When I was little, my mum called these “papoutsakia” (little shoes) and traditionally she made them using small eggplants. I remember them tasting delicious! However, I think you’ve all realised that I like to create my own ‘version’ of mum’s dishes and so mine are called “papoutsares!” (large shoes) because I like to do things BIG! hehehe

Now my goal was to get my daughter to eat this dish and telling her the name of the dish was one way of making it fun. For some reason she didn’t find it funny. Is it a generation thing? In a maturely 10 year old serious voice she said, “why would I want to eat something that is called a shoe? Would it end up being smelly like a shoe? Shouldn’t they call it little boat or something like that?” So in a swoop, it no longer was funny. Sometimes she makes me feel like I am the child and she is the parent.

Anyway, back to the recipe. If you're into stuffed vegetables, then you’ll love this recipe. You may find some recipes that make this using mince meat and turkish spices but for this dish I love the simplicity of using vegetables and basic seasoning as the stuffing. The eggplant and sautéd onions are so sweet, moist and full of flavour that you’ll want to add this to your meat free Monday dinner list.

Make sure when you pick your eggplants for this particular recipe that the stalk is green, the eggplant has a smooth skin and firm consistency and has no black spots. You will notice that the purple skin will go slightly darker and brown when cooked, but this is absolutely normal. So what will you be cooking tonight? Enjoy!x

Serves 6

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 45 minutes

3 large, long eggplants

4 cloves garlic minced

3 large onions thinly sliced

2 fresh tomatoes peeled and diced

1 tbs tomato paste

2 cups kale leaves finely chopped

1/2 cup parsley finely chopped

3 tbs olive oil plus extra for drizzling (be generous with the olive oil)

6 tbs parmesan cheese OR vegan parmesan cheese

2 tbs gluten free breadcrumbs

1/4 cup gluten free Croutons OR 2 tbs gluten free rice breadcrumbs

sea salt and pepper (season well)

  1. Cut eggplant in half lengthways and remove pulp leaving a 1cm thick shell. Season with a little black pepper only. Cube pulp and set both shell and pulp aside.

  2. Using a mortar and pestle crush the croutons and then combine in a bowl with the parmesan cheese. Set aside for later.

  3. In a large non stick pan add the olive oil and onion and sauté. Then add the chopped pieces of eggplant and sauté for a further minute , stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the kale, parsley and garlic, tomato paste and fresh tomatoes and stir whilst cooking for a further 2 minutes. Season well with sea salt and pepper. Take off heat and stir through the crouton/ parmesan mixture.

  5. Divide mixture evenly between the eggplant shells. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil all around the eggplant, especially over the 1cm thick outer shell. Sprinkle stuffing with the breadcrumbs.

  6. Place in baking pan lined with baking paper at 180C for 40 minutes or until shell is tender.

  7. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and an extra drizzle of first cold pressed olive oil.

Note: Orgran have GF Crouton. This allows any excess liquid the eggplant releases to be absorbed. It is not necessary to add but it does keep the eggplant firmer. If you can not find any croutons, just add gf breadcrumbs.

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