Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce


Eggplant is one of those vegetables that I never really know what to do with. I'll call it my "problem" vegetable. I never know whether to roast it, saute it, grill it, or fry it to get the texture I want. And I always forget to salt and let it sit first to draw out the excess water before cooking it. Plus, it's not usually my favorite veggie taste-wise. For all of these reasons, sadly, I'm not a huge fan of eggplant and rarely buy it.

However, this week I bought a nice big eggplant because I had the intention of making a "meat"loaf using it's hearty, filling texture. But, since today was such a warm and summery day, meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner just didn't feel right. I started brainstorming what I could make with this eggplant instead that would feel more appropriate for the warm day, and feel energizing and healthy.



Instructions
Since I had recently made Stuffed Peppers, it came to mind that I could stuff the eggplant with fluffy quinoa and some veggies from the fridge. So, that's just what I did! First, I cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scooped out some of the flesh of each half. Then I generously drizzled the cut sides with olive oil and salt, placed them on a cookie sheet skin side down, and popped them in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I cooked 1/2 cup dry quinoa in 1 cup water on medium until all of the water was absorbed, and chopped up some mushrooms, a few grape tomatoes, some of the reserved flesh from the eggplant halves, half a yellow onion, and two cloves of garlic. I quickly sauteed the chopped vegetables in three tablespoons of olive oil on medium high until they were all softened, and then added in a handful of baby spinach and the cooked quinoa, a splash of tomato sauce from an already opened jar, and folded everything together.

After 20 minutes had passed, I divided the stuffing between the two halves and then popped them back in the oven for 10 more minutes. At that time, I made a quick tahini sauce with 1-2 tablespoons tahini, a sprinkle of garlic powder, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some water to thin it as I whisked it together until it was a pour-able consistency. After I took the eggplants out of the oven, I drizzled them with the tahini sauce and served with garlic toast. It was delicious, easy, and calmed my eggplant nerves!


Ingredients
1 eggplant
1/2 cup quinoa
5 tbsp olive oil
salt
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
5 grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato sauce (optional)
Handful baby spinach
1-2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
water to thin

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