Stuffed aubergines (eggplants) are known as 'papoutsakia' in Greek or ‘little slippers’. This is an apt description of what they look like - half an eggplant stuffed with delightful and tasty filling.
There are many varieties and styles in different cultures throughout the world: Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Italian, Chinese, Moroccan and many vegetarian and vegan options.
Below are a collection of the best stuffed eggplant recipes from around the globe.
They are delicious and easy to make, and there are many options for you to try. Enjoy!
For the eggplants and topping
for the meat stuffing
For the Bechamel Sauce
Slice the eggplants in half, sprinkle generously with salt and place in a colander to sweat. This reduces the bitterness.
Next, prepare the stuffing by heating the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat. Add the onion and fry for about 3-4 minutes, until soft and transparent. Increase the heat under the pan to high. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Then, add the minced beef, breaking it apart in the pan, and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes mixing to distribute through the mixture. Add the red wine in several portions while stirring. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is thickened somewhat. Add the sugar, cinnamon and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix through and then set aside to cool.
Next, prepare the eggplant halves for stuffing by rinsing off any excess salt, and squeeze out any excess water while they are in the colander. Dry the eggplant with paper towels or a tea towel. Using a very sharp knife, make several cuts into the inner sides of the eggplant halves in a criss-cross pattern. This allows all the flavour of the filling to be absorbed and helps to cook the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C (480 degrees F).
Heat the rice bran or grape seed oil over moderate heat in a large deep saucepan. Place the eggplants in the pan, cut side down and fry for 4-5 minutes or until the start to brown. Flip the halves over and fry for a further 4-5 minutes or until they soften. Transfer eggplant to a lightly greased baking tray. Use a spoon to soften the interior and to create a cavity for the filling, then set aside.
Make the bechamel sauce in the usual way by melting the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until cooks it resembles a paste (2-3 minutes). Reduce heat to low and gradually add the warm milk in small portions, mixing continuously with a whisk. The sauce will thicken. This bechamel, will be considerably thicker than normal as it is used as a filling. Stir in the nutmeg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to cool a little.
Start the filling process by adding a large spoon of the meat stuffing into the eggplant halves, and topping with a dollop of the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Peel 4 wide strips from each eggplant one on each of the four sides. Place the eggplant in a large bowl of salted water, using a plate to force the eggplant beneath the surface. Set aside for 30 minutes and then drain and dry with paper towels. This helps remove any bitterness. Place rice bran or grape seed oil in a large sauté pan to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm). Heat the oil over moderate to high heat and fry the eggplants, turning several times, until browned on all sides and soft. Drain on a plate covered with paper towels and set aside. Then, place the eggplants in a baking dish in a single layer.
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F). Using a separate pan, add 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat to moderate. Add the garlic and onion and fry until translucent and soft (about 6-8 minutes). Cook the lamb in a separate pan over high heat using 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil or rice bran oil until well cooked and starting to brown. Add the cooked onion mixture, grated tomato, 2 teaspoons tomato paste, a little salt and pepper and fry until all the water evaporates.
Using a sharp knife, slice eggplant length ways, nearly in half, leaving the tops and bottoms joined. Use a spoon to make a cavity for the filling. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar into the cavity and then fill with the ground lamb mixture. Cover each half with a slice of tomato and a slice of green chilli. Whisk the remaining tomato paste in the boiling water and spoon a little on top of each eggplant to moisten them. Pour the rest of the tomato mixture around the eggplants in the baking dish. Bake for about 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tomato and chilli slices on top have softened and the eggplants have started to brown. Serve warm or hot, garnished parsley or coriander and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place eggplant halves with skin side down, in a baking dish just big enough to fit them in snugly. Brush the flesh with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the eggplants for about 20 minutes until golden brown in color, then remove from oven and set aside to cool. Use a sppon to make a small cavity in each half. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan. Add the onions and half of the cumin, paprika and cinnamon, and fry for about 8 minutes until the onions soften. Add the parsley, tomato paste, lamb, pine nuts, 1 teaspoon sugar and some black pepper. Fry while stirring for an additional 8-10 minutes until the meat is just cooked.
