These Mediterranean-inspired stuffed eggplants are made with a meat-free filling of aromatic Carolina® Basmati Rice, rich tomatoes, spices and fresh herbs.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise.
Using a spoon, scoop out center of each eggplant half, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edges; reserve pulp. Sprinkle eggplant shells with salt. Transfer to baking tray, cut side down. Finely chop reserved eggplant pulp. Set aside.
In an ovenproof high-sided skillet set over medium heat, cook 1 tbsp oil and tomato paste, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in puréed tomatoes and broth; bring to boil. Transfer 3 cups tomato sauce to separate bowl; set aside. Add rice to remaining tomato sauce in skillet; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
In a separate large skillet set over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup oil; add eggplant pulp, onion and garlic. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in paprika, cumin, coriander, allspice and cinnamon. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined and fragrant. Season with pepper. Let cool slightly.
In a small bowl, stir together cilantro, mint and parsley. Reserve 2 tbsp; set aside. Stir remaining herbs and lemon juice into eggplant mixture.
Spoon reserved tomato sauce into the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking pan. Arrange eggplants, cut side up, on tomato sauce (sauce should come about halfway up sides of eggplants; add a splash of water if needed).
Drizzle with remaining olive oil; cover with foil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until eggplant has softened.
Mix together cooked basmati rice with cooked eggplant mixture; spoon into eggplant shells. Bake uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
Serve tomato sauce onto serving plates; arrange stuffed eggplants on top. Sprinkle with reserved cilantro mixture.
Serve with a garlicky tahini sauce to drizzle over top.
To make this recipe completely vegan, use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
Stuffed eggplant is a Mediterranean classic and can be filled with any number of delicious stuffings. For this version, we’ve gone meat-free for a comforting vegetarian meal that you’ll want to make again and again.
Our filling includes a hearty rice base with typical ingredients from the region like homemade tomato sauce, herbs and broth with seasoned eggplant pulp, onion and garlic.
If you’re looking to explore a few more Mediterranean dishes, try a Ratatouille Rice Dish or maybe a dish of Harissa Baked Feta with Rice and Poached Eggs.
If you feel you’re missing a bit of protein serve with tofu or add cooked ground beef/chicken to the filling.
If you haven’t cooked with eggplant much before, not to worry. Look for fresh eggplants without any skin blemishes or indentations. They shouldn’t be soft like a peach but rather firm to the touch.
While eggplant comes in a variety of colors and shapes, ideally look for larger eggplants that have a deeper cavity to hold more filling. These tend to be deeper purple or a combination of white and purple.