Oil-Free Sardinian Stuffed Vegan Eggplant

Sardinian Stuffed Eggplant – Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Vegan, Italian Mediterranean Dinner Recipe

Medium |  Servings: 4  |  Ready In: 75  minutes |  Yield: 4 Eggplant Halves

Sardinian flavors like olives, basil, and fresh mint will take you straight to an Italian kitchen in this hearty, gluten-free, oil-free, vegan recipe. This makes for an easy, but impressive dinner entree – perfect for entertaining!  Serve with Roasted Bell Peppers Salad, Mushroom Pea Farrotto, and French Tarragon Potato Stew


  • 2 (one-pound) Italian Eggplants
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 6 ounces Portabella mushrooms, gills removed, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives (Sardinian if you can, or use Kalamata or any flavorful olive), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

How it’s Done:

Preheat your oven to 350F. 

To prepare the Oil-Free Sardinian Stuffed Vegan Eggplant: Halve the eggplants lengthwise.  Use a large spoon to scoop out most of the eggplant flesh.  You want to leave about 1/2-inch of a “shell”
Place the scraped out eggplant flesh into a colander over a bowl.   Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Massage the salt into the eggplant. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, to allow some of the moisture to come out.

To make the tomato sauce: In a small bowl, combine the canned crushed tomatoes and garlic. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

To make the Stuffing: Heat a large, wide pan over high heat.  Place the mushrooms in the pre-heated pan and spread into a single layer.  Sprinkle with a little salt and place the bay leaves on top. Don’t touch the mushrooms for the next few minutes!  Cook mushrooms until well-browned, about 12 minutes, stirring only once or twice. Meanwhile, dice the onions, if needed.
When mushrooms are well-browned, add the onion and continue to cook over high heat.
Going back to the scooped out eggplant flesh, once it has sat with the salt for 30 minutes, it should have released some liquid. Squeeze well to get rid of any more liquid.
Roughly chop the eggplant flesh.
Once onions have browned, add the chopped eggplant and cook another 4-5 minutes, until the eggplant is brown and there is no moisture in the pan.

While the eggplant mixture cooks, prepare the rest of the filling ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the flax meal and warm water. Let sit about 5 minutes to “gel”. Flax mixture will look “eggy” when ready. Chop the olives, basil, and mint, if needed.
When eggplant mushroom mixture is done cooking, add to the large bowl with the flax “egg”. Remove the bay leaves.  Add the chopped herbs, olives, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Stir well to combine and taste to adjust seasoning.

To bake the Oil-Free Sardinian Stuffed Vegan Eggplant: Pour half of the tomato garlic sauce into the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.
Spoon about 1/4 of the stuffing mixture into one of your eggplant shells.  Repeat with remaining eggplant and stuffing.
Place the stuffed eggplant on top of the tomato sauce.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over top.  Cover and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.  Turn up the heat to 400F, remove the cover, and bake 8-10 more minutes, until golden brown on top.

Remove from the oven when bubbly and let cool slightly before serving. Serve an eggplant half with some of the tomato sauce.

Yield: 4 Eggplant Halves

Serve with Roasted Bell Peppers Salad, Mushroom Pea Farrotto, and French Tarragon Potato Stew

The traditional recipe uses ground veal, Parmesan, and olive oil. My plant-based, oil-free version uses nutritional yeast, Portobello mushrooms, and whole olives.

Chef’ Katie’s Tips

Extra Stuffing Uses: You can make a double-batch of the mushroom olive stuffing mixture and freeze extras.  You can use it as a stuffing for other vegetables, like zucchini, tomatoes, or Portobello mushroom caps

Make Ahead: You can make and assemble this entire dish a day ahead of time.  Simply remove from the fridge and bake before serving.

Chef’s Homage:  This recipe is based on a recipe by Efisio Farris as featured in Food and Wine.  His recipe uses ground veal, Parmesan cheese, white breadcrumbs, and olive oil. My plant-based, oil-free version uses nutritional yeast, Portobello mushrooms, and whole olives. To read more about why I’m tweaking these classic recipes, read my Chef’s Responsibilities: Pushing the Limits.


Watch to Learn More:


Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 201
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 8 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 657 mg 27 %
Potassium 960 mg 27 %
Total Carbohydrate 33 g 11 %
Dietary Fiber 10 g 41 %
Sugars 17 g
Protein 10 g 19 %
Vitamin A 20 %
Vitamin C 32 %
Calcium 4 %
Iron 23 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


Shopping and Gear List

  • Bob’s Red Mill Organic Golden Flaxseed Meal, 16 oz
  • Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning 4.5 Ounce
  • Simply Organic Nutmeg Ground CERTIFIED ORGANIC 2.3oz. bottle


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.