2 medium Italian eggplant, about 2–2 ½ pounds total
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 cup baby Bella mushrooms, diced (aka Cremini)
1 ½ tablespoons fresh garlic, diced
1 pound lean ground beef, grass fed if possible to be Whole30 compliant
½ pound ground pork, organic if possible to be Whole30 compliant
4 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Optional, nutritional yeast as a substitute for Parmesan cheese
Trim the end off each eggplant* and cut them in half lengthwise. Sprinkle the tablespoon of salt over the four halves to remove bitterness and set aside.
In a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat, place 2 tablespoons of oil and add pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the onions, peppers and mushrooms and sauté for 7-8 minutes or until just starting to get tender but still a little crunchy. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Push the vegetables to the outside of the pan and add two more tablespoons of oil in the center and add the beef and pork and cook until no longer pink, pulling in the vegetables as the meat browns, about 4-5 minutes
Add the plum tomatoes and cook for three minutes then add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano and basil and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400 drees F.
Rinse the salt from the four eggplant halves and pat dry.
In a separate large skillet over medium high heat, add two more tablespoons of oil. Once hot, place two halves cut side down and fry until browned, then flip and cook on the skin side for a few minutes. Total about 5-6 minutes. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining two halves of eggplant.
Remove four halves to your cutting board and with a paring knife and a spoon, scoop out some of the inside eggplant to your cutting board and dice into pieces. Add back to the pan, and sauté a few minutes then add to the pan with the cooked meat and vegetables.
Line the four eggplant halves in a 13×9 inch or larger casserole pan and fill each half using all of the filling.
Cover with parchment and foil and bake for 30 minutes.
If following Whole30, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and serve. If following a low carb diet, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
*When trimming off the eggplant ends, leave as much still attached as possible so you have room to scoop out the flesh.
Keywords: eggplant, Whole30