Next, place the remaining spices in a bowl and add the lemon juice, tamarind paste, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 cinnamon sticks and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix well. Pour the spice mix into the bottom the roasting pan containing the eggplants. Spoon the cooked lamb mixture on top of each eggplant half. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil, return to oven and roast for 90 minutes. Twice during the roasting period, remove the cover and baste the eggplants with the sauce. Add some water if there is not enough sauce. Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and hollow out each one with a melon-ball cutter or a spoon, leaving a small amount around the interior walls and skin. Rinse rice well in a sieve and drain well.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate to high heat until it shimmers. Fry the pine nuts in the hot oil, stirring often for about 3 minutes, then remove and place in a bowl. Next, sauté the garlic and onion until soft and golden in color (about 7 minutes). Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, the stock and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Next, add the meat, rice, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the bowl and mix well well with a wooden spoon or your hands.
Stuff each eggplant with the meat and rice mixture, about 3/4 full. Transfer the stuffed eggplants to the tomato sauce you have left simmering in another pan. Cover the pan and simmer for 45-50 minutes until the rice is just cooked. Squeeze lemon over dish and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Remove the stems from the eggplants and cut in half lengthwise. Place the halves in a large pot of boiling water and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Drain and set aside to cool. Use a spoon to make a cavity in each half eggplant leaving the skin intact. Retain the pulp that has been scooped out and place in a bowl. Place the pulp in a colander to drain off excess water. To the eggplant pulp, add the pecorino cheese, eggs, chopped parsley, crushed garlic, breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Adjust the consistency of the filling. If too moist add more breadcrumbs or cheese to the mixture. If too dry add another egg. Spoon the filling into the cavity in the eggplant halves. Shallow fry both sides of each half in very hot oil, turning very carefully. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot or cold.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice eggplant in half lengthwise, sprinkle with salt and place both halves, flesh side down in a colander for 15 minutes. Discard the liquid that drains, and wipe the eggplant halves dry with paper towels. Brush the eggplant all over with olive oil and place flesh side down in a roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Flip the halves over and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Set aside to cool, and then scoop out the flesh to create cavities for the filling. Add all the filling ingredients from the list above to a small bowl and combine well. Stuff the eggplant halves with the mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm of cold topped with extra cheese and herbs.
For the eggplant and filling
For the sauce
Make the filling by adding the shrimp, ground pork, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, salt, 1 tablespoon oil and rice wine to a food processor bowl. Pulse to create a rough paste forms. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the cornstarch, egg and half of the chopped scallions. Set the mixture aside for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Cut each eggplant into thick slices about 1 1/2 inches wide (4 cm), on the diagonal. Cut each slice down the center about three-quarters the way through. Fill the center of each eggplant slice with the pork and shrimp filling. Then, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet or wok over moderate-high heat. Fry the slices on both sides until golden in color. Then transfer the slices to a steamer and cook for 7-10 minutes until the eggplant is cooked.
Make the sauce by adding 1 teaspoon oil, minced garlic, and sesame oil, to a saucepan and frying for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for a few minutes. Then add half of the cornstarch slurry and cook while stirring until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool.
After the eggplants have been steamed so that they are tender, add to a serving plate and pour over the warm sauce. Serve topped with scallions and fresh herbs.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh leaving a thin layer of flesh on the skin. Place the scooped out flesh in a small baking pan. Sprinkle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the flesh softens. Fry the onions and garlic in oil over moderate to high heat until soft and golden. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 7-10 minutes. Add the baked eggplant flesh, carrots, celery and olives. Fry while mixing occasionally for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Remove from heat and set aside. When warm mix in the tomatoes, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and combine well. Cook the couscous by adding to 1/4 cup of boiling water and leaving for about 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Fill each half of the eggplant with half of the couscous, at the bottom, topped with half of the vegetable mixture. Place the filled eggplant halves in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Add a sprinkling of Parmesan and bread crumbs to the eggplants and bake for an 5-10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel off thin strips off the outside of the eggplant lengthwise, leaving stripes of skin in-between. Then, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh to create a cavity, retaining the flesh. Place eggplants into a baking dish and add 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle salt over the eggplants, and then cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Next, prepare the filling by heating 1/4 cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven or deep heavy pan over moderate to high. Place the garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions and parsley into the bowl of food processor. Pulse until onions are finely chopped. Then, add the mixture to the hot pan with the reserved eggplant flesh and stir to cook for 10-15 minutes while stirring. Then, add the cumin, coriander and season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Carefully remove the eggplant halves from oven. Spoon the filling into the eggplant halves and re-cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve warm sprinkled with toasted almonds, mint and other fresh herbs, and drizzled with the molasses.