Tender aubergines, filled with a rich, pesto-infused bulgar wheat stuffing and topped with a layer of golden, melty cheese. A favourite vegetarian dinner.
Kipper: “Yummy. This is yummy.”
“I’d call this… DELICIOUS!”
I might well have predicted that a dish which includes two of my daughter Kipper’s most favourite foods ever – aubergines (eggplants) & pesto – was going to be a big hit. She was all over these, from the golden, melty cheese on the top, through the rich, pesto-infused filling with its tasty bulgar wheat and tender chunks of aubergine, right down to the softly chewy ‘shells’ of hollowed-out aubergine skin.
I should probably give her some credit for the creation of this utterly delicious recipe. A few weeks ago, DH was away for work, and I gave Kipper the opportunity to come up with a dinner recipe herself. Naturally, she chose aubergine and pesto as her two main ingredients. To be honest, I think she would have left it at that! But I persuaded her to add one or two more things, just to make it a bit more substantial. Melty cheese on top was a no-brainer, and that time she agreed to add some breadcrumbs to the filling, to add some carbohydrate.
Unfortunately, DH can’t eat bread. So when I decided to recreate Kipper’s recipe for the whole family, I needed to make a few changes. Out went the breadcrumbs, and in came the bulgar wheat. It’s an ingredient I don’t use nearly enough, as I love it’s distinctive texture and lovely subtle, nutty flavour.
I also added some onions, and plenty of black pepper to season. While this recipe doesn’t call for a long list of ingredients, Kipper’s original was perhaps just a little bit too minimalist!
The end result was fabulous! These gorgeous stuffed aubergines are so easy to make, they’ll definitely be reappearing regularly on our table.
Something on the side
Since these aubergines are packed with bulgar wheat, vegetables and cheese, they already provide almost a complete meal of carbs, veg, protein & fat. However we ate them with a green salad which was a perfect, simple accompaniment.
DH ate a whole aubergine (2 halves), Kipper ate a half, and I ate one and a half halves (3/4 of an aubergine). I would say the recipe (3 aubergines) serves 3-4 people.
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Pesto & bulgar wheat stuffed aubergines
- 160 g bulgar wheat (approx. ¾ cup)
- 800 ml hot water (3½ cups)
- 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 3 medium aubergines
- 2 medium onions
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 6-8 tbsp pesto (be generous!)
- 1-2 tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch salt to taste
- 250 g grated cheese (I used mozzarella)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Place the bulgar wheat, water and bouillon powder in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until just cooked. Drain.
- Meanwhile, cut the aubergines in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the flesh, leaving a hollow 'shell'. Place the aubergine 'shells' in a glass or ceramic baking dish, add 2-3 tbsp water and microwave on high for 10 minutes until soft.
- Chop the scooped out aubergine flesh into small pieces and set aside. Peel and finely chop the onions.
- Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Cook the onions for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add the chopped aubergine flesh and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, until everything is softened and beginning to brown.
- Stir the pesto and the drained bulgar wheat into the aubergine mixture. Add pepper and salt and adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Divide the bulgar wheat mixture between the aubergine 'shells' and top with the grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 45-60 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15-20 minutes to allow the cheese to brown.
If you like stuffed vegetables, check out this recipe for vegan stuffed courgettes with pine nuts, and this list of mouthwatering stuffed vegetables to celebrate the harvest season.
I’m entering this recipe into this weeks’s Meat Free Monday linkup, hosted by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes.