Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini is full of Turkish flavors and topped with an Orange Pomegranate Salsa. A simple and satisfying weeknight meal, this recipe comes from The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen cookbook.
Orange and Pomegranate Salsafor serving (optional, but highly recommended)
finely chopped cilantro leavesfor garnish
Orange and Pomegranate Salsa
3mediumblood oranges (or substitute navel or cara cara oranges)peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1cuppeeled and chopped roasted beetscut into 1/4-inch pieces
1smallserrano or fresno pepperseeded and chopped finely
1garlic clovechopped finely
1/3cupfresh cilantrostems removed and chopped
1/4teaspoonsaltor as needed
Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Using a small paring knife, cut the eggplant flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the inside of the eggplant. This will help hold the filling. Chop up the removed eggplant flesh and set aside.
Drizzle a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until mostly cooked through. Make a space in the center of the pan and add the onions. Cook together until the onions are softened, another 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the chopped eggplant and garlic and cook everything together until the eggplant softens and the garlic is cooked. Use a large spoon to help break up the eggplant and meat so it becomes one homogenous mixture.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, Aleppo pepper, paprika, and salt and stir everything together. Taste for seasoning.
Arrange the eggplant shells on a foil-lined baking sheet, stuff the meat mixture inside the eggplant and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the eggplants are cooked and deepened in color.
Serve with tahini and top with orange pomegranate salsa and cilantro, if desired.
Orange Pomegranate Salsa
Add the oranges, pomegranate, beets, pepper, garlic, honey, oil, cilantro, and salt to a bowl and stir to combine. Place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen (Page Street Publishing, 2018) by Samantha Ferraro.Liren's Notes:This recipe is an absolute hit with my family and I've made it quite a number of times since the first cook. I love that it can also be made with ground turkey for a lighter option. If you choose to make it with ground turkey, do it with 1/2 breast and 1/2 thigh meat, and add a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce to give it a more beefy flavor.Aleppo pepper is rich in flavor and about half as spicy as red pepper flakes. It can be challenging to find these days, so if you have trouble sourcing Aleppo pepper, substitute with 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or even cayenne pepper.Samantha's Tip: When picking out an eggplant, look for the smaller, younger ones that are far less bitter and less seedy. Also, make sure the eggplant has a nice smooth outer skin with no visible dents or bruising.