August 4, 2014

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Stuffed with Lentils & Goat Cheese

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Stuffed with Lentils & Goat Cheese | Hard Parade
I'm very excited to announce that I just became an official Meatless Monday Blogger! Once upon a time, I was a vegetarian and while that didn't last, I've been observing Meatless Monday for about a year now. There are tons of reasons to join the Meatless Monday movement (which you can read about here) and you don't have to be a die-hard animal lover/vegetarian/vegan/what have you. You can just be interested in changing up your diet at least once a week and exploring all the different possibilities going meatless has to offer! You can find all my Meatless Monday recipes here. Now, onto this week's vegetarian option...

Eggplant and I don't go way back. We aren't typically friends and when we try getting along, the result is usually disastrous. But I'm making an effort. I want to like eggplant and in this recipe, I do! It's stuffed with lentils, carrots, and goat cheese and topped with bright, sweet and acidic pomegranate seeds that balance out all its earthiness. This recipe really makes the eggplant sing and by serving the meal in its own shell, the cleanup is a breeze. If eggplant was always approached this way, we'd have been friends by now. 

Eggplant Stuffed with Lentils & Goat Cheese
Recipe modified from SELF Magazine via Epicurious
Serves: 4, PointsPlus: 7 (that's it!)
Ingredients:
  • 2 eggplants, 1 pound each
  • Cooking spray
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
  • 2-oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 475f. Halve the eggplants lengthwise and remove the pulp. Cut pulp from one eggplant into 1/4-inch cubes and set aside. Either discard the rest of the pulp or use it in another recipe (I recommend the latter). 
  • Coat eggplant shells with cooking spray, season with salt and pepper, and place open side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • In a bowl, coat the eggplant cubes with cooking spray, season with salt and pepper, and place on a second baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake eggplant shells AND cubes until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the shells and cubes, set aside, and reduce the oven to 350.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  • Add the cooked lentils, eggplant cubes, broth, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped mint.
  • Flip the eggplant shells over on the baking sheet and stuff evenly with the lentil mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Top with goat cheese, mint leaves, and pomegranate seeds.
Do you have a love-hate relationship with any vegetables? Let me know in the comments!

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