Tomato Series, Part 1: Barley & Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

Hello, readers! I bet you are wondering where the heck have I been… And if you weren’t, I will tell you anyway. On Sunday, August 9th I married my fella of seven years. Tying the knot was everything I pictured it to be and even more. It truly was the best day of my life.

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All the planning and prepping was pretty time consuming, but I am back and better than ever with some new and awesome stuff.

Wedding planning and working to get slim and trim inspired me to prepare healthy meals ahead of time on Sundays or Mondays so I didn’t have to think about what I was going to eat when I would come home starving after a long day of work. It’s just so lovely when everything is all planned out for me by the earlier-in-the-week version of myself. She is typically a gal who starts her week off really well organized, goal oriented, and she’s very proactive about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I love when I get all of my ducks in a row on a Sunday or a Monday so that come Wednesday, when the week is in full swing and I become the “if my head wasn’t attached to my neck, I’d probably misplace it” version of myself, AT LEAST I don’t have to think of what I am going to eat because it’s already done! Pretty cool.

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Now my trick has been to think of healthy options that are also economical. Is this the year of weddings for anyone else? I have more than a handful of weddings this year (including my own) and that means bridal showers and bachelorette parties as well. If my bank account could talk it would already be saying things like “Excuse you??? Girl, you better take it easy.” That’s why I need to start coming up with recipes on a budget. I REALLY love perusing the produce department of a grocery store probably more than a healthy, normal amount, so I am trying to reel it in or at least buy just a LITTLE bit of this and that.

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This recipe essentially gives me everything I want from the stipulations that I already mentioned. It is really healthy, super delicious, affordable, and easy to make. Does it get better than that? No. It does not. That’s why I knew right away that I had to share it with my beloved readers. This is going to be our new end-of-summer go-to recipe. I am so excited for all of us because we are going to keep healthy AND have a scrumptious recipe at our fingertips at the same time. YAY VEGGIES AND HEALTHY GRAINS!

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*IMPORTANT TIP: Make the barley and lentils ahead of time so you can make this dish in a pinch when you’re hungry! I usually make about 1.5 times the amount of lentils and barley that this recipe calls for and then use the leftover grains and legumes in other recipes for the week. 

Barley and Lentil Stuffed Eggplant with a Fresh Tomato Sauce
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Roasted Eggplant, Barley and Lentils
  • 3 TBS olive oil, plus ⅛ cup
  • 3 small eggplant, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups barley, cooked
  • 1 cup green lentils, cooked
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roasting Eggplant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Drizzle each half with ½ Tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.Place the eggplant in the oven for 50 minutes to one hour.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and then add cooked lentils and cooked barley, cooking for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Take eggplant out of oven after fully roasted and scoop out the insides of the eggplant. You can cook up the eggplant insides in the pan that you cooked the garlic and lentils in and add that to the barley mix or you can save the eggplant to use at another time.

  4. To make tomato sauce:
  5. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the fresh tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once it comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes longer.

  10. Assembly:
  11. Add barley and cooked lentils mixture to the pot of tomato sauce. Throw in the arugula and mix.
  12. Stuff eggplant with barley, lentil, arugula and tomato mixture.
  13. Enjoy!

 

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