This Stuffed Eggplant recipe is so cozy and warming! Succulent eggplant is filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils), herbs, and Lebanese spices and baked until meltingly tender, in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

This Stuffed Eggplant recipe is so cozy and warming!  Succulent eggplant is filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils), herbs, and Lebanese spices and baked until meltingly tender, in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.

John Cage

Here is a truly delicious baked eggplant recipe for all the eggplant lovers out there! Stuffed Eggplant is infused with Lebanese spices and bakes to perfect tenderness- cozy and comforting, it smells incredible when it comes out of the oven, filling your home with goodness.

The best part is it is highly adaptable- make it with ground turkey, beef or ground lamb (my favorite) or even vegan ground “meat” or cooked lentils. It can be prepped and assembled up to 4 days ahead and baked the day of serving. Love eggplant? Check out these sumptuous 25 Delicious Eggplant Recipes!

 Stuffed Eggplant on a plate.

Why you will LOVE Stuffed Eggplant

  1. Flavorful and Fragrant: Stuffed eggplant is infused with Lebanese spices, creating a dish that is bursting with delicious flavors. The combination of herbs, spices, and fragrant tomato broth adds depth and richness to the dish, making it a truly satisfying and aromatic meal.
  2. Versatile Filling Options: The filling for stuffed eggplant can be customized to suit your preferences. Use ground meat like lamb, beef, turkey, or even plant-based “meat” for a vegetarian or vegan option. You can also use cooked black lentils for a protein-packed and hearty filling. This versatility allows you to adapt the dish to your dietary needs and preferences.
  3. Tender and Meltingly Good: Baking the stuffed eggplant in the oven results in tender and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The eggplant becomes beautifully soft and absorbs all the flavors from the filling and the fragrant tomato broth. Each bite is a delightful combination of tender eggplant, fragrant herbs, and flavorful rice or lentils.
  4. Perfect for Gatherings and Special Occasions: Stuffed eggplant is a special dish that is perfect for special gatherings and celebrations. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply treating yourself to an indulgent meal, stuffed eggplant is sure to elevate any occasion.

Ingredients in Stuffed Eggplant

ingredients in stuffed eggplant

Ingredient Notes

  • Eggplant: Small or medium eggplants work best for this recipe, approximately 3 inches wide by 5 inches long.
  • Protein: You have the option to use ground lamb, ground beef, ground turkey, or ground plant-based “meat” as the protein in the filling. You can also use cooked black lentils for a vegetarian or vegan version.
  • Onion and Garlic: These aromatics add flavor to the filling.
  • Salt and Pepper: Seasoning with salt and pepper enhances the overall taste of the dish.
  • Spices: Lebanese spices are key to infusing the eggplant with delicious flavors. You can use a combination of cumin, allspice, coriander, sumac, cinnamon, ground cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  • Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are used in the filling and in the fragrant tomato broth.
  • Cooked Basmati Rice: The cooked rice adds texture and helps to bind the stuffing together. Could also use quinoa, couscous or other grain of choice.
  • Herbs: Fresh dill and mint are used to impart freshness and bright flavors to the dish.
  • Optional: You can add toasted pine nuts to the filling for extra crunch and flavor. Alternatively, you can use toasted slivered almonds or leave out the nuts if desired.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds depth and richness to the broth.
  • Stock or Broth: Use chicken stock, vegetable stock, or simply water with a pinch of salt to create the broth.
  • Spices: Allspice, cinnamon, and cumin are used to season the tomato broth.
  • Garnish with fresh dill and mint.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

This Stuffed Eggplant recipe is so cozy and warming!  Succulent eggplant is filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils), herbs, and Lebanese spices and baked until meltingly tender, in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

How to make Stuffed Eggplant

Step one: Scoop out the eggplant flesh, leaving about ½ inch thickness on all sides. I find the easiest way to do this is to use a knife around the edge, then crosshatch, and use a spoon to remove. It need not be perfect. Sprinkle the insides of the eggplant with salt and pepper, and set aside. They will darken, this is OK. Chop eggplant filling finely along with the onion and garlic.

Step Two: Make the filling. In a large oven-proof braiser or pan, saute the ground meat ( or plant-based meat)  and onions over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until onions are fragrant, then add the diced eggplant and garlic, cooking until eggplant is translucent. Drain some fat if you like.

Season with salt and all the spices. Add the fresh tomatoes and their juices, stir and cover for a few minutes until the tomatoes break down into the meat.

Place the meat mixture in bowl with the cooked rice, fresh herbs and optional pinenuts (remembering to save a tablespoon of pinenuts for garnish after baking). Give a stir and adjust salt and spices to taste. (If using lentils, I would add a good drizzle of olive oil.)

Step Four: Make the tomato broth. In the same pan, heat up the broth, tomato paste and spices and whisk, scraping up any brown bits. Wipe off the sides of the pan if messy with a wet paper towel. Turn off heat.

Stuffing the eggplant shells.

Step Five: Fill the eggplant: Divide the filling among the eggplants, pressing it in gently, and mounding to incorporate all. Nestle them in the tomato broth.

Note: Here I’m using an extra large 14-inch braiser. You can also bake these in a large baking dish if you prefer. The broth should come up about  ¼ – ½ inch -add more broth if necessary.

 Stuffed Eggplant right before baking.

Step Six: Bake the Eggplant at 400F- covered, 35-45 minutes, until the eggplant is translucent and the filling is heated through (145F), then bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes, until golden.

stuffed eggplant right out of the oven

Garnish: Sprinkle with fresh dill and mint and remaining pinenuts.

TIP: Whenever I serve pinenuts to people who I don’t know well or am not sure of allergies- I always make them visible, on top. 😉

What to serve with Stuffed Eggplant

Because these already contain starch (rice), I usually just serve them with a simple side. Feel free to drizzle with tahini sauce or a dollop of tzatziki for extra richness.

Stuffed Eggplant FAQS

Is eggplant healthy?

Eggplant is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium. These nutrients contribute to overall health and can support a strong immune system, healthy blood circulation, and proper brain function.
Moreover, eggplant contains antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which give it its characteristic purple color. Antioxidants help protect the body against damage from harmful free radicals and may have anti-inflammatory properties.

How do I make sure the eggplant is not bitter?

Salting the eggplant shells before filling them helps to draw out the bitterness. It also softens and helps them tenderize while cooking.

Do you need to soak eggplant before cooking?

You do not need to soak the eggplant for this recipe. It cooks in a broth while it bakes in the oven, rendering it soft and tender.

Can stuffed eggplant be made ahead?

Yes, the stuffed eggplant can be assembled ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 days before baking.

Will this freeze well?

Stuffed Eggplant will freeze beautifully for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and bring to room temp before reheating.

Can this be made vegan?

Yes, substitute lentils for the ground meat. Adjust salt and seasonings to taste, and add a splash of olive oil to the filling to give a bit of richness.

More Favorite Eggplant Recipes!

Here are some of our most popluar eggplant recipes!

 Stuffed Eggplant in a bking dish wiht a serving spoon.

Enjoy this delicious Stuffed Eggplant- adapt it to your diet and enjoy the lovely flavors and aromas, such a beautiful cozy meal!

xoxo

Sylvia

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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This Stuffed Eggplant recipe is so cozy and warming! Succulent eggplant is filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils), herbs, and Lebanese spices and baked until meltingly tender, in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: main, dinner recipe, dinner idea,
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: middle eastern
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Stuffed Eggplant recipe is so cozy and warming! Succulent eggplant is filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils), herbs, and Lebanese spices and baked until meltingly tender, in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 34 medium eggplant (3 inches wide by 5 inches long)
  • 1 lb ground lamb, ground beef, ground turkey, ground plant-based “meat”, or 2 cups cooked lentils.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced ( 1 1/2 cups) plus their juices
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint ( or flat-leaf parsley )
  • optional: 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted (save 1 tablespoon for garnish)

Tomato Sauce 

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups broth- chicken, veggie, or use water and pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Garnish: fresh dill and mint


