Fragrant eggplant, juicy filling, and all this under a fried cheese crust!
Eggplant is a popular plant used widely in different cuisines of the world. Due to its texture, it is often used even in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meat. It can be steamed, fried, grilled, roasted, or pickled. Many eggplant dishes are prepared by mashing baked plant. Eggplants’ shape is perfect for stuffing and this is one of my favorite dishes. It can be prepared with various fillings: minced meat, mushrooms, cereal, vegetables. An incredible combination that develops a rich and complex flavor is eggplants with nuts (but about this I will tell you somehow lately). It depends on your creativity, either you will go completely vegetarian or will add meat. Choose the stuffing perfect for you.
It is better to cook eggplant dishes in their ripening season when they are the most delicious.
Today my mood was to bake eggplants stuffed with aromatic cheese and tomatoes. Cheese is successfully paired with tomatoes and eggplant.
This healthy dish is prepared quick and easy and is suitable both for a quick brunch or late dinner. Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe always looks very beautiful and appetizing, and can perfectly decorate any holiday table. Why exactly this recipe should always be at your “party to-do list”? Because such a gourmet meal is very simple to cook. You do not need to spend a lot of time and effort on this recipe. Therefore, such a dish is an incredible starter over other recipes because it is healthy. And tasty, fragrant, and beautiful!
What ingredients do we need to make Baked Eggplant?
If you want to cook this delicious Baked Eggplant recipe you will only need a few basic and very easy to find ingredients:
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Brie cheese (you can substitute it with any other cheese you love)
- Parmesan cheese
Is eggplant healthy?
An important fact about eggplant is that it is actually not a vegetable as many of us think, but a fruit or exactly a berry (by botanical definition)!! I think for many of us it is not so important the classification, but on the contrary how healthy it is. An important eggplant benefit is that it is a low-calorie and low-carb plant that makes it widely used in weight loss diet. It is rich in nutrients (such as Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin C and K) and high in fiber which bring potential health benefits. While the eggplants are being cooked, they usually tend to absorb a good amount of oil, so this is why it is a frequently used ingredient in the ketogenic diet.
What kind of eggplant to use?
The first tip that I can give you when choosing an eggplant is that you should look for ones that are medium size. Avoid big ones because you have a chance to buy overripe ones (brown inside with large tough seeds and bitter). Choose young slightly firm eggplants that are heavy for their size. Skins should be glossy with bright green stems, the thumb indentation should not remain on the plant.
For Baked Eggplant recipe look for ones that are rather longer than the rounder, with bulb-shaped bottoms (called pear-shaped, so it can hold a lot of filling).
These are easier to fill and stuffed looked more presentable.
Eggplants can be stored in the refrigerator in plastic bags for up to one week. If you are storing it in a cold dark place, then take it out from the bag. In no case wash it because it will faster the process of spoiling.
How to make Baked Eggplant?
You can stuff the eggplant removing all the flesh of the fruit or partially. You do not have to peel the eggplant, it can ruin the shape that you need while stuffing and its’ skin is totally edible. Before stuffing eggplants, I use to pre-bake them until half cooked. I do not remove the flesh. But before pouring filling I press a little the inner part of the eggplant ( it is already soft and you can easily make a shape for filling). Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
Wash and dry with paper towel 2 eggplants. Then cut them in half along.
Arrange eggplant halves, flesh-side up, on the baking pan lined with parchment paper, and drizzle about 4 tablespoons of olive oil over the flesh side of the eggplant. Optional you can season them with some dry herbs or/and spices. Bake eggplant halves for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, while your eggplants are roasting, prepare the filling, You will need to prepare this recipe several times till you will understand the combination that is right for you. Focus on your taste! Mine favourite stuffed eggplant recipe is the following!
Mince 2 cloves of garlic as it will give to this dish an amazing aroma. Chop 3 medium tomatoes in small pieces. Now is about cheese, today I had in my fridge Brie cheese (this is my beloved one) – cut about 4 oz (125gr) of cheese in small pieces. Although, you can use any other cheese, even cottage cheese or goat cheese. In a bowl, mix all ingredients until just combined.
Fill generously pre-baked eggplant halves with obtained mixture. Then top with a good amount of Parmesan cheese. Now return the eggplant into the oven and bake it for 10 minutes more.
While all ingredients are soaked with each other you will obtain an incredible taste.
- You can easily replace eggplant with zucchini. Baked zucchini is also very tender and tasty.
- You can diversify with filling, adding the one you love better. A good choice can be fried mushrooms, bell pepper, aromatic green herbs, minced meat. Either of these fillings will enrich the eggplant flavor.
- If you do not like fried cheese, then you can add it 15 minutes before removing from the oven, then it will be “stretching”. Although it seems to me that cheese crisp preserves the juiciness of the dish.
- If you feel it very bitter, then salt the halved eggplant and leave them to rest for half an hour. Then rinse with running water and wipe excess water with paper towels.
- Baked eggplant is a perfect side dish for any meals. It creates a perfect combination either with meat or fish.
Fragrant Baked Eggplant with Cheese
- baking pan
- parchment paper
- 2 eggplants
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tomatoes
- 4 oz Brie cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Wash and dry with paper towel 2 eggplants. Then cut them in half along. Arrange eggplant halves, flesh-side up, on the baking pan lined with parchment paper, and drizzle about 4 tablespoons of olive oil over the flesh side of the eggplant. Season them with some dry herbs or/and spices. Bake eggplant halves for 20 minutes at 400 °F (200 °C).
- Meanwhile, mince 2 cloves of garlic as it will give to this dish an amazing aroma. Chop 3 medium tomatoes in small pieces. Cut about 4 oz (125gr) of cheese in small pieces. In a bowl, mix all ingredients until just combined.
- Fill generously pre-baked eggplant halves with obtained mixture. Then top with a good amount of Parmesan cheese.
- Now return the eggplant into the oven and bake it for 10 minutes more.
- While all ingredients are soaked with each other you will obtain an incredible taste.