Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Italian Tomato Salsa

Italian-inspired, these baked eggplant boats are stuffed with a delicious tomato, thyme and garlic salsa. This dish can be served as a main or as a side and is gluten-free, paleo, Whole30 and vegan-friendly.

Baked Eggplant Stuffed With Italian Tomato Salsa (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Whole30)

Stuffed Baked Eggplant

Eggplant, or aubergine, is a fantastic vegetable to cook with. It has that gorgeous smoky, earthy, mushroomy flavour, and is very versatile: you can bake it (like this cheesy Italian baked eggplant), fry it, turn it into dips, use it in salads, vegetarian sandwiches (try my Lemongrass eggplant Banh Mi), antipasto platters, vegetable lasagna, and the list goes on.

In this recipe, I am serving up baked eggplant stuffed with an Italian-inspired salsa of chopped-up cooked eggplant, fresh tomatoes, garlic and thyme. Oh, and a few lashings of healthy olive oil!

This eggplant recipe can be served as a side dish or main. It is vegan and vegetarian, gluten-free, Whole30 and Paleo-friendly.


Recipe Tips

You can use parsley or basil instead of thyme. If fresh garlic in the salsa is too pungent for your taste buds, reduce the amount or go with some garlic powder instead.

This recipe is for 2 servings, using one large eggplant fruit, but you can make more eggplant boats to serve as side dishes or to bring to a picnic/BBQ. They keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and I like to pull one out as a snack or with an egg omelette in the morning. I think they are great as a side dish with lamb or fish, or you can have them with some quinoa or buckwheat for a vegetarian meat-free meal.

You might also like to check out my Eggplant Caprese Salad, Tomato Ricotta Gremolata Salad or the marvellous Creamy Eggplant Salad.

Full Recipe 

Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and a nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.

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Paleo Eggplant Recipe - Baked Aubergine With Italian Tomato Salsa

Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Italian Tomato Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 2
Course: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Print Pin Save
5 from 1 vote
Calories: 315kcal
Italian-inspired, these baked eggplant boats are stuffed with a delicious tomato, thyme and garlic salsa. This dish can be served as a main or as a side and is gluten-free, paleo, Whole30 and vegan-friendly.


  • 1 large eggplant washed and dried
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the salsa

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped or grated
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Place the whole eggplant on an oven tray lined with some baking paper or foil. Place in the oven, middle shelf, for 30 minutes. This will bake/steam the eggplant from the inside.
  • After 30 minutes, take the eggplant out and cool it slightly. Carefully cut it in half going lengthways. It should be soft and steamy on the inside.
  • Turn the heat down to 180 C / 375 F. Drizzle each eggplant half with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast in the oven, flesh facing up, for additional 20-25 minutes or until crispy brown on top.
  • Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the seeds and dice into small cubes. Add to a bowl together with garlic and the thyme leaves (removed form the sprigs).
  • Remove the eggplant halves from the oven and let them cool down for about 5 minutes. Carefully cut out some of the inside flesh of the eggplant, about half a centimetre away from the edges. Drizzle the eggplant boats with a little lemon juice and sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt.
  • Chop the removed eggplant flesh and add to the tomatoes, garlic and thyme. Add a good pinch of sea salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Scoop equal amounts of the salsa mixture and fill the eggplant boats. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a drizzle of olive oil for extra shine.


Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: Vegetarian, Baked Eggplant Recipes, Eggplant Recipe, Tomato Sauce
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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Recipe Rating


  1. OMG yum. This looks so good, I am definitely going to cook it this week. I love eggplant too…I had no idea it had tobacco in it. It reminds me of our lazy summer evenings dining alfresco and throwing back sweet dessert wine with big plates of antipasto 😉

  2. Hi Irey,

    I’m hoping to whip up a batch of these for a dinner party next week. Do I complete all steps ahead of time and then reheat in the oven (how hot, how long?) or do I need to complete the last step just before serving?


    1. Hey Isabelle,

      You can definitely pre-bake the eggplants ahead of time. You can make the salsa ahead of time as well but I would dress it just before serving so that tomatoes don’t get too soggy. You can re-heat the eggplant for 5 minutes at 170 C. They don’t need to be very hot as the tomato salsa will be cold anyway. They’re delicious warm or cold too.

      Enjoy 🙂


  3. Thanks for this recipe. It looks great and I’m making it right now.

    Do you mean to scoop out to about “5mm” from the edges. 50mm seems a little unlikely!


  4. Sorry Paleo, you must instruct the cook to punch holes in the Eggplants prior to placing them in the oven, otherwise you’ll have a Bomb exploding in your kitchen. Believe you me, I am speaking from bad experience. Thanks to all.

  5. 5 stars
    WoW you are Awesome , I was burning my brain coming up with dishes lately and lol and behold I was building a nutrition
    and an Herbs for Health CHART and seen your AD it just PoPPed up about the chicken and broccoli and i noticed I can stop thinking
    on my own with this I’ll just Cook ALL of your ideas then improvise LOL. Right now i have 3 to 4 dishes that look good in my mind
    that I haven’t Mastered however i will.

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