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
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. ***
- 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)
Prep & cook the eggplant.
- Wash & dry the eggplant.
- Cut in half lengthwise.
- 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.
- Coat the flesh side of the eggplant with EVOO. Season simply with salt & pepper.
- Bake skin side up in a preheated 350° oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your eggplant.
- 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".
- In a shallow pan over medium low heat, add enough EVOO to coat the bottom.
- Sauté the onions, garlic, & ginger until fragrant. DO NOT let the garlic & ginger brown or it will be bitter.
- Add in the tomatoes & greens and cook down until the greens are just starting to wilt.
- Season to taste with salt & pepper. Move to a plate for later.
- 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.
- Add the bell pepper to the sausage & cook until tender crisp.
- Add the greens mixture from step 4 back into the pan with the sausage.
- 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.
- Load the completed stuffing into the eggplant shells/skin. Pile it on pretty heavy & pack it down.
- Sprinkle the tops with a good coating of your favorite cheddar cheese - I used a combination of mild & aged white cheddar.
- Nestle the shrimp into the cheese. Top with fresh ground black pepper & a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 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.