The Washington Post

Eggplant Stuffed With Onions, Peppers, Cheese and Nuts

Eggplant Stuffed With Onions, Peppers, Cheese and Nuts 4.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Sep 22, 2019

This take on the classic Turkish dish imam bayildi enriches the stuffing with walnuts and cheese and bakes the eggplant under a blanket of tomato sauce.

Make Ahead: You can bake the eggplants up to 3 days in advance, cool them and refrigerate until needed, or you can freeze them for up to 6 months. Bring to room temperature before cooking.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 4 small Italian eggplants (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 small yellow onions (12 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium red bell peppers (1 pound), stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts (4 ounces), chopped
  • 1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese or cheddar cheese (3 ounces; may substitute shredded vegan cheese, such as Violife or Daiya)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more as needed
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cored and cut into 8 slices
  • 1 cup store-bought marinara or other plain tomato sauce
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, keeping the stem. Score the flesh lightly with a knife and generously season the eggplants with 2 tablespoons salt. Let them drain in a colander set over a bowl for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse with cold water and pat dry with a clean dish towel.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle. Place the eggplants, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Brush liberally with oil on both sides. Bake until the eggplants are golden, about 20 minutes.

In a deep skillet over medium heat, warm the 1/4 cup oil until shimmering. Add the onions and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Stir in the walnuts, cheese, cumin and red pepper flakes. Taste, and add more salt and/or red pepper flakes, as needed.

Choose a baking dish that will hold the eggplants snugly. Brush the pan with oil and line with the tomato slices. Place the eggplants on the tomatoes, skin-side down. Using a spoon, press into the eggplants’ softened flesh to create indentations for the stuffing. Fill each eggplant half with the onion-pepper mixture and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Push any extra stuffing into the gaps between the eggplants, and pour any remaining sauce around them.

Bake until bubbling and browned on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer the eggplants and tomato slices to a serving dish. Garnish with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from “Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts” by Aglaia Kremezi (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (12)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 580

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 42g 65%

Saturated Fat: 8g 40%

Cholesterol: 20mg 7%

Sodium: 850mg 35%

Total Carbohydrates: 40g 13%

Dietary Fiber: 12g 48%

Sugar: 21g

Protein: 18g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle