Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Couscous and Bean-Stuffed Eggplant with Garlic Tomato Sauce

It snowed here yesterday. A lot.

Ignoring the fact for a moment that it is March 25th, it is a beautiful snow - the trees are decked out in thick layers of white, their delicate bud-covered branches weighed down by the heft of it. We spent most of Sunday afternoon watching from inside and waiting for the snow day to be called. It was.

I wasn't planning on making anything particularly impressive for dinner; it was, after all, the last day of spring break. But when it started looking more and more like spring break was going to last one day more, I got creative, with delicious results. This is a combination and modification of several recipes from my newest favorite cookbook - The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. There are admittedly a lot of steps, but none of them are difficult and many are hands-off. I had some roasted tomato sauce in the freezer that I blended to a puree and used to top the eggplant, but feel free to use a jarred sauce - I'd recommend something somewhat light.

This recipe is infinitely adaptable by switching out the type of bean and seasoning. As written in the book, the recipe calls for black beans and cumin, which we might try next time with plain couscous and salsa in place of the tomato sauce.

Hope you enjoy it - it was a big hit around here.

Couscous and Bean-Stuffed Eggplant with Garlic Tomato Sauce
Adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook

Makes 6 eggplant halves


3 medium eggplants
1 5.6 oz box couscous with toasted pine nuts
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups prepared marinara
grated Parmesan
  1. Cut off the stem ends of the eggplant and slice in half lengthwise. Slice a tiny bit off the rounded side to allow the eggplant to lie flat. Place eggplant shells in a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. With a sharp knife, carefully cut away the pulp. Don't worry about making it pretty or uniform - you are going to chop it in a minute. Leave a sturdy shell about 1/2 inch thick. 
  3. Chop the eggplant pulp finely and steam until tender (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
  4. Prepare couscous according to package directions. 
  5. In a large bowl, combine prepared couscous, steamed eggplant, beans, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Evenly divide couscous mixture among six eggplant halves. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. 
  7. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until shells are tender but have not yet collapsed.
  8. During the last 10 minutes of baking time, warm up the marinara sauce.
  9. Top each eggplant half with warmed marinara and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

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