Baby eggplants stuffed with Moroccan flavored quinoa

quinoa stuffed baby eggplantsCapsicum, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants, you name it, I’ll stuff it. Be it with white or brown rice, buckwheat, barley or quinoa, I absolutely love stuffed veggies. Especially when slowly cooked in tomato sauce to reach moist, flavorful perfection.

quinoa stuffed baby eggplantsThe wonderful aromatics I used in this recipe, give the baby eggplants an amazing Moroccan flavor. Cloves, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, cinnamon – throw some raisins and seeds in the stuffing and you’ll be licking your fork/spoon. Add some tomatoes and chili flakes to top those flavors and you’ll be one happy hippo with such a dinner.

And did I mention that quinoa is the mother of all grains?! One cup of cooked quinoa gives us about 16% of our daily protein needs and about 20% of the fibers. It is also rich in nutrients such as vitamin B, magnesium (30% of daily need), phosphorous (about the same), iron, copper and manganese.  You want to eat it! Really you do.

quinoa stuffed baby eggplants

Quinoa stuffed baby eggplants
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • ½ tsp cloves (whole)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • -
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cloves, ground
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • -
  • 8-9 baby eggplants
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 tsp pimenton (paprika)
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 TBSP sunflower seeds (or pine nuts)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • -
  • 1 cup (250 ml) tomato juice
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • -
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Infuse the olive oil with cloves and bay leaves by pouring the oil in a pan on low heat, adding the aromatics and cook, stirring, until they get slightly burned
  2. Take the aromatics out of the pan and add onion.
  3. Sautee for 1-2 minutes then add cumin seeds, coriander powder and cinnamon. Continue to sautee on medium heat until onion is tender.
  4. While onion is cooking, scoop out the eggplant flesh and roughly chopped it.
  5. Add garlic to the pan and the chopped eggplant core and stir. Sautee for a good 10 minutes, adding more olive oil if needed.
  6. Separately combine the uncooked quinoa with the pimenton, a can of tomatoes and ½ cup water.
  7. Once the eggplant is almost cooked, add the quinoa mix to the pan, cover with the lid and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  8. Take the lid off and allow the mix to reduce to a consistency suitable for stuffing the eggplant (not very liquid). But careful, the quinoa should not be completely cooked. Otherwise, when we stuff and cook the eggplants it will become mushy and not very nice.
  9. Take the stuffing off the heat and stir in the sunflower seeds and the raisins and season with salt, pepper and chili flakes.
  10. Stuff the eggplants and top each stuffed eggplant with its own eggplant stem. Carefully arrange them in a French oven casserole (or an oven proof pot), fitting them snugly so that they stand upright.
  11. Add 250 ml tomato juice and 250 water (to almost reach the stuffing, but not
  12. touch it), drizzle some olive oil, cover with the lid and cook it on the stove on medium heat until done (about 15-20 minutes).

C.

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