Smoky Stuffed Eggplant
Servings: 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
Smoky Chile Sauce
- 1/3 cup roasted pepitas
- 1 large sweet chile, such as Anaheim (or use a bell pepper)
- 1 small jalapeño (or other spicy chile)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium-sized eggplant
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
Heat the broiler. Place the chiles on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until they are charred. Flip the peppers and broil for another 5 minutes. Remove them from the broiler and use tongs to place them in a plastic bag or lidded container. Seal the bag (or container) and set it aside. Once the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove the skins, stems, and the seeds from them.
Place the pepitas, roasted chiles, garlic, paprika, tomato paste, basil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the ingredients together until they form a thick paste. With the machine running on low, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl of the food processor until everything is evenly combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Spoon the sauce into a container.
Heat the oven to 350º. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Use a small, sharp knife to cut all the way around the perimeter of each eggplant half, about 1/8″ from the skin. Use a soup spoon to carefully scoop out the flesh, being careful not to break the skin. Roughly dice the flesh and set it aside. Place the eggplant halves, flesh side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the eggplants for 20 minutes, or until they are light brown and tender.
While the eggplant halves are roasting, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the diced eggplant flesh, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking for another 7-10 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Place the cooked eggplant mixture, 1/4 cup of the smoky chile sauce, lemon, and tahini in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a chunky paste forms. There should still be small pieces of eggplant visible. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff the roasted eggplant shells, half with the stuffing mixture and half with brown rice. Top each stuffed eggplant half with extra sauce, chopped herbs, or cheese. Serve hot.
Recipe & Photo by Shelby Thompson