3 Italian eggplants, halved lengthwise
1 medium red onion, diced finely
2 twigs of thyme
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tomatoes, cored and diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup cooked basmati brown rice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1 tbsp chopped basil
¼ cup chopped walnut kernels
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 tbsp fine breadcrumbs
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper brushed with olive oil; set aside.
Score the cut sides of the eggplants in a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplants, cut sides down, on the sheet. Bake them for 10 minutes or until slightly tender and browned. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Scoop the flesh of the eggplants out carefully, leaving a ½-inch shell. Dice the flesh; set aside.
In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add the onion and thyme, and cook for 2 minutes, without browning. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the sauce is slightly reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a bowl. Discard the thyme and bay leaf, and stir in the rice, herbs, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. Stuff the eggplants with this mixture. Top with the breadcrumbs and feta cheese and place on the baking sheet again. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with a side mixed salad.
This recipe also appeared in the October 2014 issue of Mindful magazine.
Recipes and photograph by Béatrice Peltre