are good but they won’t keep you full long.
So, my recent rule of thumb is to buy hearty vegetables like squash, potatoes and eggplant so I can create a meal out of them. Stuff, stew, soup etc. Anything that fills bellies in a healthy way. I usually worry what I will do with it later, to be honest. I SUCK at meal planning. I SUCK! My brain is exploding between what 4 of us will eat daily and what is cooked for the blog. So, I just go with the flow and it works so far.
So, this quinoa stuffed eggplant recipe is not exactly quick but fairly simple. To me, there is a certain comfort in chopping ingredients and then stirring them in a pot. Kind of orgasmic. Overall, cooking is compared to sex for me. On a list with skiing, drinking wine and traveling.
This is all you have to do with the quinoa stuffed eggplant. Just cut and scoop out. Seriously, don’t be afraid and get an eggplant yourself and follow my recipe. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so why not have this healthy quinoa stuffed eggplant instead of a steak?! Plus Valentine’s falls on Sunday this year, so you can have a lovely day of cooking and celebrating. Hopefully with no rush hush or whatever you call it.
Have a terrific weekend! I’m contemplating between skiing and exploring a new provincial park high in the mountains nearby.
- 3 large eggplants
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp seeded jalapeño, minced*
- 1 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
- 1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 cup vegetable broth, low sodium
- 1 cup corn, frozen
- 14 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp taco seasoning, divided
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 3/4 tsp himalayan pink salt**
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup strained tomatoes, divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup Marble cheese, shredded***
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Cut around the inside edge with a paring knife to separate the flesh from the skin. Scoop out the flesh and roughly chop. Set aside.
- Preheat medium pot on low-medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño; sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped eggplant, stir and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring once.
- Add quinoa, broth, corn, beans, 1 tbsp taco seasoning, cumin, salt, black pepper and 1/2 cup strained tomatoes. Stir well, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 2 large baking dishes with cooking spray. Mix remaining 1/2 cup strained tomatoes with 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp taco seasoning. Pour into the bottom of both dishes and lay eggplant shells on top. Divide cooked filling evenly among the shells and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered. Remove for the oven and serve hot.
*Leave seeds for more heat or use more to taste. **Use less salt if using canned beans. I used cooked without salt. ***Any making sense hard cheese works.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving = 1 eggplant half:
Total Fat: 9.7 g
Cholesterol: 20.0 mg
Sodium: 380.3 mg
Total Carbs: 42.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.4 g
Protein: 13.0 g
WW Points+: 7