Walnut Stuffed Aubergine

Walnut Stuffed Aubergine

There are many food cultures around the Mediterranean and Middle East that feature aubergines: the Turkish dish imam bayildi , the Egyptian mesa’a’ah, and of course muttabal and baba ganoush – never to be confused.

This recipe takes the warmth of Middle Eastern spices and brings more protein to the table with the nut stuffing. The aubergine remains the star of the show with its silky, unctuous flesh.    

Walnut Stuffed Aubergine
Walnut Stuffed Aubergine
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
5 aubergines – enough to cover the bottom of your dish

Tomato sauce
400g tin of good quality tinned tomatoes
5 garlic cloves; fine slice
1 small red chilli; seeds removed, fine slice
1 red pepper; seeds removed, small dice
1 tbsp cider apple vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black peppercorns
Walnut stuffing
125g shelled nuts: almond, pistachio, walnut (or mix)
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cumin
1 small dried red chilli
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
A handful of soft herb stalks: coriander and/or curly parsley work well
Sea salt
Freshly ground black peppercorns

olive oil
to serve
Soft herb leaves: I like curly parsley, coriander and tarragon; chiffonade


  1. For the tomato sauce, heat a little olive oil in a wide-bottomed pan. Over a low heat cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes before adding the sliced chilli and red pepper. Once softened, pour in the tinned tomatoes – use 2cm of water to wash out the remains sauce in the can. Season and add the vinegar. Continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are broken down.
  2. For the walnut stuffing, place all the ingredients (with 25ml olive oil to start) in a small blender and blitz to fine puree – adding more olive oil if required to bring the mixture together.
  3. Leaving the aubergine stalks intact, cut them in half lengthways. Fill the cut with the stuffing – push the halves back together and, running your finger round the edge, clean off any excess.
  4. Heat a casserole dish, add a drizzle of olive oil and carefully place the stuffed aubergines on the bottom. Soften the bottom side of the aubergine over a low heat (you should be able to hear a sizzle) for 10 minutes before carefully turning the aubergines over. Cook that side for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the sauce over the top of the aubergines, use a large spoon to slightly lift each aubergine to allow the sauce to reach the bottom of the dish.
  6. Cover the casserole dish with its lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the aubergines are soft and unctuous.
  7. Serve the aubergine with a good spoon of sauce and some delicious black rice. Scatter with the soft herbs.


Walnut Stuffed Aubergine
Walnut Stuffed Aubergine
Walnut stuffed aubergine

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