Sausage-and-Peppers Stuffed Eggplant

published Aug 8, 2022
Mediterranean Monday
Sausage-and-Peppers Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

A classic combination of Italian sausage and sweet peppers ensures these eggplant boats are hearty and satisfying.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook49 minutes to 58 minutes

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stuffed eggplant in a baking dish
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Sausage and peppers is a classic Italian American combination that’s easy to love. It’s flavor-packed, thanks to juicy, well-spiced Italian sausage, while sweet bell peppers add sweetness and lots of color.

Perhaps most importantly, though, it’s quick to make and very versatile. I toss the mix with pasta, spoon it over creamy polenta, and pile it on toast. Currently, though, I am stuffing it into silky roasted eggplant halves. This doubles up your serving of vegetables and also makes use of all the eggplants and peppers I’ve been carting home from the farmers market. The result is a hearty-yet-wholesome meal that’s the essence of late summer. Serve it simply with a green salad — although a bit of crusty garlic bread is welcome here, too.

Choose Your Own Sausage Adventure

While Italian pork sausage is the most traditional accompaniment to bell peppers, it’s hardly your only choice. You can find garlic- and fennel-heavy sausage in chicken, turkey, and even plant-based vegan form. All can be used here with success — hot or sweet, depending on your spice preference. Or swap the fennel seeds in the recipe with cumin seeds and try fresh chorizo or andouille sausage instead.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Welcome to Mediterranean MondaySheela Prakash‘s monthly column of Mediterranean recipes. Here, Sheela will teach you all about the Mediterranean diet’s feel-good way of cooking and eating, and share vibrant, easygoing recipes. Cook with us using #mediterraneanmonday, and for even more great recipes, order a copy of Sheela’s cookbook Mediterranean Every Day.

Sausage-and-Peppers Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

A classic combination of Italian sausage and sweet peppers ensures these eggplant boats are hearty and satisfying.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 49 minutes to 58 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    small globe eggplants (about 12 ounces each)

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 1

    small red bell pepper (about 6 ounces)

  • 1

    small yellow bell pepper (about 6 ounces)

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup firmly packed freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated)

  • 1 pound

    uncooked hot or sweet Italian sausage

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fennel seeds

  • 1/4 cup

    dry white wine

  • Torn fresh basil or chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Cut 2 small globe eggplants in half lengthwise and place cut-side up in a broiler-safe 9x13-inch baking dish. Using a paring knife, score the eggplant halves with diagonal crosshatches, making sure not to cut through the skin. Brush the cut side of the eggplants with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper.

  3. Roast until very tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, dice 1 small yellow onion, 1 small red bell pepper, and 1 small yellow bell pepper. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 packed cup) or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated. Remove the casings from 1 pound uncooked Italian sausage if needed.

  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and peppers and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  5. Add the sausage, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula into small pieces, until the sausage is cooked through, about 6 minutes.

  6. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine and cook, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until evaporated, about 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat, add half of the Parmesan, and stir to combine.

  7. When the eggplants are ready, remove the baking dish from the oven. Heat the broiler to high. Use a fork to press down on the tender flesh of the eggplants to create space for the filling. Spoon the filling evenly into the shells, heaping it (it’s okay if some falls over the sides). Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

  8. Return the baking dish to the oven and broil until the cheese on top is melted and browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with torn fresh basil or chopped fresh parsley leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.