For most people, Halloween is synonymous with sugary indulgence. From handfuls of candy to haunted cakes, most people completely abandon their ideas about healthy eating. The very mention of vegetables on this sinfully sweet holiday is almost unheard of.
Spooky sweets shouldn’t get to have all the fun. With a plethora of shapes, textures, and colors, vegetables have wonderful potential to get a Halloween make over as well. This dish will make a wonderfully unexpected addition to any Halloween party spread. Plus the savory vegetables will help balance whatever sweets you are sure to consume as the evening progresses.
These eggplants have garlic to ward off any vampires (if that isn’t your intent for the evening, be sure to grab a stick of gum or some handful junior mints) while the onions make surprisingly convincing guts and the tomatoes give the appearance of blood.
This is a traditional Turkish dish that is perfect for any occasion, spooky intentions aside. It is perfectly salty and spicy and fresh all at once. Add some beans or beef crumbles into the filling and you have a complete meal.
I used fresh basil, thyme, and oregano in this dish because here in sunny California, my herb plants are still thriving, but feel free to substitute dried herbs or use different herbs altogether depending on what you have access to.
Blood and Guts Stuffed Eggplant
Adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen
- 5-6 long, purple Chinese or Japanese eggplants (leave the ends in tact, don’t remove the stems)
- 5-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 12 large, whole cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced latitudinally
- 1 large onion sliced into very thin, half-moon style slices
- 1 Bell Pepper
- 1 spicy pepper (like Fresno Pepper or Anaheim Pepper)
- 2 large tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, julienned
- 1/3 cup oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large tomato, grated (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel the eggplants in stripes, leaving about half of the purple skin on the eggplant. Generously salt the exterior of the eggplant to make it less bitter, and set aside for 45 min (don’t worry, you’ll wash it off later).
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat in a deep sauté pan. Add onions, garlic, and peppers. Stir frequently to prevent browning. Continue to sauté the vegetables until the onions become transparent. Stir frequently to prevent browning of onions and garlic.
- After onions are cooked, add the finely diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper into the sauté pan. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the vegetable mixture from heat and allow it to cool.
- Wash the eggplants, dry. Heat the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (preferably nonstick, if not you may need to add more oil), and lightly brown the eggplants on each side for 1-2 minutes. Set the eggplants in a baking dish to cool.
- Cut an opening slit through the middle of each eggplant, being careful not to cut all the way through the eggplant. Use your fingers to expand the opening slightly, so that there is a little pocket in the middle of the eggplant.
- Stuff the pockets of the eggplants with the tomato-onion filling, equally divide the filling among the five eggplants. Season with a little more salt and pepper to taste.
- Top the eggplants with the grated tomato into the baking pan,if desired. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, then make several slits on the foil to let the steam escape while baking.
- Bake the eggplants for 45 minutes or until the eggplants are soft and fully cooked.
Fell free to dress up your eggplants with any spooky props from the party store. Fake bugs could be a fun added touch!