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Appetizers/ Recipes/ Sides/ Vegetarian Recipes

Stuffed Miso Eggplant

Stuffed Miso Eggplant

In the summer months, eggplant becomes the go-to meat replacement for many vegetarians. We slice it into thick rounds and grill it up like a burger, we roast it and turn it into a batch of homemade eggplant meatballs, and we even make veggie bacon with it. So, recently when I saw Steamy Kitchen’s recipe for stuffed miso eggplant filled with a mixture of ground beef and chopped eggplant, it made me wonder what other ingredients I could use to replace the meat. Eggplant would have been my first choice for a meat substitute, but a double eggplant filling just wasn’t going to work.

Stuffed Miso Eggplant
Some might turn to tofu or maybe even mushrooms to replace the meat, but I have a secret weapon in the kitchen that I use in instances like this: raw walnuts! Just like when I made Asian lettuce wraps a while back, the walnuts in this dish really give that meaty texture to the stuffing. And because walnuts have a mild flavor, they just take on the taste of the seasonings in the dish.

Stuffed Miso Eggplant
These beautiful Japanese eggplant boats are stuffed with sauteed onion, eggplant, garlic, and walnuts that are seasoned with yellow miso, mirin, and tamari. I decided to add an extra layer of flavor and pile a fresh salad of tomatoes, green onions, and Thai basil on top, along with a drizzle of homemade miso dressing. The salad is totally optional, but it really takes this dish from delicious to spectacular; plus, who doesn’t love a little pop of color on their plate?

Stuffed Miso Eggplant

Stuffed Miso Eggplant

Chopped walnuts replace the ground meat in this recipe inspired by Steamy Kitchen's Stuffed Miso Eggplant. A fresh tomato-basil salad and a drizzle of miso dressing take it over the top.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


For the eggplant:

  • 2 large Japanese eggplants
  • 1/2 medium white onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped raw walnut halves
  • 1 tablespoon yellow miso
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon mirin

For the miso dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons yellow miso
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the tomato salad:

  • 12-15 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 10-12 Thai or regular basil leaves chiffonade
  • 2 green onions light green and bottom dark green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Make the stuffed eggplant:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, starting at the stem. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the eggplant, leaving a little less than 1/4 inch of the flesh around the edges. Coarsely chop the flesh you scooped out, then place it in a large bowl. Transfer the eggplant shells to the baking sheet.
  • Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, add the chopped onion and garlic to the mixing bowl and stir to combine with the eggplant. Swirl the oil into the preheated pan and add the eggplant mixture. Sauté for 3 minutes, then add the walnuts and cook for one minute more. Stir in the miso, tamari, and mirin and allow to cook for another minute.
  • Fill the eggplant shells with the eggplant-walnut mixture, dividing evenly between the shells. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the eggplant shell is tender and cooked through.

Make the dressing:

  • While the eggplant is in the oven, prepare the miso dressing and tomato salad. In a small bowl combine the honey, miso, rice vinegar, and mustard. Whisk until combined; set aside.

Make the salad:

  • In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, green onions, and salt. Set aside.

To serve:

  • Top each eggplant with a quarter of the salad mixture and drizzle the miso dressing over the top.


Serving: 1eggplant half
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  • Reply
    Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes
    July 2, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    “This eggplant looks amazing though!” is the first thing that slipped out of my mind as I came to the homepage. Yum Yum Yum!!

    • Reply
      Meg van der Kruik
      July 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Haha! Thanks so much Jessica!

  • Reply
    Renard Moreau
    July 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    [ Smiles ] This is a very innovative way of cooking eggplant.

  • Reply
    Polly @ Tasty Food Project
    July 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I love Japanese eggplants! I sometimes cook them in a stir-fry dish. Miso is also one of my favorite ingredients to use. This stuffed eggplants looks delicious!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I love the looks of these, especially the miso dressing!

  • Reply
    Christine | No Gojis No Glory
    July 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    What a beautiful dish! I’m trying to learn more about vegetarian cooking, and I’m so glad I found your blog 🙂 I had no idea eggplant was so versatile. The eggplant veggie bacon is a new one for me…

  • Reply
    Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    July 3, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Ooooh, this looks so good! I’m not into mushrooms so I’m much happier to replace meat with eggplant than mushrooms anyways, but the walnut and miso in this recipe? Yum! I can’t wait to try this one!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Tastes amazing!!!

  • Reply
    jaswinder kaur
    July 4, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Wow,its very innovative recipe of eggplant.I love this.Thanks.I wanted to know what is miso.I live in India.

    • Reply
      Meg van der Kruik
      July 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Hi Jaswinder,

      Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt, and it is used primarily in Japanese cooking. There are also miso products made from chickpeas on the market as well. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors from the ingredients to the fermentation process.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

    You eat the outer eggplant right? Or is it just to be used as a bowl?

    • Reply
      Meg van der Kruik
      July 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Yes, you can eat the entire thing:)

  • Reply
    July 7, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Walnuts as a meat substitute…now that is one switch I’ve never tried!! However, eggplants are a staple in my summer (and my life in general)…so I’m sure I’ll be trying this as soon as I get some skinny eggplants in my CSA!

    • Reply
      Meg van der Kruik
      July 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      You have to try subbing in walnuts Joanne! It’s a total game changer.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I love eggplant–these look especially delicious! And a perfect use for some of my garden cherry tomatoes, excellent as I’ve got more than I quite know what to do with at the moment!

  • Reply
    Sheila Norman
    June 13, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Wow! This was amazingly good….like, lick the plate good. Even my 9 year old daughter was begging for more. The walnuts were a fantastic addition and the flavors married together beautifully. Thank you for an awesome dinner!

  • Reply
    Renee D
    July 31, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Do you have to salt or press the eggplant? I’m new to cooking, and both my mother and boyfriend are adamant about me preparing the eggplant with salt “for safety and so their tongues don’t get itchy.” Is that an old wive’s tale or something to do?

    • Reply
      July 31, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      I usually only feel like that’s necessary if the eggplant has been hanging around for a while – that’s when it starts to get bitter. You can usually tell if you see some browning when you cut it open.

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