Gluten Free/ Sides/ Vegetarian

Hasselback Eggplant Baked with Halloumi Cheese & Spinach Pesto

A glorified baked eggplant filled with spinach pesto and halloumi cheese over tomato sauce! Such a delicious way to serve up veggies.

Hasselback Eggplant Baked with Halloumi Cheese & Spinach Pesto

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By Dimitra Khan Serves: 3-4

A glorified baked eggplant filled with spinach pesto and halloumi cheese over tomato sauce! Such a delicious way to serve up veggies.

Ingredients

  • For the Spinach Pesto:
  • • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • • 1 cup lemon basil leaves
  • • 1 garlic clove
  • • ¼ cup walnuts
  • • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cups Marinara Sauce (pasta sauce)
  • 9 ounces (260 g) halloumi cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 400 °F, 200 °C.

2

Prepare the Pesto:

3

1. Pulse the garlic clove in the food processor until finely minced.

4

2. Add the spinach, herbs, walnuts, and cheese and pulse until finely chopped.

5

3. Stream in the olive oil while pulsing until smooth.

6

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7

5. You will only use only half of the pesto for this recipe. Store the remaining pesto in a jar in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

8

Spread the pasta sauce in a 10-inch round or square baking pan.

9

Place the eggplant between the handles of 2 wooden spoons.

10

Make crosswise cuts about 1/3 of an inch apart on the eggplant, stopping before you hit the bottom. The 2 wooden spoons will help with this. The eggplant should stay together.

11

Season in between the slits with salt.

12

Slice the halloumi cheese into thin slices.

13

Fill the eggplant cuts with halloumi slices and pesto. About ½ teaspoon of pesto in each slit.

14

Place the eggplant in the baking pan on top of the sauce. If the eggplant does not fit, cut the stem end off.

15

Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the eggplant and season lightly with salt and pepper.

16

Cover with parchment paper and then with foil. Bake for 1 hour covered.

17

Remove parchment paper and foil and return the baking pan to the oven, raise the oven’s temperature to 475 °F, 250 °C and bake 15 more minutes.

18

Allow to rest at room temperature 15-20 minutes then serve! Enjoy.

 

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