Served with a green salad on the side, this is a wholesome and filling meal, which is packed with healthy ingredients and Mediterranean flavours. If you prefer, you could swap the brown rice for bulgar wheat or quinoa with equally beneficial results.
You could also swap the aubergine for marrow or butternut squash, roasting the flesh in the pan with the other vegetables. This is an ideal prepare-ahead dish; made a day ahead and left overnight in the fridge, the aubergine flesh firms up and the flavours in the filling intensify. Eat hot from the oven with a green salad or cut into wedges and serve cold – ideal for a picnic lunch.
Stuffed aubergines (Serves 2)
1 large aubergine (or two small ones)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
50g brown rice
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
75g button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp tomato purée
100g tinned tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
25g pitted black olives
1 small bunch of basil, leaves picked and torn into pieces
75g mozzarella (full or low fat)
Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200/gas 7. Slice the aubergines in half lengthways, leaving the stem on. Carefully scoop out the flesh, to create two shells, with a boarder about 1cm thick. Brush the shells with olive oil and rub all over with the cut side of one of the garlic cloves. Season with salt and black pepper and transfer to a baking tray. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, draining well.
Peel and finely chop the two remaining garlic cloves. Chop the aubergine flesh. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 4-6 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Increase the heat slightly and add the aubergine flesh, sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato puree and dried oregano. Season with salt and black pepper and cook until all the vegetables are soft and the aubergine is starting to brown slightly.
Tip the contents of the pan into a large bowl, add the cooked rice, olives, basil and mozzarella and mix well. Add a squeeze of lemon and taste to check the seasoning.
Remove the aubergine from the oven and reduce the heat to 200C/180C/gas 6. Fill the shells with the rice mix and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes. Serve with a crisp salad on the side.
Nutritional information for average, healthy stuffed aubergine, per serving:
Total fat: 8.0g
Saturated fat: 2.0g
Follow Arts & Life on Twitter to keep up with all the latest news and events @LifeNationalUAE