Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis 
Active Time
45 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
Yield
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 stuffed eggplant half)

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. 

How to Make It

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Drizzle eggplant halves with yogurt sauce, and sprinkle evenly with pistachios and remaining 1 tablespoon mint.

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