If you’ve ever experienced the disappointment that is a bland eggplant boat hidden under copious amounts of sauce and cheese… rest assured, this isn’t that. A variety of dried spices provide a wealth of warm, aromatic flavors, while ground lamb delivers a distinct richness, and fresh mint provides a pop of herbaceous energy—ultimately, making for an incredibly satisfying meal. Even if you’re not always on Team Eggplant, we’re confident that this flavor-packed dish may very well be a preparation you of the veggie you really enjoy. When shopping, look for eggplants with firm skin and no bruises. If you have trouble finding ground lamb, you can definitely substitute a different ground meat, like beef or turkey, in it’s place—just be sure to use a ground meat with at least 10% fat.
2 (8-oz.) medium eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup hot cooked white rice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachios
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise through stem. Cut eggplant flesh lengthwise in 3/4-inch intervals, cutting almost to, but not through, the skin. Cut eggplant flesh crosswise in 3/4-inch intervals, cutting almost to, but not through, the skin. Drizzle eggplant flesh evenly with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Place eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and cool 10 minutes. Scoop out eggplant flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick border. Chop eggplant flesh, and set aside.
Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add lamb, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Add onion to skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon to onion, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add onion mixture, eggplant flesh, rice, 1 tablespoon of the mint, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to lamb. Stir just until combined. Divide mixture evenly among eggplant skins, and return to prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400°F until eggplant is browned and filling sets, 15 to 20 minutes.
Drizzle eggplant halves with yogurt sauce, and sprinkle evenly with pistachios and remaining 1 tablespoon mint.
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