On my recent trip to upstate New York I enjoyed a dinner dish packed with pillowy soft Japanese eggplant.
It was all I could do to eat the rest of my meal, because I was busy cherry-picking for eggplant.
I decided right then and there that I need more eggplant in my life!
This Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant is the perfect cozy dish to start thinking about cozy colder weather dining.
Pour a little cab sauv and let’s get stuffing!
Eggplant and I go wayyyyyy back.
It’s been…shall we say…complicated?
I’ve always been attracted to their big purple bulbous shape at the supermarket, but for the longest time, cooking them correctly eluded me.
Undercooked, they can be rubbery, tough, and awfully offputting.
The secret to the best stuffed eggplant with tender shells and insides…
Are you ready?
Is to play tic tac toe with your eggplant flesh.
Yep, score that eggplant flesh in a checkered pattern so you have a cluster of eggplant cubes to play with after the flesh is soft from the oven.
It takes a bit longer to bake (more of a double bake, really), but it’s a total game changer!
My method of baking the halves separate and then again after stuffing the eggplant promotes even cooking and decreases the amount of oil used to wrangle the eggplant flesh into submission.
I’m talking rubbery hard eggplant transformed into velvety plush goodness.
A lot of the eggplant recipes I’ve seen call for a substantial amount of oil to soften the eggplant.
That doesn’t work well, though, because eggplant is like a giant sponge.
Give it 2 TBS of oil and it will want 2 TBS more.
This recipe is lighter than most eggplant meals out there, and is also gluten free!
I’m obsessed with the mix of savory and sweet going on in the filling of this dish.
Salty green olives paired with sweet plump raisins and popping cherry tomatoes.
You’re going to love the mix of flavors and textures!
When I first started making this dish, I served it over quinoa instead of stuffing it, and then somewhere along the line I decided to just shove it all in the eggplant and call it a meal.
And what a meal it is, friends!
It’s the perfect recipe to flaunt when you’re feeling creative or fancy, while still being easy enough to whip up for easy weeknight meals.
It’s also excellent paired with a good glass of red, like my new favorite 90+ Cellars Lot 94 Cabernet Sauvignon.
This full bodied red wine is a deep red with notes of black currant, mocha, and vanilla.
You can taste cherries before a smooth subtle finish!
I recommend pouring a glass while you wait on the eggplant to bake, because it’s delicious on its own and even better paired with stuffed eggplant!
The sweet and savory flavors of the stuffed eggplant pair perfectly with this well rounded wine.
Enjoy this Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant & Cabernet Sauvignon for a family night, dinner party, or “wine not Wednesday”!
I think it would be perfect for a late summer/fall dining experience when the weather starts to get a bit crisp.
If you’re serving one or two, split the recipe in half, or enjoy leftovers throughout the week.
For serving more than 4, double or triple the recipe and use multiple pans!
Oh, and multiple bottles of wine, duh. 🙂
I like my eggplant served with lots of fresh herbs and vegan parmesan!
If you make this Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant & Cabernet Sauvignon, let me know!
I’d love to see your plants & wine!
Be sure to leave a comment below and rating below so I can use your feedback to make more yums.
For more plants plus wine pairings, check out my Peaches ‘N’ Quinoa Salad & Pinot Grigio, Easy Raw Cashew Cheese & Rosé, Spinach, Artichoke, & Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms With Cabernet and Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus Tahini & Prosecco.
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Hearty veggie-centric dish featuring eggplant stuffed with veggies and quinoa. Fancy enough a special occasion, and easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Serve with your a bottle of Cab Sauvignon for the best plant + wine based pairing!
- 2 medium/large eggplants
- 1–2 TBS avocado oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 c. halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary
- pinch of black pepper
- pinch of Himalayan sea salt (not too much because the olives add sodium!)
- 4 TBS chopped fresh parsley or herbs of choice + more for serving
- OPTIONAL 2 giant handfuls of dark leafy greens, like spinach or kale
- 2 cuos cooked quinoa
- For serving: vegan parmesan, fresh herbs
- 1 bottle 90+ Cellars Lot 94 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Halve two large eggplant and trim off green stem.
- Create a checkered pattern on the flesh side with a knife, careful not to pierce the skin, leaving about 1/2″ from the edges.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the eggplant flesh and set aside. They should fall out in little cubes. If it’s not perfect, don’t worry.
- Place empty shells on the baking sheet facedown and place in oven for 25-30 minutes, until eggplant shells are tender and soft.
- While eggplant shells are baking, prepare your veggies and quinoa.
- Heat avocado oil in a pan over medium heat.
- To the skillet, add onion, and garlic powder and saute for 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add diced eggplant to the pan along with the green olives, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and Himalayan sea sat.
- Heat 10 minutes, then stir in grape tomatoes and the chopped spinach or kale and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in cooked quinoa and mix well, then spoon mixture into hollowed-out eggplant.
- Place eggplant back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes, until the eggplant filling is golden and warm.
- Serve with grated vegan parmesan, fresh herbs, and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Store leftover stuffed eggplant in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
This post is brought to you by 90+ Cellars, but all words and eats are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep me hungry!