Eggplants Stuffed With Onions, Peppers, Cheese and Nuts

This is my tweak on a dish my mother used to make often in the summer. I usually bake the eggplants and make the sauce a day before, then sauté the onions and peppers and finish the dish the next day. It can also be baked 1-2 days before you plan to serve it; refrigerate it then gently reheat. I would say that it tastes better the next day.



Serves 4-8


4 eggplants  (about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds)




Olive oil


3 medium onions (about 2/3 pounds), halved and thinly sliced


3 bell peppers (green or red), halved, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips


1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic


1-3 teaspoons Aleppo or Maras pepper, or pepper flakes, to taste


1 teaspoon cumin


1 cup walnuts, coarsely ground


About 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated graviera cheese, good quality peccorino, or aged or smoked cheddar (you can use a combination of cheeses, as I often do)


1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices


1 1/2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce


About 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts


2-3 parsley sprigs (optional)



Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise keeping part of the stem. Score the flesh with a knife, salt generously, and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.


Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplant cut-side up. Brush liberally with olive oil on both sides. Set the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake until the eggplants are golden, about 20 minutes.


(You can bake the eggplants 2-3 days in advance and refrigerate, or you can freeze them for up to 6 months. Bring to room temperature before stuffing.)


Warm 1/4 cup olive oil in a deep skillet, add the onions and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes or until soft. Add the peppers and sauté stirring every now and then for another 8 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, sauté for 1 minute stirring, then remove from the heat. Add pepper, the cumin, the walnuts and most of the cheese –reserve some cheese to top the eggplants– toss to mix the stuffing and taste to adjust the seasoning.


Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).


Chose a baking dish that holds the eggplants snugly. If you like, line with parchment paper. Brush the pan (or paper) with olive oil and line with the tomato slices. Place the eggplants on the tomatoes and with a spoon push the softened flesh to create room for the stuffing. Fill each eggplant half with the onion-pepper mixture, and top with 2-3 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Pour any remaining sauce between the eggplants.


Drizzle the stuffed eggplants with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with some cheese, then bake for 40 minutes, or until bubbling and somewhat charred on top. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Transfer the eggplants to a serving dish and, of you like, top each one with half a tomato slice from the pan, sprinkle with pine nuts and decorate with parsley, if you like.


Serve warm, or at room temperature.





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