I’ve been using eggplant in a variety of dishes for years. And this is one recipe that, although it has gone through numerous changes, remains a favorite – both with my family and our guests. First of all, it makes for a very appetizing presentation and it smells so wonderful coming out of the oven it never fails to elicit a lot of oohs and aahs.
I’ve served it as a side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, a main dish for my vegetarian guests (along with a fresh salad), or as an accompanying dish to any number of main courses for company or my family. Served with my Spinach and Garlic Tomato Sauce with Gluten-Free Pasta (for example) this makes for a delicious, elegant meal. And everyone loves having their own beautifully prepared eggplant!
Note: I have, on occasion, made this without cheese for my vegan guests or those with a dairy allergy, though you can also use a nice vegan cheese.
Italian Baked Eggplant
- 4 eggplants
- 4 cups white button or crimini mushrooms (washed and chopped)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 (15 – 16 oz) can chopped tomatoes (with the juice)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts (optional)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup Mozarella cheese (grated)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash, dry and chop mushrooms and set aside. Do the same with the parsley. Now we can focus on the eggplant. Begin by slicing it lengthwise (through the stem) so that you have two equal sized halves. Then carefully run the knife along the inside of the eggplant like this: (Make sure not to pierce the shell.)
In a skillet, saute the garlic in olive oil for a minute or so before adding the chopped eggplant. Cook until the eggplant goes from the original color to a greenish shade. Stir often. Add the chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, oregano, and basil and mix together. Saute until the eggplant is tender and most of the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked off. Stir in the salt, pepper and parsley. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or so. Add the nuts (if you like) and the Parmesan cheese and mix through as the cheese melts. The cheese will be stringy. Adjust the seasonings to taste, then fill each of the eggplant shells. Top with Mozzarella cheese and bake for approximately 35 – 40 minutes or until the cheese has browned a bit. Enjoy!