Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts 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 very sumptuous baked eggplant dish for all the eggplant lovers out there. It’s infused with Lebanese spices and smells incredible when it comes out of the oven. This takes about an hour of hands-on time before baking, so perhaps not a weeknight dinner but perfect for special gatherings or celebrations or Sunday supper or when time is a little more abundant.

Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant is a meal that bridges the gap between summer and fall- cozy and comforting yet highlighting the best of summer eggplant.

We have been making it with ground lamb which gives it such amazing richness and flavor, but I know it would work well with ground chicken, turkey, beef or even vegan ground “meat”. I plan on making it with black lentils soon- and will report back.

This could easily be made ahead and baked the day of serving.

Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Ingredients in Stuffed Eggplant

  • Eggplant – small or medium eggplants work best here (3 inches wide by 5 inches long)
  • Protein: ground lamb, ground beef, ground turkey, or ground plant-based ground “meat”, or cooked black lentils.
  • Onion and garlic
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Spices:  cuminallspice,  coriander, sumac, cinnamon, ground cloves, cardamon, nutmeg
  • Tomatoes
  • Cooked basmati rice
  • Herbs: fresh dill and mint
  • Optional: toasted pinenuts, or sub-toasted slivered almonds, or leave out.

Frangrant Tomato Broth

Garnish: fresh dill and mint

ingredients in stuffed eggplant

How to make Stuffed Eggplant

Step one: 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.  Sprinkle the insides of the eggplant with salt and pepper, and set aside. They will darken, this is OK.

Chop up the 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 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.

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 baking dish if you prefer. The broth should come up about  ¼ – ½ inch -add more broth if necessary.

Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Step Six: Bake the Eggplant at 400F –covered, 35-45 minutes, until eggplant is translucent and 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. 😉

Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

What to serve with Stuffed Eggplant

Because these already contain starch (rice) I usually just serve them with a simple green salad, Lebanese Slaw, Tabouli, or this Lentil Tabouli.

Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Enjoy this Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant as the weather starts to cool in your area, such a beautiful cozy meal.

xoxo

Sylvia

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Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts in a fragrant tomato broth. Vegan-adaptable.

Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 50
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: main
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: middle eastern
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused with Lebanese spices, baked in the oven until meltingly tender. Filled with basmati rice, your choice of ground meat (or lentils) herbs, and pine nuts 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, or ground plant-based “meat”
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 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
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted (save 1 tablespoon for garnish)
  • 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 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.

Smaller 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 2 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 fridge.

If using lentils instead of ground meat, you’ll need about 2 cups of cooked lentils. I have not tested this yet, so make sure to taste the filling, adding more salt and spices as needed and 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.

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

Keywords: stuffed eggplant, stuffed eggplant recipe, lebanese stuffed eggplant, stuffed eggplant with rice, stuffed eggplant with lamb, best stuffed eggplant

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. 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!

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

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