I can’t recall when I first starting eating and cooking eggplant – but it’s been a very long time - as I remember my Mom using it in different recipes whilst growing up. There are some debates as to where this purple beauty emerged – was it India or China? Chinese scroll records dating from the 5th century show that ladies made a black dye out of eggplants. The dye was spread on their teeth and polished until their teeth would shine like silver. However, we really have to thank the Arab traders for spreading eggplant into the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Europeans and Africans then carried eggplants with them to the Americas. Today, China, India, Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia are the top leading growers of eggplant. Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber along with a host of vitamins and minerals. Check out 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet for their take on the health benefits of this nightshade veggie.
adapted from Bella Sun Luci
4 medium eggplants
1 cup of cooked rice
1/2 lb. ground turkey or your favorite ground meat
8.5 oz. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup pesto
Preheat oven to 180c (350f). Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and cut out the pulp leaving a small edge around the eggplant. Salt inside of eggplant cases. Combine onion, garlic, turkey, salt and pepper and basil. Sauté until browned, drain any excess liquid and remove from heat. Add cooked rice, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto; mix to combine. Arrange eggplant cases in a shallow baking dish coated with olive oil and spoon in mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Use the eggplant meat in other dishes such as: meat and eggplant jambalaya, lamb and eggplant stew, Greek eggplant & meat pie. It’s important to make sure the eggplant cases are thin enough to hold the stuffing otherwise a thicker casing will be tougher to eat (lesson learned!) unless you increase the cooking time. Lovely flavors and so Mediterranean-tasting with the herbs and pesto. Enjoy!