Although it isn't quite eggplant season, I couldn't resist the voluptuous, aubergine vegetable at my grocery store. This is a great recipe to have on hand during those harvesting months when your garden or farm is bursting with veggies that are ripe for picking.
A quick note about tempeh:
I used tempeh in this dish but it could easily be substituted with a vegan meat of your choice. First I cubed the tempeh, then simmered it in 1 cup water, 1/4 cup red wine, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 tsp thyme for 15 minutes. Once cool, crumble to resemble ground beef.
Vegan Stuffed Eggplant
1 large eggplant, sliced in half and scooped out
1 cup onion, diced
water, as needed*
1 cup red & yellow bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup kale, chopped
1/3 cup pignoli (pine) nuts
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
very small pinch of cinnamon
8 oz tempeh, simmered and crumbled (See above)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 cup + 1 tsp bread crumbs
1/4 Daiya mozzarella
* I don't like to saute in olive oil if I don't have to. I saute in dry pan with a little water added as necessary to keep from burning. It is a wonderful technique if you want to cut down the amount of oil and fat in a recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Slice top off of eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out center but leave enough of the eggplant meat so that it remains sturdy. Save scooped eggplant.
2. Heat a large frying pan over med-high heat and saute onions, adding a little water if necessary for 10 minutes. Add peppers, eggplant, and garlic and cook for another 10 minutes. Add kale and a little water and cook for another 5 minutes. Add pignoli, capers, seasonings and mix well. cook for another 5 minutes. Take off heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, mix filling, tempeh, nutritional yeast, 1/8 cup bread crumbs, and mozzarella. Mix well. The cheese will start to get a little melty from the heat.
4. Stuff those eggplant halves good and plenty! Sprinkle the 1 tsp of bread crumbs on top of each. Either place on an oiled baking sheet or a large, heavy bottom pot. Bake for 50-60 minutes, the bread crumbs will be golden.
This dish is hearty on it's own. It pairs beautifully with a full-bodied red wine like Sangiovese. A side dish of broccoli rabe, sauted in garlic, makes this meal perfetto!
Mangiare e vivere bene!