During the winter months stuffed aubergine has been a healthy and warming dinnertime meal. The really great thing is that it is a really flexible dish in terms of what you stuff it with! The one we made has got lots of lovely roasted butternut squash in it along with feta and bulgar wheat. But it also works brilliantly with supergrain quinoa or cous cous too.
In fact, I'd highly recommend making it with quinoa because 'Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein - containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It has been recognised by the United Nations as a supercrop for its health benefits: packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. The facts suggest it is close to a perfect ingredient as you can get.'*
Aubergine is a really healthy vegetarian option as it is really filling and satisfying, works well with different flavours and makes a great alternative to meat.
Here's the recipe.
half a butternut squash
200g cooked weight of quinoa, cous cous or bulgar wheat
half a red onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
a small handful fresh herbs - e,.g. flat leaf parsley or oregano
Optional: if you want some added crunch and added goodness from nuts and seeds, add some chopped walnuts or a small handful of pine nuts or sunflower seeds
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (fan)
2. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh. Leave the skin quite thick so it doesn't collapse. Rub with a little rapeseed oil and bake in the oven (cut side down) on a non-stick baking tray for 20 minutes.
3. Peel and dice the butternut squash and dice the aubergine flash. Chop the red onion. Mix these together along with finely chopped garlic and the cumin seeds. Add a little rapeseed oil.
4. Spread out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. Prepare the quinoa (or bulgar wheat or cous cous depending on what you have chosen to use) according to pack instructions.
5. Remove both baking trays from the oven when cooked. Place the aubergine shells to one side to cool a little.
6. To the butternut squash, red onion, and aubergine flesh filling, add the chopped fresh herbs, crumbled feta, cooked quinoa (or bulgar wheat or cous cous) and any nuts or seeds if you wish. Mix together and fill each aubergine shell. Drizzle with a small amount of rapeseed oil and then bake for 20 minutes.
7. Serve with a salad garnish if desired.
*info about quinoa source: Good Food glossary