VEGAN STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH BULGUR, BASIL & TOMATOES
BULGUR 101: A lot of people confuse bulgur with cracked wheat. It is cracked wheat, usually Durum, but with a difference. Bulgur is parboiled. That makes it so easy to use; it needs much less cooking time. In fact, it doesn’t have to be cooked; you can just soak it in water or broth to soften it. It also has a longer shelf life than cracked wheat. Especially when using fine-grind bulgur, you simply need to soak it in water until tender and ready to use.
- 4 medium eggplants
- 4 Tbsp extra-virgin Greek olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 red onion chopped finely
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- Pinch dried oregano
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch smoked paprika
- 1 pound plum tomatoes cored, seeded, and chopped
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the bulgur in a bowl and pour the water over it. Let the bulgur soak until it expands, softens, and absorbs all the liquid, about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, halve the eggplants lengthwise, and score the flesh of each half in a 1‑inch diamond pattern, about ½-inch deep. Brush the scored sides of eggplant with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay eggplant, cut side down, on the baking sheet, and roast until flesh is tender and cooked, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12‑inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Season with spices and salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, stir in bulgur, tomatoes, vinegar and let sit until heated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Return eggplant cut side up to sheet. Using 2 forks, remove the eggplant flesh and add it to the bulgur filling. Mix well and adjust seasoning.
Mound the mixture into eggplant halves and pack lightly with back of spoon. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.