This stuffed eggplant is built upon layers of Middle Eastern flavors: smoky freekeh, tender chickpeas, and a herbal tahini sauce. The quick-pickled raisins add a sweet vinegary pop.
Sweat it out
Salting eggplant before cooking enhances the flavor by allowing eggplant to sweat out its bitterness and breaking its spongy texture.
Freekeh Medley Stuffed Eggplant
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 2 in small eggplants cuthalf lengthwise
- 4 tsp grapeseed oil or avocado oil divided
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 3/4 cup cracked freekeh
- 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
- 1 medium carrot shredded
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
- 1/4 cup tahini
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tsp za’atar
- 1/3 cup parsley
- In small bowl, combine raisins with red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp warm water, and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Season flesh with salt and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to allow eggplant to “sweat.” Pat dry with paper towel.
- Preheat oven to 400 F, and line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Place eggplant halves, flesh side up, onto baking sheet, and brush with 2 tsp oil. Roast until tender and the browned flesh is easily pierced with paring knife, about 35 minutes. You want the flesh to be silky and not spongy.
- In medium-sized saucepan over medium, heat 2 tsp oil. Add onion and 1/4 tsp salt; heat until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add two-thirds of the garlic and heat for 1 minute. Place broth or water and freekeh in pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, until freekeh is tender and broth has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes and then fluff with fork. Add chickpeas, pickled raisins, carrot, and pistachios to pot and stir everything together.
- In small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, remaining minced garlic, and za’atar. Whisk in water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until thin consistency is reached.
- Arrange roasted eggplant on serving platter, flesh side up. With the back of a spoon, push the flesh down to create a cavity. Spoon in freekeh filling. Drizzle on tahini dressing and scatter on parsley.
Per serving: 527 calories; 18 g protein; 19 g total fat (2 g sat. fat); 82 g total carbohydrates (25 g sugars, 23 g fiber); 575 mg sodium