Savory Eggplant Stuffed with Ground Lamb

Savory Eggplant stuffed with Ground Lamb

I’m particularly fond of recipes whose ingredients can be easily mixed and matched to accommodate different palates. This is one of those recipes. When selecting the more assertive flavor of ground lamb, the pecorina (sheep’s milk cheese) paired with fresh mint is a perfect marriage. However, if ground beef is your choice, the Parmesan paired with fresh basil is a great flavor with the beef.

As wine produced from grapes grown in a particular environment are complementary with the foods of that region, so too are beef recipes paired with cow’s milk cheese and lamb recipes paired with sheep or goats milk cheese. This is, of course, a generalization with savory exceptions, but certainly holds true with this recipe.

Most eggplant varietals would work but I prefer a large shell to accommodate more stuffing. If using smaller or thin eggplant varietals, purchase at least twice as many eggplant.

I served this with Near East rice pilaf (plain) with the addition of chopped mint and toasted pine nuts.

Recipe: Savory Eggplant Stuffed with Ground Lamb


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped mint or basil leaves, chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1 medium tomato (1/2 cup), diced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the center, leaving enough meat inside the skin so that it holds its shape when baked (1/2-inch lip). Chop eggplant pulp and reserve.
  3.  In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. sauté onion 3 minutes, add garlic and tomato paste and sauté an additional minute. Add chopped eggplant and sauté 3 additional minutes. Add lamb or beef to the pan, crumbling meat with a fork into small pieces, and let meat cook thoroughly. Lightly season mixture to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Let cool slightly.
  4. In a bowl mix together the egg, panko, 1 cup of pecorino or Parmesan, mint or basil. Combine with eggplant mixture.
  5. Fill the scooped-out eggplant halves with this mixture, dividing it evenly among the 2 halves. Top with chopped tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese. Place on an oiled cooking sheet or baking dish, lightly tent with foil and bake for 15 minutes on middle rack of oven. Remove foil and bake and additional 25 minutes or until eggplant is tender.

Active time: 25 minutes

Bake time: about 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 2-4 servings (eggplants may be halved for smaller appetites)

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