Shar's Scrumptious Aubergines


These stuffed aubergines (eggplants) are a highly-nutritious and scrumptious vegetarian dish. Vegetables & legumes are great carbohydrate choices, because they’re nutrient dense, low in calories and are extremely beneficial to your metabolism. Alternately, you can substitute lentils with or just add 250g ground meat for a non-vegetarian option.

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

3 large aubergines/ eggplants (dark purple variety)
canola oil cooking spray
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 whole garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 x (400g) can brown lentils, rinsed and well drained
1 small red capsicum, finely chopped
2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
1 tbls ‘salt-reduced’ soy sauce
½ cup tomato passata cooking sauce
1 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
⅓ cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp moroccan seasoning powder
30g low-fat mozzarella cheese, grated or shaved
fresh cracked pepper to taste
freshly cracked rock salt (when cooking aubergines)

1. Cut aubergines in half. Using a spoon, hollow out the flesh leaving a 1cm ridge around the edge of the shell. (I actually score the eggplant with a paring knife and cut a grid into the flesh similar to when cutting a mango. It makes it easier to scoop out the flesh.) Finely dice the flesh and place into a colander over a plate. Sprinkle rock salt liberally over the top of the flesh and set aside for 20 mins to drain. This draws out the bit juices. When done, rinse colander under cold water and pat dry with paper toweling before cooking.

2. The Shell: Place the aubergine shells into a large pot of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Note: The shell will change color but should still be able to hold its shape. Remove and allow the shells to drain on sheets of paper toweling.

3. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened. Next, add aubergine flesh and moroccan seasoning, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes to flavor. Next add lentils, capsicum, tomatoes, soy sauce and tomato passata. Stir to combine and place lid on top. Allow to cook for 6-8 mins, stirring every 2-3 minutes until aubergine softens. When cooked add spinach and coriander, stir mixture well. Return lid and turn off heat.

4. Preheat grill. Position the aubergine shells on a lightly greased baking tray. Spoon mixture into the shells and top with cheese and season with pepper. Place under grill for 5 mins until cheese has melted. Serve immediately hot or they are just as delish' served cold.

Shar's Tips:
- It is best to cut eggplants just before using as the flesh oxidizes quickly, changing its color to brown.

- If you would like to add ground meat (lamb/beef/chicken or pork) – I suggest you cook the meat just after sautéing the onions and garlic. Then proceed with the steps as outlined in the method above.

Nutritional Information:  380.1kJ (per serve)
          Calories: 90.5   Protein: 6.6g    Carbs: 11.3g    Fat: 2.1g

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