Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant

Sardinian flavors like olives, basil, and fresh mint will take you straight to an Italian kitchen in this hearty, gluten-free, fat-free, vegan recipe. This makes for an easy, but impressive, main course - perfect for dinner entertaining!

MEDIUM          Servings: 4       Ready In: 75 minutes

Sardinia Stuffed Eggplant - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Vegan, Italian Mediterranean Dinner Entree with Olives and Mushrooms

Sardinia Stuffed Eggplant - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Vegan, Italian Mediterranean Dinner Entree with Olives and Mushrooms

Chef's Tip:  Use a large spoon to scoop out the inner flesh of this big eggplants.  You want to leave about 1/2-inch border to hold the hearty plant-based, Italian vegan filling

Chef's Tip:  Use a large spoon to scoop out the inner flesh of this big eggplants.  You want to leave about 1/2-inch border to hold the hearty plant-based, Italian vegan filling

Chef's Tip:  Squeeze out the eggplant after it's been salted.  This helps remove bitter flavor and excess moisture to make this healthy, plant-based Italian vegan recipe

Chef's Tip:  Squeeze out the eggplant after it's been salted.  This helps remove bitter flavor and excess moisture to make this healthy, plant-based Italian vegan recipe

Chef's Tip:  Hearty, satisfying Portobello and cremini mushrooms provide the base for the stuffing this healthy, plant-based Italian vegan recipe

Chef's Tip:  Hearty, satisfying Portobello and cremini mushrooms provide the base for the stuffing this healthy, plant-based Italian vegan recipe

Chef's Quick Tip:  Make a quick, healthy tomato sauce by combining the canned tomatoes and garlic.  You good quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor.  Later, when you bake the whole dish, the sauce will also cook.  You want a simple sauce so that the focus is on the delicious stuffed eggplant

Chef's Quick Tip:  Make a quick, healthy tomato sauce by combining the canned tomatoes and garlic.  You good quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor.  Later, when you bake the whole dish, the sauce will also cook.  You want a simple sauce so that the focus is on the delicious stuffed eggplant

Chef's Oil-Free Tip:  Cook the mushrooms in a wide, heavy pan.  You don't need to add any oil.  The mushroom will turn brown as they release their moisture

Chef's Oil-Free Tip:  Cook the mushrooms in a wide, heavy pan.  You don't need to add any oil.  The mushroom will turn brown as they release their moisture

Chef's Tip:  Once the mushrooms are brown, add the onions and keep cooking until they are golden brown.  Again, you don't need to add any oil as the vegetables have plenty of moisture to prevent sticking.  Using a heavy pan (cast iron is best) also helps

Chef's Tip:  Once the mushrooms are brown, add the onions and keep cooking until they are golden brown.  Again, you don't need to add any oil as the vegetables have plenty of moisture to prevent sticking.  Using a heavy pan (cast iron is best) also helps

Chef's Tip:  Your Italian Sardinia stuffing comes together with olives, the mushroom and onion mixture, flax "eggs", nutritional yeast, basil, mint, and nutritional yeast

Chef's Tip:  Your Italian Sardinia stuffing comes together with olives, the mushroom and onion mixture, flax "eggs", nutritional yeast, basil, mint, and nutritional yeast

Chef's Tip:  You can make and stuff these eggplant ahead of time.  Simply assemble a day or two before you want to serve.  The flavors will develop even more for healthy, delicious Italian flavor

Chef's Tip:  You can make and stuff these eggplant ahead of time.  Simply assemble a day or two before you want to serve.  The flavors will develop even more for healthy, delicious Italian flavor

Chef's Tip:  Cover and bake the Sardinia Stuffed Eggplant for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and tender.  This makes an impressive, satisfying plant-based Italian vegan dinner

Chef's Tip:  Cover and bake the Sardinia Stuffed Eggplant for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and tender.  This makes an impressive, satisfying plant-based Italian vegan dinner

Ingredients

2 (one-pound) Italian Eggplants
28-ounce canned Italian crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. Cremini mushrooms
6 oz. Portabella mushrooms
1 small onion
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. flax meal
6 tbsp. warm water
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 cup pitted black olives (Sardinian if you can, or use Kalamata or any flavorful olive)
2 tbsp. fresh basil
2 tbsp. fresh mint
1/4 tsp. fresh nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper


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Procedure

Gather ingredients.

To prepare the Eggplant: Halve the eggplants lengthwise.  Use a large spoon to scoop out most of the eggplant flesh.  You want to leave about 1/2-inch of a "shell"
Place the scraped out eggplant flesh into a colander over a bowl. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp. salt. 
Work the salt into the eggplant. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, to allow some of the moisture to come out.

To make the tomato sauce: In a separate bowl, combine the canned crushed tomatoes and garlic. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. 

To make the stuffing: Heat a large, wide pan over high heat. Cast iron is the best. No oil is needed. 
Preheat the oven to 350F. 
For the filling: Thoroughly wash your mushrooms.  Scoop out the gills of the portabellas. You can save the stems to use in this recipe. 
Roughly chop all of the mushrooms into small bite-sized pieces. 
Add the mushrooms to the pre-heated pan and spread into a single layer. 
Sprinkle with a little salt and place the bay leaves in the pan too. Don't touch the mushrooms for the next few minutes! 
Cook mushrooms until well-browned, about 12 minutes, stirring only once or twice. Meanwhile, dice the onions, if needed.
When mushrooms are well-browned, add the onion and continue to cook over high heat. 
Going back to the scooped out eggplant flesh, once it has sat with the salt for 30 minutes, it should have released some liquid. Squeeze well to get rid of any more liquid. 
Roughly chop the eggplant flesh. 
Once onions have browned, add the chopped eggplant and cook another 4-5 minutes, until eggplant is brown and there is no moisture in the pan. 
Meanwhile, roughly chop your basil and mint.
Roughly chop the olives 

To finish the filling ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the flax meal and warm water. Let sit about 5 minutes to "gel". Flax mixture will look "eggy" when ready. 
When eggplant mushroom mixture is done cooking, add to the large bowl with the flax "egg" 
Remove the bay leaves. 
Add the chopped herbs, olives, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. 
Grate in the fresh nutmeg. 
Stir well to combine and taste to adjust seasoning. 

To bake the Stuffed Eggplant: Pour the canned tomato garlic sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish.
Spoon about 1/4 of the stuffing mixture into one of your eggplant shells.  Repeat with remaining eggplant and stuffing.
Place the stuffed eggplant on top of the tomato sauce.  Place the baking dish in the oven and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven when bubbly and let cool slightly before serving. 29 Serve an eggplant half with the tomato sauce.

Chef's Tip: You can make and assemble this entire dish a day ahead of time.  Simply remove from the fridge and bake before serving.

Yield: 4 Eggplant Halves


Step-by-Step Photos:

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (1 eggplant half)

Calories 205.59
Calories From Fat (16%) 32.33
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.87g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.51g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 498.74mg 21%
Potassium 1705.89mg 49%
Total Carbohydrates 39.99g 13%
Fiber 15.87g 63%
Sugar 21.43g
Protein 11.46g 23%
Calcium 34.28mg 3%
Iron 134.5mg 747%
Vitamin A 1801IU 36%
Vitamin C 10136.23mg 16894%


Cremini Mushrooms are a healthy vegetarian meat-substitute packed with umami flavor. Also known as Baby Portobello, use in vegan lasagna, mushroom gravy, or tomato Bolognese sauce. Plant-based Chef Katie Simmons is at the farmer's market sharing her tips and recipe ideas: www.plants-rule.com