Combining fragrant North-African spiced millet, silky-soft roasted eggplant, and crisp savoury sunflower seeds, this modern take on a veg-friendly classic is bursting with flavours and textures.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Yield: Serves 2-3
A staple of the old-school veggie culinary world, stuffed eggplant recipes are everywhere. We've tried plenty of variations- some good, some bad- but this little experiment has been our favourite to date. The combination of sweet peppers, spicy millet, soft eggplant, and crunchy sunflower seeds gives this dish plenty of flavour, and wonderful contrasting textures as well.
If you can't find millet, you can easily substitute just about any whole grain in its place. Quinoa, bulgur wheat and whole wheat couscous would be the best alternatives. The grains will need to be cooked before you prepare the filling. You can do this right before cooking, or better still, use leftover grains that were prepared 1 or 2 days earlier.
This dish uses 'ras el hanout' as the primary flavoring agent for the filling. For those of you that are unfamiliar with ras el hanout, it is a North-African spice blend that generally contains cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, and sometimes allspice, cayenne pepper, cloves, nutmeg or saffron. It is available for purchase in specialty spice stores, ethnic supermarkets, or any regular supermarket that has an extensive spice section.
For those of you who aren't eggplant fans, you can try using other vegetables instead. If you want to use whole peppers, you don't need to pre-roast them. Just stuff 3-4 raw peppers with the prepared filling, and roast for 20-25 minutes. If you want to try sweet potatoes or butternut squash, you will need to pre-roast for 10-15 minutes longer than with the eggplant.
To make this dish suitable for the McDougall Maximum Weight Loss program, omit the sunflower seeds.
- 3 medium eggplants
- ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 3 tbsp. sunflower seeds
For the Filling:
- 1 medium red pepper (capsicum), diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 tsp. ras el hanout
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 1/3 cup water
- 250g (8 oz) frozen chopped spinach or kale
- 2.5 cups cooked millet (can substitute quinoa, bulgur wheat, or whole wheat couscous)
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Remove stems from eggplants and slice each one in half lengthways. Place each one on baking tray, skin-side down, and sprinkly the surface with a little salt. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until tender.
- While the eggplants roast, prepare the filling. Combine the red pepper, onion, garlic and vegetable stock in a large pan. Saute over a high heat for 5-6 minutes until soft, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the ras el hanout, turmeric, cumin, paprika and chili powder. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the water and the frozen spinach or kale. Stir to combine, and leave to simmer for 5-6 minutes until the greens have thawed. Add the cooked millet, and stir to combine. Leave for 2 minutes to heat through, then remove pan from the heat and stir through the lemon juice.
- Place the sunflower seeds in a separate small pot or pan over a medium heat. Shake the pan gently, tossing the seeds for 1-2 minutes until they have just started to brown and become fragrant. Be sure to remove them from the heat at this point, as they will go from just browned to burnt in a matter of seconds.
- When the eggplants are done, remove them from the oven. Using a sharp knife, cut around the perimeter of each eggplant half, leaving about 1 cm between the knife and the skin of the eggplant. Carefully scoop the egpplant flesh out with a spoon, again being sure to leave about 1 cm of eggplant attached to the skin so that they do not fall apart. Roughly chop the parts of the eggplant that you removed, and add them to the millet mixture.
- Return eggplant skins to the baking tray. Load each eggplant skin up with the millet filling, packing it down firmly with the back of a spoon so that it doesn't fall apart. Once filled, return eggplants to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to serving plates. Sprinkle with the toasted sunflower seeds & fresh coriander, and serve immediately.