Couscous-stuffed eggplant with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and tahini sauce

2 Servings, 670 Calories/Serving

40 Minutes

This Middle Eastern-inspired dish takes eggplant to a whole new level, with a stuffing made of buttery couscous, soft cherry tomatoes and chickpeas spiced with za’atar. Persian cucumbers make up a crunchy, fresh side salad that’s enriched with a tahini sauce, a sesame paste that tastes best when mixed with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup couscous
  • 1 ½ teaspoon za’atar
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • small bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Persian cucumbers

Instructions

1

Bake eggplant shell

Heat oven to 400°F. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and scoop out center with a spoon, reserving flesh, leaving about ¼ inch of the shell. Drizzle shell with oil and season with salt. Put the eggplant shells cut side up on a baking sheet and bake in the hot oven until the eggplant is tender and slightly blistered, 20 to 22 minutes. Meanwhile:
*Finely chop remaining eggplant flesh and toss with two pinches of salt.
*Peel shallots and thinly slice.
*Peel garlic and mince.

2

Cook couscous

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring ¾ cup water and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil. Stir in the couscous, remove pan from heat and cover. Let the couscous rest until all the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

3

Sauté aromatics, eggplant

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add two thirds of the shallots — reserving the rest for cucumber salad — and a pinch of salt, and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half of the minced garlic and the za’atar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the eggplant and cook, mashing occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the eggplant is completely soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile:
*Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
*Drain chickpeas.
*Rinse parsley, pick leaves off stem and coarsely chop.
*Stir the tomatoes, chickpeas and half of parsley into pan and cook until tomatoes are just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, toss in couscous until combined.

4

Make tahini sauce, cucumber salad

In a small bowl, combine the tahini with the remaining minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt. Rinse cucumbers, trim the ends, cut in half lengthwise and then dice. In another small bowl, toss the diced cucumber with the remaining shallots, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt.

5

Finish, plate

Fill the eggplant shells with couscous mixture. Divide cucumber salad evenly between two plates. and dizzle both the eggplant and the salad with tahini dressing. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve.