Our stuffed eggplant recipe is one of our favorites, and it’s really easy to prepare. If you aren’t typically a fan of this vegetable, this preparation may very well change your mind
History of Stuffed Eggplant
Baked stuffed eggplant recipes have been around a long time. Mentions of delicious stuffed eggplant in Turkey, known as ‘karniyarik’, go back to over 4,000 years ago. But this dish didn’t just remain in Turkey. Stuffed eggplant is now a staple in all sorts of cuisines: Greek, Middle Eastern, Turkish, Chinese, Italian and American, to name just a few.
The difference in these preparations is primarily in the ingredients of the stuffing. Different regions use their own unique options and spices. You’ll find stuffing with rice and garlic in Greece, ground spicy meat in the Middle East, and a variety of olive oil and parmigiana options in Italy.
Eggplants have a mild flavor on their own, so they readily absorb the flavors of whatever they’re cooked with. That’s part of what makes stuffed eggplant such a versatile dish.
Our stuffed eggplant recipe below has a distinct Mediterranean flair, with a kick from spicy tomato based sauce and sausage.And of course, cheese is a critical component of the dish!
You can use any good Italian sausage in the recipe, but we often make our own. It’s surprisingly easy, and we’ve included the recipe for sausage as well.
Don’t forget to pin or bookmark the recipe for later
How to Pick a Good Eggplant
First, take a look at the eggplant’s skin. It should be shiny and smooth, with uniform color. A ripe eggplant will leave have an imprint when you lightly press the skin with your finger. As far as size of eggplant, larger eggplants are easier to stuff, but smaller ones are usually less bitter and slightly sweeter.
You can, however, counteract any bitterness with the application of salt, as we do in our recipe.
Here are a few additional eggplant recipes that you might enjoy!
- 2 Medium Whole Eggplants
- 4 Cloves Garlic - Minced
- 1 Small Red Onion - Minced
- 3/4 Pound (340 g) Italian Sausage (or follow recipe for homemade sausage)
- 1/2 Cup (18 ml) Dry Red Wine
- 4 Cups (900 g) Tomato Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 4 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
- 1 Egg
- 4 oz (120 g) Provolone Cheese
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 oz (60 g) Parmesan Cheese
- Remove the green tops of the eggplants and then cut them lengthwise in half.
- Using a sharp paring knife, hollow out the eggplants, leaving about 1/4 inch (2/3 cm) of flesh along the inside to create a hollow canoe shape.
- Chop the removed eggplant flesh into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes.
- Sprinkle the inside of the eggplants with salt.
- Place the eggplants in a saute pan coated with olive oil over medium heat. Cover and saute for about 8 minutes until they are soft (about 4 minutes for each side). Set aside with hollow side facing down to drain and cool.
- Mince the sausage and add to a saute pan over medium heat.
- Cook the sausage until they are browned and then set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the eggplant cubes, 4 Tablespoons olive oil, and red wine. Saute for about 5 minutes
- Add the tomato sauce, oregano and parsley and allow to simmer for for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
- Combine the mixture with an egg.
- Arrange the eggplant in a baking dish. Add the Provolone cheese slices to the bottom of the eggplant and then fill with the sausage mixture.
- Pour tomato sauce over the top of each eggplant, and the remainder into the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (If you like extra cheese, sprinkle some grated provolone on the top 1/2 way through the cooking time).
- Bake in a 350° F (175° C) oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove when the cheese is fully melted and the mixture is lightly bubbling.
Amount Per Serving Calories 540Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 99mgSodium 265mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 10gSugar 17gProtein 17g
- 1 lb (1/2 Kg) Lean Ground Pork
- 2 tsp (3.9 g) Fennel Seeds (ground or crushed)
- 1 tsp (3.2 g) Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp (3.2 g) Onion Powder
- 1 tsp (2 g) Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika (2.3 g) (hot, sweet or smoky)
- ½ tsp (3 g) Salt
- ½ tsp (1.2 g) Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) White Wine
- 2 tsp (10.5 g) Dijon Mustard
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Place the ground pork in a medium sized bowl. Add the spices and gently combine with your hands. Do not over-mix.
The pork can be formed into patties and frozen for up to 6 months.
A special thank you to Chef Gianna Greco of Cooking Experience in Lecce, Italy. We adapted our recipe from her version that we sampled during a cooking class. More recipes and our story about our experience coming soon.