This Moroccan Stuffed Eggplant is bursting with flavor! Filled with lentils, tomatoes, and the perfect blend of spices, this is a vegan and gluten-free meal that elevates dinner to a whole new level.
Ahhh, it's eggplant season. The most delicious time of year!
You know, there was a time I didn’t like eggplant. I know, I know. It’s absolutely crazy. But I thought the vegetable was soft and slimy, generally without flavor, and altogether gross. Turns out, the problem wasn’t eggplant. The problem was me. I wasn’t cooking it right! Once I started seeing all the vegan eggplant recipes out there, I realized that I was just doing eggplant wrong.
Now that eggplants are finally starting to pop up in our summer gardens, I figured it was time to celebrate this wonderful purple vegetable with a new eggplant recipe. And I think you're going to love it.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
Inspired by that childhood recipe, I started testing out some of my own meatball recipes, and eventually, I came up with these Italian Eggplant Meatballs.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Eggplant – Eggplant is one of those amazingly underrated vegetables that can be the star of so many vegan entrées. I love it in curries, on pizza, and of course, vegan eggplant parmesan. And knowing how well the flavors of Italian cooking and eggplant go together, I decided they would make the perfect base for these vegan meatballs.
- Olive Oil
- Lentils - Either brown or green will work. Avoid red lentils.
- Yellow Onion
- Spices - You will need cumin, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, and salt.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Pine Nuts
- Diced Tomatoes - This recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes. You can substitute with 5-6 fresh tomatoes.
- Maple Syrup - This is to add a little sweetness to the filling. You can replace it with 1 teaspoon of brown or coconut sugar.
- Fresh Parsley - I prefer Italian (flat leaf) parsley but either will do.
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Eggplant
Stuffed eggplant is an easy and satisfying meal. If you're new to stuffing vegetables, I promise you, it's much simpler than it looks. Let's take a step by step look at how to make this Moroccan stuffed eggplant recipe.
Step One: Prepare the Eggplant
Slice your eggplant lengthwise and scoop out the fleshy middle. You may need to use a paring knife to score the flesh before removing it with a spoon. As you scoop out the middle, keep about ½ inch of eggplant around all sides to give it the support it needs for the fillings and toppings. Make sure to reserve the removed eggplant. This will get added to our filling.
Once the eggplant flesh is scooped out, lightly brush the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake at 400F for 20 minutes until golden brown and tender.
Step Two: Prepare the Filling
For these Moroccan Stuffed eggplants, I made a lentil-based filling that is stuffed with tomatoes, pinenuts, raisins, fresh herbs, and the perfect spice blend.
To make the filling, first, sauté the onions and garlic. Once the onions are translucent and fragrant, add the pinenuts and cook until they are lightly toasted. Add the remaining ingredients except for the raisins and parsley, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the filling is heated all the way through. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Now, remove the filling from heat and add the raisins and parsley.
Step Three: Assemble and Bake
To assemble the vegan stuffed eggplant, evenly scoop the spiced lentil filling into your prepared eggplant, packing it down as much as possible and rounding up the top. As the filling bakes, it will release water, making the filling shrink. That is why you want to pack the eggplants as much as possible in order to finish with beautifully full eggplant.
Bake the stuffed eggplant for 10 additional minutes.
Serving and Storing
Serving - Serve immediately with fresh parsley, and serve.
Storing - Unfortunately, this stuffed eggplant recipe does not store well. You will want to eat them within an hour of baking.
Make in Advance - If you are preparing for a larger event and want to work ahead, you can make your filling and place it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days until you are ready to assemble your eggplant. Once you are ready, prepare the eggplant and bake according to the instructions below.
More Vegan Eggplant Recipes
These Moroccan Stuffed Eggplants are good but don’t stop there! Here are some of my other favorite eggplant recipes:
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Pizza
- Eggplant Chickpea Curry
- Homemade Ratatouille
- Kung Pao Tofu with Eggplant
Moroccan Stuffed Eggplant
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 medium eggplant
- ½ cup dry brown or green lentils,
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ large yellow onion
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- pinch of cayenne
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, loosely packed
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil over medium heat. Add lentils, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 20-30 minutes until all the water has absorbed and the lentils are tender.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Slice the eggplant in half. Scoop out the fleshy middle, leaving a ½" shell, and reserve. Brush the inside with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake, face-up, for 20 minutes. Chop the eggplant flesh into small cubes and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining oil. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add spices, sun-dried tomatoes, and pinenuts. Once the pinenuts are toasted, stir in lentils, diced eggplant, canned tomatoes, and maple syrup.
- Remove from heat and add raisins and parsley. Evenly divide filling between 4 eggplants, rounding off the tops, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top with fresh parsley, and serve.