Melitzanes Imam… This dish is so good and rich you won’t believe it’s just vegetables (and some feta). The eggplant and onions caramelize as they are cooked and along with tomato and olive oil this dish comes beautifully together.
Now, this dish is known to be Turkish, but it is very popular in Greece as well, as in other areas of the Mediterranean and the Balkans. It is considered a lathero (a category of Greek dishes that are usually vegetarian and cooked in olive oil and tomato) and tastes better the next day.
The original version calls for frying the eggplant. In this recipe I baked the eggplant, it does make it a little lighter on the stomach.
This dish is better when you use narrow longish eggplants, but using the regular eggplant can work, but you may need to cut the eggplant in half instead of using it whole if it is too wide.
Nutritionally, what can I say? We have the eggplant which is a great source of soluble fiber, the kind that lowers cholesterol and controls your blood sugar levels. Eggplant is also rich in heart protective antioxidants.
Along with the onion, tomato and olive oil, once again we have a super-dish full of fiber, good fats and antioxidants and it’s vegan. Of course being Greek we eat it with feta, but even without it, it is delicious.
There are several ways to make this dish, some recipes cook everything together, others cook it on the stovetop, I chose the roasting method and cooking the onions first.
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Mediterranean Eggplant stuffed with Fresh Tomato and Onion
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
- Wash the eggplant. Remove most of the stem. Peel parts of the eggplant lengthwise all around so that you have a striped eggplant. Make 3 deep slits lengthwise about an inch apart.
- Place eggplant in a pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about 1 hour.
- In the meantime start on the onion mixture. Sauté the chopped onion in a pan with 1/3 cup olive oil until soft. Add the chopped garlic, tomato, parsley and sugar and ½ cup water and simmer for about 15-20 minutes minutes. Add additional water if needed. When the mixture is ready it should not be watery.
- Once the eggplant is ready, open one of slits and stuff with the onion mixture. Do this with all the eggplant and place in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with feta. Add a bit of water at the base of the pan as needed, roast for about 40-45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved