Stuffed Eggplants with Millet, Dates, Nuts and Pomegranates
Eating a clean and healthy plant-based diet supports the body when dealing with stress. Emotional tension and chronic stress lead to physiological and hormonal changes that can contribute to anxiety, inflammation and disease. This recipe includes ingredients that are nurturing the body with antioxidants, vitamin C, B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, manganese and copper, protein, healthy carbs and fiber, which are all needed for the nervous system and for immune health.
Millet is an ancient seed that has been a common food staple around the world for thousands of years. It is a heart-healthy and gluten-free choice with a low-glycemic index. Millet is a great alternative to rice or whole grains, as it cooks quickly and is very versatile, with a mild and slightly sweet flavor, which makes it a great choice for both sweet and savory dishes.
Eggplants and pomegranates are in season in Florida in October, so paired with millet, dates, nuts and assorted Asian and Middle-Eastern spices and herbs, this fragrant dish is a delight for the taste buds.
Yields 2 servings:
1 cup millet
2 cups water
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
12 raw almonds or nuts of choice
1 fresh pomegranate
1 handful fresh cilantro
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Cook the millet with 2 cups of water and 1 pinch of salt until done (about 20 minutes), remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and let stand until the water is completely evaporated, then set aside.
Wash the eggplants, cut in halves, and carve out the flesh carefully with a spoon, leaving about half an inch of flesh on the skin.
Put the eggplant-shells onto a baking paper on a baking sheet hollow-side-up and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the spooned-out eggplant flesh into small pieces and set aside.
Cut the almonds or nuts of choice into small pieces and roast them lightly in a dry frying pan until they start to brown and become fragrant, stirring frequently, then add to the millet.
Cut the dates open and remove the pit, then chop the dates into small pieces and set aside.
Cut the pomegranate in half, and with a spoon, remove the seeds carefully and set aside.
Peel and chop the onion and add to a frying pan with a couple of spoons of water, stir-fry until it becomes fragrant.
Add the spices and stir-fry together with the onion for about a minute until all becomes fragrant.
Peel and chop the garlic into small pieces and add to the pan.
Add the chopped eggplant flesh and the chopped dates to the pan, and stir-fry for a few minutes until the eggplant softens. If needed, add a little bit of water to prevent it from sticking.
Once done, add the cooked millet and the nuts to the eggplant mix in the frying pan.
Wash and chop the cilantro and put a little bit to the side, then add the rest to the mix in the pan.
Stir-fry the eggplant filling for another couple of minutes to make sure all is hot and mixed well.
Taste the mix and adjust salt and spices.
Remove the eggplant-shells from the oven and fill the shells with the filling mixture.
Sprinkle the stuffed eggplants with the pomegranate seeds and the rest of the chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Eliane Baggenstos, RN, LMT, certified health coach and plant-based diet expert. For more information, visit PlantBased.expert.