Lentil stuffed eggplant is a hearty meatless meal filled with brown lentils, tomatoes, shallots and greens. Top with goat cheese for a creamy bite or leave off for a vegan version.
I’ve talked about my journey with liking (or more so not really enjoying) eggplant quite a few times in the past.
And here we are today with this easy lentil stuffed eggplant recipe and I think I can finally say with confidence I’m an eggplant convert.
I’ve been buying eggplant often this summer and the thing that’s drawn me to tossing it in the shopping cart at the grocery store is the fact that they’ve had a constant supply from a local farm.
I love buying local produce whenever possible (aka – only in the summer here in NY) and this farm happens to be only 25 minutes or so from my house and grows lovely organic produce.
The prices are much cheaper too than if I was to go to Whole Foods and buy organic produce from California or some other destination thousands of miles away so that’s a bonus.
Plus, they grow the prettiest pale purple and striped eggplants (along with adorable kinds of summer squash).
How can you say no to cute food, you know?
Speaking of which…have you ever seen baby eggplants? Omg, the cutest.
All this eggplant buying has made me come up with new ways to enjoy the vegetable and since I also loved it when stuffed with chicken and cheese in this Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Eggplant, I decided to go down that stuffed route again except in a plant-based way.
HOW TO MAKE LENTIL STUFFED EGGPLANT
There are three simple steps to this easy vegetarian stuffed eggplant recipe:
Step 1: Slice and pre-bake the eggplant
Step 2: Make the filling
Step 3: Stuff and finish baking
Step 1: Slice and pre-bake eggplant slices
You’ll need a large eggplant for this recipe.
Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the eggplant lengthwise into slices about 1/4″ thick. It’s that sweet spot of not too thick and not too thin.
Brush each eggplant slice with a bit olive oil and bake for 10 minutes just to soften.
Step 2: Make the lentil filling
While the eggplant pre-bakes, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add some olive oil to the pan.
Once the pan is hot, you’ll add the shallots.
When they soften a bit, add the garlic and lentils to the pan.
Pour some water or broth into the pan, stir, bring to a simmer then cover the pan and cook until the are tender lentils and have absorbed most of the liquid.
Remove the cover, add the tomatoes and baby greens and cook until they’re wilted. Season to taste and set aside.
Step 3: Stuff the eggplant and finish baking
Spoon the lentil mixture onto the top of each eggplant slice.
Top with dollops of goat cheese (if using – omit for vegan) and return the baking sheet to the oven for about 5 minutes until the goat cheese just starts to melt a bit.
Garnish with some fresh basil before serving.
DO I NEED TO PEEL THE EGGPLANT?
Peeling is unnecessary because the slices are thin and the skin softens enough by roasting at 400° in the oven.
CAN I USE CANNED TOMATOES?
Yes, if you don’t have fresh tomatoes (like I did from the garden since making this in the summer), use diced canned tomatoes in the filling.
You’ll need about 1 – 15 ounce canned of diced tomatoes. I would drain the liquid a little bit before adding to the skillet.
DO THE LENTILS NEED TO BE PRE-COOKED?
No, the lentils cook right in the skillet as you make the filling.
That’s one of the things that keeps this stuffed eggplant recipe so simple!
Side note on lentils – just make sure to thoroughly rinse the dry lentils before using!
IS THIS EGGPLANT RECIPE VEGAN?
If you omit the goat cheese, this is a vegan stuffed eggplant recipe.
You can also choose to use a vegan cheese substitute if you have one you like.
Other non-cheese options for topping would be: pesto, a tahini based sauce or a simple balsamic glaze.
You could try zucchini pesto for a double summer vegetable punch!
It’s a meatless meal that’s simultaneously summery and light while still being hearty and filling thanks to the lentils.
These are the kind of meals that have made me realize plant-based eating can definitely be delicious and satisfying without that underlying feeling of something “missing” (aka: meat).
And if you don’t want to serve these lentil stuffed eggplant slices as the main dish, they make a great side dish too!
MORE EGGPLANT RECIPES TO TRY:
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup brown lentils
- 1 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups packed baby greens (spinach/kale, etc.)
- 2 ounces goat cheese (*optional)
- fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice eggplant lengthwise about 1/4" thick. Place slices on the baking sheet. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on the top of the eggplant slices. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes.
- While eggplant bakes, make the filling by adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic, lentils and water to the pan. Cover the pan, bring to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed and lentils are tender.
- Add the tomatoes and baby greens to the skillet, stir to combine and cook until the greens are just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove eggplant slices from the oven, spoon the lentil mixture on top of each slice and dot the top with goat cheese.
- Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh basil before serving.
*leave off goat cheese for a vegan meal
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 11gSugar: 9gProtein: 10g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.