This delicious stuffed eggplant dish is inspired by recipes I came across in old Creole cookbooks. It's filled with typical Creole flavors like celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic, and seasoned with fresh herbs — parsley, basil, and thyme. It's a heavenly dish for eggplant fans! Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
Creole Stuffed Eggplant
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 large celery stalk finely diced
- 1 small green bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups cup chopped ripe tomatoes or 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
- 2 medium eggplants about 1 pound each
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Chopped fresh basil as desired or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cayenne pepper or other hot sauce to taste
- 1 cup dry whole-grain bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté over medium-low heat until the onion is translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Meanwhile, stem the eggplants and cut them in half lengthwise. With a sharp knife, score each half several times lengthwise and across. Then, carefully remove the pulp, leaving a sturdy ½-inch-thick shell all around.
- Chop the eggplant pulp and add it to the skillet mixture along with all the remaining ingredients except the bread crumbs. Add a bit of water, just enough to keep the mixture moist. Cook, covered, until the eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in half of the bread crumbs.
- Set the eggplant shells in an oiled shallow baking dish in which they will be securely propped up against one other.
- Divide the stuffing evenly among the shells. Top evenly with the remaining bread crumbs.
- Bake for 20 minutes covered, then uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the eggplant shells are tender but not collapsed. Serve at once.