Cajun Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant gets a bad rep from everyone I know except my vegan & vegetarian friends who love it as a meat substitute. It’s true that eggplant can be thick sliced or cubed, seasoned & cooked to mimic the flavor & texture of your favorite protein. But it’s also great for so many other things, like this Cajun stuffed eggplant!

My husband thinks he hates eggplant. I think he just hasn’t had good eggplant. I make stuffed eggplant now & then and he’s liked it but not loved it. Until I made this recipe.

Cajun Stuffed Eggplant

Cajun Stuffed Eggplant

This recipe speaks to his southern Louisiana roots with a combination of sausage & shrimp reminiscent of gumbo. I mixed in other spices & ingredients that I love from my southeast Texas childhood and from our backyard garden.

The result is a perfect marriage of flavors that’s super hearty & nutritious! It’s so good, it’s almost addictive!

*** Be warned… this is NOT a quick cooking meal. But most of the cook time is hands off. ***

Yield: 2-4 servings

Cajun Stuffed Eggplant

Cajun Stuffed Eggplant

Cajun Stuffed Eggplant With Shrimp

Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh globe eggplant
  • 6 oz of sausage, cut into rounds & quartered
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped (I used a yellow bell)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 cup of fresh greens (I used a combo of collards & kale)
  • 7 oz of canned diced tomatoes (that's half of a standard 14oz can)
  • 8-10 large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • shredded cheddar cheese (choose your favorite & use as much or as little as you like)

Instructions

Prep & cook the eggplant.

  1. Wash & dry the eggplant.
  2. Cut in half lengthwise.
  3. Cut the flesh into cubes without going through the skin. This is to make scooping out the flesh easier & you won't have to cut it later.
  4. Coat the flesh side of the eggplant with EVOO. Season simply with salt & pepper.
  5. Bake skin side up in a preheated 350° oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your eggplant.
  6. Once done, scoop out the cubes & set aside for later. (Leave the oven on.)

*Note: you are looking for eggplant that is cooked through but not mushy. Start testing the texture about 20 minutes in by poking with a fork. It should go through fairly easily with just a bit a firmness.

Cook the "stuffing".

  1. In a shallow pan over medium low heat, add enough EVOO to coat the bottom.
  2. Sauté the onions, garlic, & ginger until fragrant. DO NOT let the garlic & ginger brown or it will be bitter.
  3. Add in the tomatoes & greens and cook down until the greens are just starting to wilt.
  4. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Move to a plate for later.
  5. To the same pan, add the sausage & cook for about 3-5 minutes. I like a little char on my sausage so I cook them 5 minutes or so. It also gives some great flavor from the pan drippings.
  6. Add the bell pepper to the sausage & cook until tender crisp.
  7. Add the greens mixture from step 4 back into the pan with the sausage.
  8. Add the eggplant flesh to the same pan & mix everything together well.

*Note: the goal here is to get a little bit of everything in 1 bite. Taste & adjust the seasoning as needed.

Stuff It!

  1. Load the completed stuffing into the eggplant shells/skin. Pile it on pretty heavy & pack it down.
  2. Sprinkle the tops with a good coating of your favorite cheddar cheese - I used a combination of mild & aged white cheddar.
  3. Nestle the shrimp into the cheese. Top with fresh ground black pepper & a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
  4. Put the stuffed eggplant back in the hot oven, turn it off, & let sit until the shrimp is pink & the cheese is melted. It should be no more than 5 minutes.

Doing it this way prevents me from overcooking the shrimp.

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