Middle Eastern Stuffed Eggplant

Middle Eastern Stuffed Eggplant

This tasty stuffed eggplant will fill you right up! It has a lot of flavor layers going on and will excite your palate.  It’s actually quite easy to make, too.  It’s a little carb-y, but that’s because of the eggplant itself.  No empty fillers in this recipe.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets if you can fit the carbs into your daily limits. It is also suitable for Primal and will even work for Paleo if you sub in chia gel or an extra egg for the ricotta cheese.

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2 T. coconut oil

1  16-oz. whole eggplant, stemmed and cut in half lenghtwise

10 oz. ground beef (or lamb)

2 oz. onion, chopped

¼ tsp. sea salt

Dash black pepper

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground cumin

1 Roma tomato, chopped coarsely

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T. fresh spearmint, chopped (or 1 tsp. dried mint)

2 beaten eggs

1/4 c. ricotta cheese (use chia gel or an extra egg for a Paleo version)

DIRECTIONS:  Melt the oil in a very large skillet over high heat.  Place eggplant in the pan cut-side down.  Brown the cut surface, pressing the eggplant halves down with your hand as they cook.  Cook them for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove them to a cutting board to cool a bit.

Add the meat to the skillet and brown over medium-high heat.  Add the onion toward the end of the browning process and cook until pretty tender.  Add the seasonings next.  Lower heat and simmer 5 minutes or so to let the spices mingle in the meat nicely.  Turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 350º.  Using a knife slice or scoop out most of the eggplant flesh from the halves, leaving about 1/2″ of the flesh intact on the skin for support during baking.  Place the two hollowed out shells in a baking pan.

Next, chop the scooped out eggplant flesh into ½” dice and add back into the meat mixture in the skillet.  If the eggplant is still opaque in places (likely it is not fully done), turn the fire on to medium and stir/simmer the meat-eggplant mixture until the eggplant is pretty tender.  Turn off heat.

Stir the beaten eggs into the ricotta and add to the meat mixture and mix well to bind and moisten the filling.  Spoon half the mixture into each eggplant shell.  Pop the pan into your preheated oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the shells appear to be fully cooked.  Pairs nicely with a sour cream/mint cucumber salad as shown.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes two large adult servings, each contains:

467 calories

42 g  fat

19.85 g  carbs, 9.25 g  fiber, 10 g  NET CARBS

38.4 g  protein

499 mg sodium

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