Eggplant smeared with Chermoula, a simple Middle Eastern Moroccan spice paste made with everyday spices, baked until crispy on the surface and molten inside, then topped with a delicious spiced minced / ground beef. At 459 calories a serving, this is one of those simple, amazing meals that just happens to be healthy!
I promised you more recipes that taste amazing, are satisfying and yet low in calories. And this one hits it out of the park.
Other than using lean ground beef (mince), I didn’t do anything to convert this into a “skinny” version. This is simply how I make it.
The key is baking eggplant that’s been smeared with a Middle Eastern spice called Chermoula. I use a recipe very slightly adapted from this one by Yotam Ottlenghi, from his cookbook Jerusalem which happens to be one of my all time favorites.
When you cut into the surface of an eggplant, slather on the spice paste then bake it, magic happens. The eggplant becomes juicy inside and forms a beautiful crust on the surface. It’s a perfect flavour and texture combo.
The original recipe by Yotam is vegetarian and is topped with bulgar. But I really love this topped with beef because……well, to be honest, bulgar is not a pantry staple in my household. Whereas I’m always looking for interesting ways to use ground beef!
Oh, the spice paste serves double duty here because I use it for the beef too!
A dollop of yoghurt and a simple salad on the side and dinner is served.
460 calories for this entire plate. Can you believe that? It’s really satisfying. You won’t miss carbs because it’s so substantial – it’s 2 eggplant halves per person. It’s loaded with flavour, different textures, and I really think this is a unique way to use run-of-the-mill ground beef to make something a little different and yet is so easy to make.
Happy hump-day everyone! Counting down the days until the weekend! – Nagi x
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp pure chili powder (Note 1) (or cayenne pepper), adjust to taste
- ½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Rind of 1 lemon (use fine grater)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium eggplants, about 20cm/8" long (Note 1)
- Olive oil spray
- 1½ tbsp pine nuts
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ small onion, finely diced
- 200g beef mince, lean
- 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
- 1 cucumber, small, diced
- 1 tsp cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Pinch of sumac (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Yoghurt, plain thick (Note 1)
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Mix the Chermoula Paste ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cut each eggplant in half horizontally, then use a small knife to cut diamonds into it without piercing the flesh. Turn the eggplant over and make 2 x 1cm / ⅓" incisions in the skin of each eggplant - excess water seeps out while roasting.
- RESERVE 2 teaspoons of the Chermoula Paste and slather the rest onto the surface of the eggplant. Place onto a baking tray, spray with olive oil (or other oil or drizzle with oil) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until eggplant is soft and cooked through and the surface is nice and crusty. Remove from oven.
- Meanwhile, heat a non stick fry pan over high heat. Add pine nuts and quickly toast until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
- Add ½ tbsp olive oil into the skillet and heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Then add beef and cook, breaking it up as you go. When the beef is mostly cooked, but still has bits of pink, add the reserved 2 tsp of Chermoula. Cook until the beef is browned and fragrant - about 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove beef from the stove. Mix through pine nuts and cilantro/coriander. Set aside.
- Salad: Combine ingredients in a bowl.
- Pile beef onto eggplants. Serve with salad on the side, yoghurt to dollop on the eggplant and extra lemon wedges.
2. To make the yoghurt even tastier, mix ¼ cup of yoghurt with ½ garlic clove, minced, a small squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.
Nutrition per serving – 2 eggplant halves (i.e. one whole eggplant) per serving, plus side salad. The serving size is quite generous – this is a very satisfying meal!