Stuffed aubergines cooked the Middle Eastern way in tomato sauce. These stuffed aubergines/eggplants are made vegan as they’re stuffed with just rice, veggies, spices and no meat!
Another family favourite! This is my mum’s recipe as I grew up eating lots of stuffed vegetables that were always stuffed with rice. For these stuffed aubergines, you will need to get the mini type of aubergines or at least medium-sized ones. The recipe is ready in just one hour and could be made in a couple of days in advance.
Middle Eastern Food
As I grew up in Jordan, I ate and still cook and eat lots of Middle Eastern food. It’s a very rich cuisine that consists of a huge variety of vegetables, meat, legumes and grains. So many main courses use rice as a base, and this recipe is one of them.
Vegan Stuffed Eggplants or Aubergines
Stuffed baby eggplants or aubergines in the Middle East are usually made meaty. So the filling is almost always made with rice, but it could be mixed with either minced beef or lamb. However, as this is a vegan version of the dish I’ve used rice with lots of veggies and seasonings for the filling.
Fun fact: In Arabic, these are called “Batenjan Mehshi”.
How to Make Stuffed Aubergines
Step 1. You will need to prepare your mini aubergines or eggplants, by cutting the top off (the stems) and hollowing out the centres of the aubergines to make room for the stuffing. To do that, you will need a special courgette corer to get rid of the flesh.
Leave about 1/2 inch of the rim of zucchini and make sure not to make any holes.
The whole green part could be removed, but I think that the aubergines are super pretty when it stays on. I just remove it using a spoon or a fork when I’m eating.
Using the zucchini corer, hollow out the eggplant.
The eggplant in the picture above is ready to be stuffed as there’s enough room for the stuffing.
Step 2. Make the stuffing!
Start by pouring warm water over rice, and leave aside for it to soften a little.
Dice onions, tomato, and mince some garlic.
Roughly chop parsley and fresh mint leaves.
Mix all of the ingredients together with olive oil, salt, cumin, baharat seasoning, and black pepper.
Mix all the ingredients along with the rice to create the filling. You could also add other vegetables and seasonings, but the ingredients that I’ve used is what’s usually used to make the stuffing in the Middle East.
Step 3. Start stuffing the eggplants with the rice veggie stuffing, but make sure that the rice takes only two thirds of the space in the aubergine, as the rice will expand while cooking and can become a bit messy and aubergines might even break.
You could also stuff bell peppers same way as you stuffed the aubergines/eggplants. My Mum always adds at least one bellpepper to the pot along with the aubergines as it adds a lot to the flavour.
Step 4. Arrange the stuffed aubergines/eggplants in a pot. Then add water or vegetable stock and cook for 15 minutes.
Then add tomato paste or blended tomatoes with garlic. Add 2 bay leaves and a few mint leaves (fresh or dried). Cook on medium heat for around 40 minutes or until the rice is soft.
If you add the tomato mixture from the beginning of the cooking, this may result in your aubergines hardening, so they won’t be soft and will take much longer to cook.
Cover with a plate to help the aubergines stay in place, you could also place a mug on top if the plates start to move.
Step 5. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are cooked and soft.
Step 6. Serve warm in a pasta plate or bowl with some extra tomato sauce from the pot. Eat with yogurt or pita bread.
Next time, I’ll be posting Indian Stuffed Brinjal recipe. It’s a completely different recipe with lots of lovely spices and no rice!
If you like Middle Eastern food, then you definitely need to try my Molokhia recipe. And another Middle Eastern dish cooked in tomato sauce is these Middle Eastern green beans with rice. They’re slow cooked in tomato sauce, but could also be made over the stovetop.
More Great Eggplant Recipes
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Middle Eastern Stuffed Aubergines
- 16 baby aubergines
- 1 cup (175g) rice uncooked
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 1 onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 20 grams parsley chopped
- 10 grams mint leaves chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 and ½ teaspoon baharat seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 litres water or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 mint leaves fresh or dried
To prepare the baby aubergines:
- Cut the stems off and hollow out the centres of the aubergines to make room for the stuffing. To do that, you will need a special courgette or zucchini corer to get rid of the flesh.Leave about 1/2 inch of rim of aubergine and make sure not to make any holes.
For the stuffing:
- Start by pouring warm water over rice, and leave aside for it to soften a little.
- Dice onion, tomatoes, and mince some garlic. Roughly chop parsley and fresh mint leaves.
- Mix all of the ingredients together with olive oil, salt, cumin, baharat mix and black pepper. Add the rice and mix. Your stuffing is now ready.
- Stuff the eggplants with the rice veggie stuffing, but make sure that the rice takes only two thirds of the space in the aubergine and is loose as the rice will expand while cooking and can become a bit messy and aubergines might even break.
To cook the stuffed aubergines:
- Arrange the stuffed aubergines/eggplants in a pot. Then add water or vegetable stock and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add tomato paste or blended tomatoes with garlic, 2 bay leaves and a few mint leaves (fresh or dried). Cook on medium heat for around 40 minutes or until the rice is soft.Cover with a plate to help the aubergines stay in place, you could also place a mug on top if the plates starts to move.
- Cook for about 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are cooked and soft. While the aubergines are being cooked, try the sauce and see if it needs more salt. Add more salt to taste.
- Serve warm in a plate or bowl with some extra tomato sauce from the pot. Eat with yogurt or pita bread.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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