Can you smell the perfume of the Sun? Can you see, in your childhood, your grandmother preparing eggplants, sprinkling them with salt and leaving them to drain in large basins and then picking the basil in the garden?
In the summers of my lucanian childhood, stuffed aubergines had endless variations: they were stuffed with spicy salami, with provolone and eggs, or seasoned only with basil, garlic, fresh picked tomatos, bread crumbs and oregano.
I will show you a strictly vegan version, enriched with quinoa, a fake-cereal that completes the dish of all nine essential amino acids. The recipe is nutritionally balanced and absolutely satisfying in terms of taste.
Here you are my eggplants stuffed with quinoa!
Ingredients for 4 servings:
2 large round eggplants, from light purple color and delicate flavour
250 g of dry quinoa
75 grams of pitted black olives
40 grams of capers
50 grams of dried tomatoes in oil
2 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Basil, parsley, oregano, salt
45 minutes preparation + about 1 hour of baking in the oven
Kilokalories per serving:
Approximately 441 kcal
Degree of Difficulty:
Wash very well the eggplants under running water, cut them in half from the stem (which must remain on each half), dig them very gently with a knife, trying not to break them. We should have little shells ready to accept the filling.
Place them in a glass dish suitable for baking, salt them slightly and brush the inside with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. To help cooking, pour into the glass dish a little water.
Now we can prepare the quinoa: rinse it carefully using a fine mesh strainer, to remove all the foam that forms (the famous saponins) and thus the potential bitter taste.
For this preparation is not necessary to toast the quinoa, we simply pour two parts water and one part quinoa in a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover with a lid and let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the grains become translucent.
Let rest the quinoa, allowing the grains to swell, while absorbing any remaining water.
In the meantime, dice the inside of the eggplants dug previously. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan, briefly sautee two cloves of garlic and then add the diced eggplants, the olives, the capers cut into strips, the dried tomatoes sliced and finally the herbs that you prefer. I usually add fresh basil, parsley and oregano.
When cooked, remove the garlic and in a large bowl mix the quinoa with the diced eggplants. Mix well so that all the flavours blend and then season with salt and pepper. Fill now the eggplant shells and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
If some of the filling exceeds, do not worry because the next day is even better, eaten as a quinoa cold salad!
Bake in oven at 190°C for approximately 45-60 minutes, or otherwise until the eggplants are soft and the stuffing is golden.
Serve them warm or at room temperature.