By Chef Kim Baretta
This is a wonderful make ahead dish. The original recipe calls for ground lamb, but I substituted cooked lentils the first time I made it. It’s perfect to serve at room temperature on a hot day. Make extra tzatziki so you are sure to have leftovers to serve with whole wheat pita bread or fresh vegetables later!
4 large eggplant
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing eggplants
1 ¼ cups diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cups diced green pepper
½ lb ground lean lamb or 1 cup cooked lentils (about 1/2 cup before cooking)
1 14 oz can diced plum tomatoes in juice
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2-3 Tablespoons fresh chopped mint
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt and pepper
1 cup cooked brown rice (about ½ cup before cooking)
¼ cup minced flat leaf parsley
1 ripe tomato
½ cup finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups fat-free Greek yogurt
1 long English cucumber
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, minced
Salt and pepper
Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and brush all over with olive oil.
Bake at 350F on a baking sheet for 1 hour, until tender when pierced with a fork.
Cook onions in a skillet over medium heat with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil until soft and translucent. Do not brown.
Add green peppers and garlic and cook until tender.
Add lamb to skillet and saute until browned.
Drain off any fat.
Add the chopped tomatoes and liquid and all seasonings to the skillet.
Cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened but not dried out.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice and parsley (if using lentils, stir them in now.)
Raise oven temperature to 450F.
Gently mash the flesh of the eggplants without tearing the skin.
Pile the filling onto each eggplant.
Top each eggplant half with 2 slices of tomato and a little parmesan.
Place in a roasting pan.
Pour ½ inch of water into the pan.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the tops are browned and the filling is hot.
Peel cucumber and grate on the large holes of a box grater.
Mix the yogurt, cucumber, grated garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and mint together.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve each eggplant half with a dollop of tzatziki.