Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...
Rice-stuffed baked eggplant is the hearty gluten-free meal you need in your cold-weather recipe box
Tomatoes, seasonings and cheese help transform rice from basic to blow-you-away for this dish. Bake it up in scooped-out eggplant, and you're in for a real treat.
Don’t you just love it when food is served in an edible bowl? I do, and this gluten-free, seasoned, rice-stuffed, baked eggplant has me on cloud nine.
Fresh tomatoes, rice, walnuts and cheese each play a part in making this dish divine. The walnuts add a bit of extra texture and, mixed with the other ingredients, help transform this dish into a fabulous meal. Serve it with soup or a salad for a complete dinner.
1 large eggplant, top end sliced off, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup cooked rice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup diced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced tomato
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra to season the eggplant shells
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Use a paring knife to cut around the outside edge of the eggplant flesh, to about 1/4 inch from the shell. Score the inner flesh into cubes. Use a small spoon to scoop out the eggplant. Scrape away the seeds left behind in the shell. Brush both shells with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt. Place in a baking dish, and set aside.
Steam the eggplant cubes, and set aside.
To a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes, and add the water. Mix to combine. Season with the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and cumin. Add the chopped eggplant and walnuts to the skillet, and toss. Cook for a few more minutes.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the rice and 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.
Evenly divide the mixture, and transfer it to the eggplant shells. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of each. Cook for another 5 minutes.