Baked Eggplant with Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffing

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Jeff likes to joke I’ll eat anything that is covered in tomatoes and cheese, and he’s not far off, especially when it comes to eggplant. I just don’t get why so many people love this ubiquitous vegetable. It’s bland, it’s mushy, and even poisonous to some (the nightshade-fearing set). Well, I don’t hate it that much, especially if it’s mixed with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh feta cheese. Top it off with crispy breadcrumbs, and watch me scarf it down.
This recipe comes from my stash of Cooking Light recipes. There must be hundreds of tattered and stained recipes stuffed into in my big black file folder, which is where I store the results of 20 plus years of clipping, collecting and creating recipes. I modified this recipe by adding sun-dried tomatoes to up the flavor quotient. Dehydrated or oil packed, these tasty little tomatoes add a layer of richness and flavor to any tomato-based dish.
Baked Eggplant with Savory Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffing
Serves 4
2 medium eggplants, each cut in half lengthwise
1 piece of leftover bread
1 ½ cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup plum tomato, diced
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced (reserve oil)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbls. fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ tsp. salt and pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Score cut side of each eggplant half by making 4 crosswise cuts. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, o a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 10 minutes. Remove the pulp, leaving a ¼-inch thick shell.  Chop the eggplant pullp. Reline the pan with fresh aluminum foil, coated with cooking spray. Place eggplant shell on pan and set aside. Place bread in a food processor, plus until coarse crumbs (about ½ cup). Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large nonstick skillet with 1 tsp. of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, add onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, basil, oregano, and garlic; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat, stir in cheese, parsley salt and pepper. Stuff each eggplant shell with about ½ cup mixture, sprinkle each one with ¼ of the breadcrumbs. Spray breadcrumbs with olive oil cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

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