Stuffed vegetables never seem to disappoint me. They’re simple to make, easily nutritious and are a wonderful way to use up excess produce in your fridge. These stuffed eggplant boats are no exception and come from my good friend Julie Wampler of Table for Two and now author of Dinner for Two, a cookbook devoted to meals for two people. Genius idea, right?
Julie and I met aboard the Princess Cruise line last Spring and have remained close since. While I don’t get to see her often, I pay close attention to her snapchats of her new puppy Winston Wampler (the Double W) and her incredible flair for Asian cooking. A few weeks ago, I watched her make crispy dumplings and nearly drooled all over my phone while riding the train. Dank dumplings, Julie.
Honestly, I’m excited to share her cookbook with you because I know many of my readers are cooking for two people. As a matter of fact, it became evident after reviewing my reader survey that many of you are looking for recipes that serve 2-4 people! Don’t worry, more of those to come.
If I could sum up the book in one sentence it would go like this: Simple comfort food recipes with approachable ingredients and wonderful flavors.
Out of all the recipes in Dinner for Two, I chose this one specifically because of all the nutritious veggies, protein-packed turkey and that bubbly cheese on top. I only made slight variations to Julie’s recipe (using lean ground turkey, a little less oil and less cheese), other than that everything is the same. The flavors and spices are just right and we LOVE topping it with mozzarella and/or pepper jack cheese. Also, a good shake of hot sauce is a must on just about anything. You guys know how I roll.
Lastly, if you haven’t checked out Julie’s site yet, you must! Some of my favorite recipes from her include:
More healthy dinners to try:
Julie’s Stuffed Eggplant Boats
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)
- ½ onion, diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 5 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- ½ pound lean ground turkey (I use 99%)
- ¼ cup canned, diced tomatoes, drained (I used fresh cherry tomatoes)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella
- Slice the eggplant in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the insides, being careful to leave a ¼ inch border around the side and not to pierce to the eggplant skin. Finely chop the meaty flesh of the eggplant and set it aside. Place the eggplant halves to the side.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch oven safe casserole dish.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini, onion, and garlic to the skillet. Sauté until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, eggplant flesh, and ground turkey to the skillet, crumbling the ground turkey with a spatula or wooden spoon. Continue to sauté until vegetables have softened and turkey is fully cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the tomato, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Toss to incorporate.
- Remove skillet from heat and using a large spoon evenly divide the filling between the eggplant halves.
- Evenly sprinkle mozzarella on top of the two eggplant halves and gently place them into the prepared casserole dish.
- Bake uncovered for 35 minutes. Let eggplants sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil and extra tomatoes.
To make vegetarian: I suggest subbing in 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas or white beans instead of using turkey.
To make paleo: leave off cheese
Recipe slightly adapted from Dinner for Two and published with permission. Photography by Sarah Fennel.