Served as an easy vegetarian side dish or entree, this eggplant will delight even the most picky eater. The eggplant becomes tender in the oven and absorbs the flavors of tomato, onion, and bell pepper for a wonderful Middle Eastern dish. I made this dish for Thanksgiving; it was a big hit with my Armenian grandmother! Serve with sides of tabuli salad, hummus, and a whole wheat pita. I hope you enjoy this taste of Armenia from my family to yours!
- 2 large eggplants
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
- ½ onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce with no salt added
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pinch chopped fresh parsley, or to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Cut eggplants in 1/2, then cut each 1/2 into thirds, leaving 12 eggplant spears total. Place on a baking sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Roast in the preheated oven until fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
While eggplants are cooking, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a medium to large pan. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the hot pan and cook until onions become tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Remove eggplants from the oven and let cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer eggplants to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Slice each spear vertically using a fork and knife, being careful not to cut through skin. Pry each open and fill with 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato filling. Cover with tomato sauce.
Bake in the preheated oven until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.
Prep time: 30 mins / Cooking time: 45 mins / Total time: 1 hr 20 mins
Serving: 4 / Yield: 4 servings