Served as an easy vegetarian side dish or entree, this eggplant will delight even the most picky vegetable eater. The eggplant becomes soft and tender in the oven and absorbs the flavors of tomato, onion, and bell pepper for a wonderful Middle Eastern dish. Its formal name is Imom bayeldi. I made this dish for Thanksgiving dinner; it was a big hit with my Armenian grandmother! It can also be served as a main dish with sides of Tabuli salad, hummus, and a whole wheat pita. I hope you enjoy this taste of Armenia from my family to yours!
Stuffed Eggplant Spears (Makes 12)
- 2 large eggplants
- 1/4 cup (60ml)olive oil, divided in halves
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 red or green bell pepper, or combination of both, cut in 1-inch (2.5cm) strips
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 8-oz (238 ml) can no salt tomato sauce, divided in halves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper
- Parsley for garnish
9″ X 13″ (33 x 23 x 5 cm) Baking dish
|Cooked eggplants. Look for only slightly brown|
2. While eggplants are baking, prepare the filling. Chop the garlic, onions, tomatoes, and bell pepper. In a medium to large sauté pan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil and place all garlic, onions, and peppers on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or onions become tender. Then add tomatoes and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool.
3. When the eggplants are done, place eggplants in 13″ X 9″ baking dish. Slice each eggplant spear vertically with a fork and knife, being careful not to cut through the skin. Pry open and fill with 2-3 Tablespoons filling.
4. Cover stuffed eggplant with 1/2 of the tomato sauce. Either cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or set oven to 350 F to bake. Before serving, uncover plastic wrap, place the remaining tomato sauce on eggplant and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Garnish with snipped parsley. For an authentic Middle Eastern meal, serve with whole wheat pita, hummus, tzaziki, and tabuli salad. This item stores well in the refrigerator for lunch the next day.
|Served with another Armenian favorite, Spinach Patties|