Stuffed Eggplant

It must be eggplant season? Suddenly they’re beautiful AND plentiful AND affordable. Our food system is so out of whack I NEVER really know what’s in season. And what’s IN season in the lower 48 (our cute little nickname for the rest of the United States) is usually NEVER in season up here or just plain doesn’t grow here without serious help. So saying “this must be eggplant season” is simply a guess for me. We don’t grow them in Alaska and if we did they would be a culmination of summer not a spring-ish thing.

Can we talk spring for a mo? yes? Good. We’re ready for it any time it feels like rolling in. About 2 weeks ago we had this lovely bright warm weekend and dreams of spring were right there, so tempting. Then it got really cold, you know about zero for a while, we had some wind, brrr but we persevered because we had that one weekend of nice-ness.

Then last weekend we got the rug pulled out from under us, snow was coming for us, 12-18 inches of it. For many of my friends it was the last straw, there was muttering, grumping, cussing and general vile reactions to the snow, all goodwill towards winter were gone. Well, we got snow, quite a blinding 24 hour or so storm, only actual accumulation was about 8-10 inches. We are done, winter has long stayed past her welcome, in fact, our goodwill left 2-3 weeks ago, winter should follow suit. What was I talking about? Ah yes eggplant and the season of it, or not.

Stuffed Eggplant

Course: Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine: Paleo
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 2 medium zucchinis sliced in half and then chopped
  • 14 ounce jar crushed tomatoes or the equivalent amount
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tsp oil
  • pinch salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups spinach divided
  • 2 TBSP sunflower seeds optional

Instructions

  • cut the eggplant in half long ways, lightly grease them with the oil, turn them upside and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, just long enough to be able to scoop out the insides
  • meanwhile begin browning the sausage
  • once browned add the mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer
  • when the eggplants are done scoop the insides out and set the shells aside
  • chop the eggplant and add it to the sausage mix
  • stir to combine and let gently simmer
  • in the bowl of a food processor combine the basil, oil, salt, garlic and 1/2 cup of spinach
  • whirl to combine, scrape down the sides and whirl again
  • add the basil spinach mix to the sausage and stir well
  • add the spinach and heat for one minute more
  • divide the sausage between the eggplant shells, top with the sunflower seeds, cover and bake again for another 30 minutes

Now look if you’re not Paleo for heaven’s sake just use pesto instead of making a Paleo version. In fact, I make a LOT of pesto every summer and I never add cheese, it doesn’t freeze well in my opinion, and we love it. So maybe cut the work time on this by making a batch of Paleo pesto and then freeze it in portions that are easy to use. Seriously we start every winter with about 10-12 batches of pesto in the freezer, makes using it so easy, it’s like adding a flavor bomb to your cooking.