Instructions

  1. Prep the Eggplant: Scoop out the eggplant leaving about ½ inch thickness on all sides. I find the easiest way to do this is to use a knife around the edge, then crosshatch, and use a spoon to remove. It need not be perfect.
  2. Season the eggpant shells with salt and pepper and set aside, and chop up the filling finely.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F
  4. Make the filling: In a large oven-proof braiser or pan, saute the ground meat and onions over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until onions are fragrant, then add the diced eggplant and garlic, cooking until eggplant is translucent. Drain some fat if you like. Season with salt and all the spices. Add the fresh tomatoes and their juices, stir and cover for a few minutes until the tomatoes break down into the meat.
  5. Place the meat mixture in bowl with the cooked rice, fresh herbs and optional pinenuts (remembering to save a tablespoon for garnish after baking). Give a stir and adjust salt and spices to taste. (If using lentils, I would add a good drizzle of olive oil.)
  6. Make the tomato broth: In the same pan, heat up the broth, tomato paste and spices and whisk, scraping up any brown bits. Wipe off the sides of the pan if messy with a wet paper towel. Turn off heat.
  7. Fill the eggplant: Divide the filling among the eggplants, pressing it in gently, and mounding to incorporate all. Nestle them in the tomato broth. You can also bake these in a baking dish if you prefer. The broth should come up about  ¼ – ½ inch -add more broth if necessary.
  8. Bake the Eggplant: 400F –covered, 40-45 minutes, until eggplant is fork tender, and filling is heated through (145F), then bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes, until golden.
  9. Garnish: Sprinkle with fresh dill and mint and remaining pinenuts. TIP: Whenever I serve pinenuts to people who I don’t know well or am not sure of allergies- I always make them visible, on top. 😉

Notes

If you don’t have a large oven-proof braiser, feel free to bake in a large baking dish or oven-proof large skillet, big enough to hold all the eggplant- and make sure there is ¼-½ inch tomato broth on the bottom add more broth as necessary. It may take a bit longer to bake in a baking dish– use a thermometer– 145F.

Medium eggplants work best here BUT if using large globe eggplants- use two. Baking time will be longer.

These can be made ahead and refrigerated up to 4 days before baking- just bring to room temp before baking for more even cooking. If reheating already baked eggplants, reheat at 35oF, covered, and ensure there is broth at the bottom.

Leftovers will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Lentils: If using lentils instead of ground meat, you’ll need about 2 cups of cooked lentils. Saute the onions and garlic, add the eggplant and saute until eggplant is translucent. Add the lentils and season with  salt , pepper, chili flakes and spices. Add a splash of olive oil for richness. You could also add sautéed veggies- carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, etc. The key is getting the filling nice and flavorful, so taste and season! 

The allspice truly elevates here- don’t leave it out!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 stuffed eggplant, calculated with ground lamb
  • Calories: 405
  • Sugar: 7.6 g
  • Sodium: 671.5 mg
  • Fat: 22.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.5 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 18.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 55.3 mg

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Comments

  1. My husband said this was one of his top 5 favorite recipes!
    I used ground beef and lentils (no rice) and the larger eggplants, which cooked in about 45 min. Thanks for this great recipe!






  2. This was fabulous! Our garden has produced over 30 eggplants this year and still going. This recipe is a keeper.
    Do you think it would freeze well? There’s no way we can eat all our 5 plants have produced even after giving away lots.






    1. Wow Donna! A LOT of eggplant and I am super jealous!I do think this recipe would freeze well- also our eggplant lasagna!

  3. “Omg so delicious”, that’s the comment I received after serving this dish to a client of mine. I made a few dietary substitutions: I used ground pork instead of lamb and two cups of well-drained black ‘caviar’ lentils
    in place of the rice. The ground pork absorbed all the spices perfectly and the lentils added a nice texture and flavor to the dish.

  4. I made this using globe eggplants because that’s what was available. The cook time seemed awfully long to me given the high temp, so I checked after 30 minutes. And yes, the eggplants were already past done and had completely lost their ability to hold shape. They collapsed when I attempted to lift from the pan. Maybe because I used globe eggplants? Anyway, we still ate them although I’d say this isn’t my favorite eggplant recipe on your site. I’m going back to the szechuan recipe!






    1. Oh Shoot Donna, yes I think that globe eggplant (especially if they are extra large) may be too big to hold the weight of all that filling. Smaller eggplants hold less filling (less weight).

  5. This was sooo good! I made it with lamb, and followed the recipe exactly except that I used Italian canned diced tomatoes in puree instead of fresh. It was somewhat reminiscent of the filling I use for my stuffed vine leaves. My husband loved it!






    1. Follow-up…I had some left-over lamb filling that I had frozen. I recently thawed it and used to stuff red peppers and it was equally good! I shortened the cooking time just a bit.

  6. I made this. The recipe is perfect. I liked it and my husband, who claimed he hates eggplant, finished his plate. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Delicious! Flavors are incredible. I used ground turkey + lentils instead of lamb/beef and rice and it worked wonderfully.






  8. Excellent. Followed the recipe and used ground lamb. Used a little tomato sauce and harissa in the tomato broth for a little more spice.






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